They say the journey is more important than the destination, and these words of wisdom definitely ring true when it comes to iconic city transport. From the bustling streets of London to the serene
waterways of Venice, a city’s buses, trains, gondolas, scooters and dog sleds are its life and soul.
Jump aboard, as we go around the world in 18 iconic ways!
1. London, UK – Red Bus
If London could be summed up into one image, it would be a glorious,
pillar-box red Routemaster bus, cruising across Tower Bridge
(probably in the rain). Despite the buses’ recent redesign the iconic
red has remained, connecting the city’s zones and attractions
since the turn of the century.
Fun Fact: Before 1907, all London’s buses were painted
different colours depending on their routes (much like the system
on the city’s underground). However, one enterprising bus
company owner took the decision to paint his entire fleet red to
stand out from the competition, and it stuck!
Traveller’s Tip: The British have a saying – ‘you wait all day for a
bus, then three come along at once!’ Avoid the frustration with this
incredible live map of London’s buses, moving in real time!
Price per mile: 42p (£1.50 for a single ticket)
Book your London city break here.
2. Bangkok, Thailand – Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuks have been whizzing locals and tourists through Bangkok’s streets for decades.
Drivers are able to nip the 3 wheels of their vehicle around traffic jams, street gawkers, and crowds of sightseers on
a daily basis – it’s safe to say you’ll never forget your first Tuk Tuk ride.
Fun Fact: Tuk Tuks get their name on account of the rhythmic sound made by their small-capacity, two-cycle engines – tuk, tuk,
tuk, tuk, tuk…
Traveller’s Tip: Before you jump on board, fare haggling is a must,
as drivers will charge an ‘inflated rate’ for non-locals. The best way
to barter is to knock about 10 Baht off the suggested price, and
work from there.
Price per mile: 94p
Find hotels in Bangkok here.
3.Guatemala City, Guatemala – Chicken Bus
Treasured by locals and tourists alike, the instantly recognisable
form of the Camioneta, (or ‘Chicken Bus’) is a stylistic icon of
Central American culture. Packed to the rafters with passengers
jammed two-to-a-seat, these faithful vehicles are painted with
unique designs in a rainbow of colours – a trip through Guatemala
isn’t complete without one!
Fun Fact: Camionetas are re-purposed USA school buses. When a
school bus clocks up 150,000 miles or reaches the grand old age of
10, it’s sold at auction and starts a new, colourful life.
Traveller’s Tip: Hop on at the gorgeous, Spanish colonial town of
Antigua and ride all the way to Nebaj – this route passes through
Mayan ruins, lush, green countrysides and bustling local villages.
Price per miles: 0.03p
Find hotels in Guatemala here.
4. Malé, Maldives – Sea Plane
There really is no more efficient way of travelling around an
archipelago than the majestic seaplane, and with over 1190
islands to connect, the Maldives’ seaplanes work harder than
Fun Fact: seaplanes don’t require a runway, but use over 1200 ft
of water for take-off and landing.
Traveller’s Tip: Maldives seaplanes do not fly at night, so be sure
to plan your journey between islands accordingly.
Price per mile: £2.00
Find your dream Maldives holiday here.
5. Hanoi, Vietnam – Scooter
Any image of Vietnam’s capital will feature the city’s characteristic,
teeming mass of scooter riders zooming, swerving and
accelerating through its streets. Used to transport anything from
cages of live ducks to various family members, Hanoi’s
scooter-culture is more than a way of life.
Fun Fact: As Vietnam has only had cars for the last 10 years,
scooters are popular in Hanoi. They’re considerably cheaper, faster
and infinitely easier to park in the city’s narrow side-streets.
Traveller’s Tip: Crossing the road in Hanoi is a seemingly
impossible task for a first-time visitor. Waiting for a gap in the
traffic is virtually pointless – instead, walk forwards at a steady and
deliberate pace, and the scooter drivers will skillfully swerve
Price per mile: 3p (£2.61 for a day’s hire)
Book Hanoi hotels here.
6. Kulusuk, Greenland – Dog Sled
With endless frozen expanses stretching between each town, the
power and resilience of the sled dog is the essential driving force
behind daily life in Greenland. From herding livestock to travelling
long distance, the country’s sled dogs bring a new meaning to the phrase,
‘man’s best friend’.
Fun Fact: The technical term for a Dog Sled driver is ‘musher’, and
the process of driving the sled itself is called ‘mushing’.
