Some places think beyond the metros, buses and bike lanes to provide ingenious ways for their citizens to get around.
Longest urban cable car, La Paz, Bolivia
These cable cars ascend nearly 500m up the mountains of the world’s highest metropolis. It cost $234 million to install in 2014 and takes thousands of passengers along its 17-kilometre length every hour. It’s the longest cable car system in the world.
Hovercraft, Portsmouth, UK
You might think hovering vehicles belong only in Back to the Future — but you’d be wrong! The craft that runs between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight is the world’s longest running commercial hovercraft route. The journey takes around 10 minutes, as opposed to half an hour on a ferry.
Coco taxi, Cuba
Ever wanted to ride in a vehicle that’s the shape of a coconut? Head to Cuba! The coco taxis are small and round, made of fibreglass and cheaper than a normal taxi, although they are very noisy. You might think that coconuts aren’t very aerodynamic, but these quirky taxis manage to ferry people around pretty quickly.
Ice angel windsled, Wisconsin, US
An amphibious vehicle that can travel on ice, snow and water, Ice Angels are used to traverse Wisconsin’s mainland and Madeline Island. The lake freezes in the winter and can be driven across when it’s solid, but when the ice is too thick for a boat and too thin for a car the windsleds are used. Powered by an airplane engine, the vehicle glides across the ice.
Maglev train, Shanghai, China
This train reaches speeds of up to 431km/h, meaning it makes the 30km trip between Shanghai airport and the centre of town in around eight minutes. The train rides upon a powerful magnetic field, and you can check the speed thanks to the visible onboard speedometer.
Bamboo train, Cambodia
Passengers sit on a makeshift bamboo platform with wheels that run up to 40km an hour on unmaintained railway tracks. Sounds exhilarating! This hyper-local form of transportation is fast and cheap, even if it’s not for those of a nervous disposition. If a platform, known as a nori, meets another going in the opposite direction, one of the platforms has to be disassembled to let the other pass. Hop on from Battambang station.
Reed boat, Peru
These dragon-shaped boats are amoung the oldest ever forms of water transport. Constructed by the Uros people who live on Lake Titicaca on floating islands made of reeds, they are a beautifully traditional way of sailing across the lake.
This is a motorcycle that has been modified to seat more than two people. Consisting of wooden planks strapped to the bike to act as seats, it provides a speedy and mildly terrifying way to traverse the mountains.
Wuppertal suspension railway, Wuppertal, Germany
This monorail was built in 1901 and is used by 85,000 passengers a year. It’s the oldest elevated electric railway in the world, and some carriages still have lamps, curtains and upholstered seats on which to enjoy your coffee as you watch the world go by below.
Three-wheeled bicycle taxis, these are a fast and green way to see Vietnam. After the French colonial period failed to introduce rickshaws, cyclos caught on instead. Popular for tourist tours, you hop onto the front seat before being pedalled through the city.
Amphibious vehicle, London, UK
Called the Duck Boat, this multi-terrain vehicle offers tours of London from both the road and the river. Experience the thrill of driving into the water only to float away serenely, much like a duck.
Traghetto, Venice, Italy
Everyone knows about the gondolas, but to travel like a local in Venice you’ll need to catch a traghetto. These no-frills boats carry passengers from one side of the Grand Canal to the other – and as there are only three bridges across, you’ll be saving a lot of time.
Monte toboggan, Madeira, Portugal
These wooden sleds were created in the 19th century as a fast way to descend the hill from Monte to Funchal. Two drivers dressed in white steer you at speeds of up to 48km per hour down steep, winding streets. It won’t be a smooth ride, but it will be memorable.
Dog sleds, Alaska, US
Dashing through the snow in a dog-pulled sled is like something out of a Christmas song, but if you visit Alaska you can experience the real deal. While you might not have dreamed of the bumpiness, or the cold as the freezing Alaskan wind rushes past you, this is a unique form of transport that you can’t experience anywhere else.
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