7 Cultural Forms of Transportation ...


We are so used to seeing roads chock full of cars and other motor vehicles that it’s easy to forget that in some places around the world, there are actually other forms of transportation still being used. And don’t be fooled into thinking these forms of transportation exist because they are nations where the population can’t afford cars. Sometimes they developed out of practicality and are still fit for purpose, and others have remained solely as tourist attractions. Check out these forms of transportation around the world and do let me know if you’ve been on any.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Please subscribe for your personalized newsletter:


Monte Toboggan Ride

Monte Toboggan Ride This must be one of the most adventurous forms of transportation and is found in the Portuguese island of Madeira. Popular from the 1800s through the early 1900s, this throwback mode of transport is now used primarily as a draw for tourists. On a Monte Toboggan Ride, passengers are whisked down the mountainside from Monte to Funchal in a wicker or wooden toboggan, steered by two locals. At first glance, you might become nostalgic, as this thrill ride may recall your sledding days down the snowy hillsides of your youth...only the similarities end there, for on the Monte Toboggan ride, you’ll absolutely scream down an enormous mountain.


Chicken Bus

Chicken Bus In Guatemala, the “chicken bus” transports not only people, but livestock as well. Different variations of this transportation mode can be found in many countries around the world. However, in Guatemala, the chicken bus is a U.S. school bus painted with eye-popping color and intricate design. If you’re not too chicken to give the chicken bus a shot, it’s better that you aren’t claustrophobic, as chicken buses are most often packed like sardine tins, and driven at the speed of light. However scary, your seatmate might actually be a real, live squawking chicken. So there’s that...


While boldly adorned and often crowded to the max, the chicken bus experience offers more than just a quirky mode of transport; it's a cultural immersion. With every mile hurtled down the road, you get an authentic taste of Guatemalan life, from the eclectic music blaring to the vibrant chatter amongst passengers. Just be prepared to cozy up with not just feathered friends, but perhaps sacks of corn, fresh produce, or the occasional goat. It's less of a journey, and more of an adventure — for those with a sense of humor and a sturdy grip.


Dog Sleds

Dog Sleds In Alaska, USA, you might be excited to find that it’s not just a constructed stereotype – people truly do use dog sleds as a form of transport. The sled is propelled over ice and snow, drawn by highly trained sled dogs. Get your John Thornton on, “Call of the Wild” style, and enjoy this mode of transport in Alaska’s snowcapped great outdoors. All sled dogs possess huge endurance and speed, and thus will sweep you across great distances quite quickly. This mode of transport has also become popular in other countries around the world during winter months, such as in Germany and Japan.



Rickshaws The human-powered rickshaw, though largely replaced by modern transportation, has survived as a traditional form of transport in a number of Asian cities. In Kyoto, Japan and parts of India, you can even still find human-powered rickshaws being used practically, as some areas are inaccessible by cars. In order to cross varied types of terrain, many rickshaw drivers wear a special foot-glove which keeps them from slipping.


Habal Habal

Habal Habal In the Philippines, the Habal Habal is a multi-seated motorcycle, with the ability to transport whole families. With a seat extending over the rear wheel, small Habal Habals can seat around 4 or 5 people. The more complex variety uses the addition of wooden plank benches, and can seat up to thirteen people and their luggage. Without a doubt, the Habal Habal is one of the more hilarious-looking forms of transportation existing in the world.


Reed Boat

Reed Boat Lake Titicaca extends across both Peru and Bolivia and is home to the Floating Islands of the Uros. Inhabited by the ancient Uro tribe, these islanders use natural resources to construct homes and boats, amongst these resources, reeds. Reed boats are lightweight but surprisingly resilient. Often built in the shape of a dragon, legend has it that the ancient Incas used these boats to ward off evil spirits.


The Totora reeds that abound in the area are not only vital for the construction of the Uros floating islands, but also essential for crafting these buoyant vessels. Skilled islanders weave the reeds into sturdy boats that have been traversing the azure waters of Titicaca for centuries. Visitors are often captivated by the serenity of sailing in such a traditional craft, which also serves as a cultural ambassador that showcases the ingenuity and harmony with which the Uro people live with their environment.



Camel Though commonly viewed as a tourist attraction, in the Middle East, riding camel back is often a practical mode of transport as well. Camel riding hotspots exist everywhere in the Middle East but elsewhere too; whether in Morocco, Cairo, India, Dubai, Mongolia and even Australia, camel rides draw loads of tourists each year. Though there are many popular camel hotspots to choose from, one particular option is to cross the gorgeous rose-colored deserts of Wadi Rum in Jordan atop this majestic creature.

Have you ever been on any of these? Maybe you know of other forms of transportation that you’ve experienced you’d like to share with us?

Related Topics

author of the originals olympic gold medal ice skaters the only thing we never get enough of is love forgotten english words victorian bathtub dangerous stereotypes in america indigenous tribes in rainforests wales myths and legends why were flappers shocking to society amazing black scientists

Popular Now