Traveller’s Tip: Mushers will wear traditional protective clothing
when sledding, which is made from sealskin. Chances are you will
be offered some of your own – take it, you’ll be grateful when
facing the sub-zero wind as you travel!
Price per mile: £3 (£75.85 for a standard tour)
7. New York, USA – Yellow Taxi
The background star of many a movie set in the Big Apple, New
York’s yellow cabs are an important part of its cityscape.
Chauffeuring locals, tourists and even the odd celebrity from Times
Square to Brooklyn and everywhere in between for over 70 years,
the yellow cab has truly earned its place as one of New York’s
Fun Fact: Licensed yellow cabs are officially known as ‘medallion
taxis’. They became yellow in 1967 by order of the city’s
government, to make it easier for passengers to spot unlicensed
Traveller’s Tip: Hollywood makes it look easy, but hailing a New
York cab is actually a fine art. Stand alongside traffic going in the
direction you want to travel, stick your arm out straight, and look
the driver straight in the eye – don’t shout, it’s considered very
Price per mile: £2.50
Book your New York city break here.
8. Amsterdam, Holland – Bicycle
There’s nothing more Dutch than cycling through the country’s
picturesque, buzzing cities, and no one does biking better than
Amsterdam. Ranked as the most bicycle-friendly city in the world
due to its impressive network of cycle paths, getting around on
two wheels couldn’t be easier.
Fun Fact: One of the most photographed parts of the city is the
bicycle park outside of Amsterdam Centraal Station.
Traveller’s Tip: Most of the bikes for rent in Amsterdam feature
old-fashioned, back-pedal brakes as opposed to front-lever
operated ones, so be sure to have a quick practice before you set
off – some of those bridges are a little steep!
Price per mile: £3.90 (£5.92 for a day’s hire)
Find your Amsterdam city break here .
9. Sydney, Australia – Water Taxi
For a city set along a bustling waterfront, a fast and reliable way to
get from harbour to dock is essential – enter the water taxi.
Painted using a similar colour-scheme to the New York cab,
Sydney’s water taxis have form, function and a definite fun factor.
Fun Fact: Not only used by locals and tourists to get from A to B, a
Sydney water taxi can also be hired for a private tour of the
Traveller’s Tip: If you happen to find yourself in Sydney on New
Year’s Eve, there is no better way to experience the city’s famous
firework display than from the water – be sure to book in advance!
Price per mile: £7.16
Book a holiday in Sydney here.
10. Cairo, Egypt – Camel
Faithful, hard-working and undeniably iconic, Cairo’s camels have
been keeping the cogs of the city turning for centuries, and still do
today. Although now only used as working livestock by Egypt’s
nomadic Berber population, camel rides are hugely popular in and
out of the city, making the camel a valuable family asset!
Fun Fact: The only group of truly wild camels left in the world is a
herd of about 700 who live in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.
Traveller’s Tip: The most popular destination for a camel tour is
Giza, home of the famous pyramids. Adding a tour guide is worth
the extra spend, but make sure they are certified before you hand
over the cash.
Price per mile: £6.53
Search Cairo holidays here.
11. Venice, Italy – Gondola
For most cities, transport is a lifeline. For Venice however, the
Gondola is its very essence. Regarded as the epitome of romantic,
European grandeur, Venice’s waterways have been served by
skilled Gondoliers for just under a thousand years.
Fun Fact: All Gondolas are painted black. This custom dates back
to the 16th Century and was enforced to stop noblemen trying to
out-do each other with their own Gondolas’ elaborate and
Traveller’s Tip: There are signs throughout the city stating that a
Gondola ride (usually lasting 40 mins) costs € 80. However, some
Gondoliers have been known to cut the trip short and charge the
full price, so keep an eye on the time as well as Venice’s beautiful
Price per mile: £53 (£60 for 40 mins hire)
Book your Venice city break here.
12. Victoria, Hong Kong – Junk Boat
Originating in China, the Junk Boat became a feature of Victoria’s
skyline when the city imported some to use as fishing vessels.
Today however, the Junk Boat’s majestic plume of red sails has
become synonymous with the Hong Kong coastline.
Fun Fact: Little-known is Hong Kong’s status as an archipelago,
and so the Junk Boat is a useful tool for exploring some of the
lesser-visited islands off the coast of Victoria!
Traveller’s Tip: The Hong Kong Tourist Board offers hour-long
rides on Junk Boats for any foreign passport holder, at a reduced
rate of 100 HK Dollars (£8.42). This must be booked in advance.
