I bet you could walk out to a main road and within a few minutes you would see some pretty crazy looking vehicles. You might think you’d never be caught dead in one of them, but because you are used to seeing them all the time they wouldn’t make you look twice. In some countries it’s completely different. Never in a million years would you ever expect to see some of the vehicles in your own country. If you have never traveled around the world you probably have no idea what’s out there. Here are some of the strangest vehicles you might bump into.
After the war finished the American soldiers gave their jeeps away to the locals instead of bringing them home. Because they looked like army vehicles the Filipinos didn’t want to be seen driving them. They decided to completely strip them out and make some cool modifications. A roof was added to keep them cool. They would be used for passenger transportation so it was wise to make people as comfortable as possible. Next they colored them in the most amazing designs you have ever seen. Today the Jeepneys have turned into a symbol of the Philippines and are everywhere.
These are little trucks that are fitted with two rows of seats in the back. That’s actually what Songthaew roughly translates to, “two rows.” They are used as a kind of bus service that runs through town. When one is passing you would flag it down and jump on. When you reach your destination you hand the driver your money. Sometimes these end up being filled to the brim. You even see people standing on the little platform at the back of the truck. It’s lucky they aren’t exactly clamping down on safety laws in the country.
The bamboo train probably reminds you of something you read about in a Huckleberry Finn book, except this one comes with an engine. It’s a bamboo platform which sits a few inches of the railway lines and the locals use it to take them between villages. It’s really cheap and goes at a whopping 40km/h. This might not seen fast, but considering you are basically sitting on some bamboo tied together it can be quite interesting.
You will see tuk-tuks everywhere in Asia, no matter where you go. They are little 3-wheeled motor vehicles that fit a few passengers in the back. You could probably say they are more popular than a normal taxi. Especially for tourists because they are just so much fun. No country does them like India, though. Because the roads are absolutely packed with them there is always carnage around every corner. They have little horns and people love nothing more than beeping them ever few seconds.
These are the country’s national bus transportation and they get their name because of the cramped conditions, and also for the fact that you could be sat beside live chickens. If you don’t get on towards the start of the route you are guaranteed to be standing all the way, which doesn’t exactly make them the most comfortable ride in the world. There’s quite a few petty crimes happen on the chicken bus so you have to be careful with your belongings.
This is what would happen if you took the back cabin of a tuk-tuk and added a bicycle to the rear. Someone sits behind you and pedals as hard as he can until you get to your destination. It’s a slow ride, but actually quite fun. Just make sure you don’t have any important deadlines to meet. Sometimes when the traffic gets busy they could even be faster than a car. But that really just shows how slow a car can be. Still, they remain popular with tourists.
Nicholas Stem is an expert car blogger who has 20 years of experience in automobile industry. He shares car maintenance tips through his blogs in cmmautomotive.com