Top 5 authentic methods of transport in Asia

Whether it’s rickety old steam trains to new MAGLEV trains, or whether it’s large passenger ferries to industrial ‘ponton’ boats carrying coal, there’s always something to be interested in when you’re in this part of the world. But which are the top 5 authentic methods of transport around Asia?


5. Buses are prevalent everywhere in the world, but nowhere more so than in Bangladesh where over-crowding is a big problem. It is not uncommon to see people taking a ride on the roof of the bus!

What do I love about buses? Hmm. I don’t exactly love buses per se, but in South Asia particularly the sheer number of people that crowd on to them make it quite interesting to watch. I once saw 2 buses crash in Bangladesh, and immediately some of the passengers just jumped out the window and ran off because they couldn’t be bothered to wait! Just crazy!

Thai long boat at Maya Bay
Thai long boat at Maya Bay

4. These narrow ‘longboats’ are identified as the main way of island hopping in the south of Thailand. Nowhere else in the world is water travel so romantic than on one of these longboats as you sail your way around the tropical waters and amazing karst scenery.

What do I love about Thai longboats? Well, what’s not to love about being powered out to sea in the picture-postcard Thai vehicle? The journeys on the longboat may never last long enough, but I cherished every second as I enjoyed the Krabi coastline. One of the best things about the longboats is the necessity to get a selfie with one!


3. Jeepneys are found in Manila. They are known for their crowded seating and kitsch decoration, which have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture and art. No trip to the Philippine capital would be complete without a mini tour of the city in a jeepney!

What do I love about jeepneys? I think their appearance is very unique, and quite unlike anything else I have seen on my travels. They look dirty and dangerous, like something you wouldn’t want to mess with if you were driving a regular car on Manila’s roads (or heaven forbid a bike). Jeepneys just scream machismo!


2. Auto Rickshaws are found on the Indian Subcontinent, and take over the roads like a plague, as seen in the photo above from Dhaka in Bangladesh. There are some varieties that use pedal power, but the most common (too common) version are the ones with noisy engines and ubiquitous horns!

What do I love about auto rickshaws? Well, if you’ve been to Dhaka, then you’ll know that the way for a man to make a living in the city is to find himself an auto rickshaw and then give himself a career fleecing tourists like us as he takes us to our destination. In many ways, the vehicles are very snug, and the air in your face feels pretty good as you drive along – if only until you realise how polluted that air is!


1. Mopeds are found all over South East Asia. Vietnam is notorious for its exuberant moped users, and it seems everybody has to own one. It’s like a coming of age thing!

What do I love about mopeds? I just love the sheer audacity of the riders, they are so cocky as they drive along, with some people even carrying boxes and cylinders of gas and industrial sized bunches of flowers etc. When I am in Vietnam, especially Hanoi, one of the major sights there is to stand back (safely) and just watch the craziness of the roads!


4 thoughts on “Top 5 authentic methods of transport in Asia

  1. Really enjoyed this post! I traveled to Thailand for my first time last October (first time anywhere in Asia!) and was in awe at all the different things I saw. As for transportation, we were on Koh Chang, and there everyone just went around in the back of a pick-up truck. Those were the taxis! Just stop a taxi pick-up and hop on! Was certainly a wild ride as the island is not flat at all! Thanks for sharing this information πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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