Price per mile: 90p (£8.42 for an hour’s tour)
Find Hong Kong hotels here.
13. Tokyo, Japan – Bullet Train
Efficient, futuristic and pioneering, Tokyo and its Shinkansen
(Bullet Train) go hand-in-hand. Having reached speeds of up to
600 kmph in test phases, the Bullet Train truly lives up to its name
and has been getting Tokyo locals to work on time since 1964.
Fun Fact: The Bullet Train network is the world’s busiest
high-speed railway, and transports a mind-blowing 151 million
people a year around the country.
Traveller’s Tip: On some Bullet Trains, booking a seat is
mandatory, but on most it’s optional. Booking does come with a
fee and is rarely necessary due to the vast number of trains
Price per mile: 31p
Book a Japan holiday here
14. Havana, Cuba – Vintage Car
As much a part of Cuban culture as cigars, coffee and baseball, the
vintage American car (fondly known amongst locals as ‘Yank
Tank’), represents Havana’s laidback style and effortless charm.
Fun Fact: Cuba’s automotive culture seems frozen in time, and
indeed no new cars have been imported since the US embargo in
the 60’s. The most popular model is the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air,
which also happens to be the car most photographed by the city’s
Traveller’s Tip: To experience Havana’s quirky motoring history
and the unique charisma that these vintage cars create, visit now!
The trade rules with the USA are in the process of change, and it
won’t be long before newer cars start to be imported.
Price per mile: £1.00
Find your dream Cuba holiday here.
15. San Francisco, USA – Cable Car
Confusingly named, San Francisco’s Cable Cars are actually a type
of cable-operated tram, working the routes up and down the city’s
most torturously steep hills. Although now mainly serving
culture-seeking tourists, the Cable Cars remain the quickest way to
get around this elevated city.
Fun Fact: Occupied by burly ‘Gripmen’, the job of operating a
Cable Car is naturally a male-dominated profession. However, in
1998, Fannie Mae Barnes became the first and only woman to
ever work as a Gripman.
Traveller’s Tip: For the best Cable Car experience, take the
Powell/Hyde Line as it passes the famous, zig-zagging Lombard
Street and ends at bustling Fisherman’s Wharf. Try and sit at the
front on the east side for the best view!
Price per mile: £1.51 (£4.67 for a single ticket)
Book your San Francisco trip here.
16. Mumbai, India – Train
The importance of Mumbai’s trains cannot be underestimated.
From commuters braving the ‘Super Dense Crushload’ of rush hour,
to long-distance travellers using the sleeper service, this railway network is
truly the lifeblood of the city.
Fun Fact: Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (recently
featured on BBC2’s The World’s Busiest Railway) is by far the city’s
busiest station, handling up to 3 million passengers every day.
Traveller’s Tip: Unless you want to experience the infamous
crushing of Mumbai’s rush hour, try and take your local rail
journeys between 11am and 4pm.
Price per mile: 5p
Find holidays in Mumbai here .
17. New Orleans, USA – Steamboat
The pulsating energy of the Mississippi river has long been the home of trusty steamboats.
Based on the design of Virginia’s sternwheelers, these hardy ships have been transporting goods
and passengers through New Orleans and beyond for over a century.
Fun Fact: Steamboat races between the different, regional
companies have been taking place along the Mississippi since the
1800s, and still do to this day!
Traveller’s Tip: The best way to enjoy a Steamboat ride is to take a
‘Jazz Cruise’, which includes live music, dinner and of course,
beautiful twilight vistas along the river.
Price per mile: £1.06 (£19.20 for 1.5 hours)
Search for hotels in New Orleans here .
18. Zanzibar, Tanzania – Dhow Boat
Characterised by their elegant swoop of white sails, Tanzania’s
Dhow Boats are a vital form of transportation for locals, tourists
and tradable goods. Originally imported from Kerala, India, these
boats have become synonymous with Tanzania’s islands and are
now a large part of the country’s ecotourism movement.
Fun Fact: The Dhow Boat doesn’t have any form of motor, and
instead relies on its very large sail.
Traveller’s Tip: Use the Dhow Boat to explore Tanzania’s famous
‘spice islands’, Zanzibar and Mafia.
Price per mile: £23.00
Find Zanzibar hotels here.
— TravelRepublic (@TravelRepublic) October 20, 2015
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