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Local Transport Around the World: Transport on the Water

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river taxis in Brunei

Water Taxis in Brunei

Water Taxis in Brunei

“Local people living on the Brunei river use water taxis for mobility between the two riverbanks and between the different villages on the river in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Traders from the village use the boat to transport their goods to sell in the markets along the river. Our Brunei city and water village tours offer tourists this unique transportation experience.”

~ Ai Lee, the whl.travel, Urban Adventures and Green Path Transfers local partner in Brunei

Dugout Canoe in Vanuatu

Dugout Canoe in Vanuatu

Dugout Canoes in Vanuatu

“The dugout canoe, made of one large carved-out log, is the forerunner of the modern catamaran. It is arguably the single most important manmade creation to the population of the Pacific. Beginning in approximately 1200 B.C.E., some of the Lapita people, who are native to Vanuatu, used these canoes to venture out beyond the large islands of the Solomons archipelago into the unknown world of Remote Oceania.

In less than 300 years, these culture bearers travelled over 3,000 kilometres of unexplored ocean, discovering hundreds of islands to the south as far as New Caledonia and to the east as far as Tonga and Samoa in Western Polynesia. Their social, political, artistic, symbolic and religious traditions provided the basis on which all later traditional societies of Remote Oceania were constructed.”

~ John Nicholls, the whl.travel local partner in Vanuatu

Lake Koman Ferry in Northern Albania

Lake Koman Ferry in Northern Albania

Lake Koman Ferry in Northern Albania

“The ferry trip on Lake Koman is one of the highlights of a five-day trek in the northern Albanian Alps. The lake is narrow and winding, stretching along the bed of the Drini River. The lake was formed after the construction of a dam in the 80s. The steep cliffs on both sides create a spectacular landscape reminiscent of Norwegian fjords.”

~ Laura Payne, the whl.travel local partner in Albania

Floating Market Boat on Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Floating Market Boat on Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Floating Market Boat on Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Cambodia‘s Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, with floating villages and houses on stilts scattered along the lakeshore. Despite the recent increase in tourism and rapid development, small paddle boats are still a very common means of transportation for locals going to and from schools and markets, as well as when visiting friends and family living on the lake.”

~ Thomas Holdo Hansen, the whl.travel local partner in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Haabja (One-Log Canoe) in Estonia

Haabja (One-Log Canoe) in Estonia

Haabja (One-Log Canoe) in Estonia

“The Finno-Ugric one-log boat, or haabja in Estonian, is probably the world’s oldest boat type and the forerunner of modern plank boat. Haabjas are dugout canoes that were used as fishing and transport vessels as far back as the Stone Age. They were used by our forefathers already when they were on their way toward the present territory of Estonia. A haabja is a long and narrow vessel carved out of a single log. Well-built haabjas are light, which enables them to be carried over natural obstacles between bodies of water.

In Estonia, traditional dugout building has survived in the regions famous for their great floods – around Matsalu Bay, in Võnnu parish at the mouth of Ahja River and in Soomaa National Park on the lower reaches of the tributaries of the Pärnu river. Estonia also happens to be the westernmost area where dugout boats are used.

Today, Soomaa has developed into a centre for building and maintaining the traditions of these ancient boats in Estonia. Guests are welcome to come and educate themselves about the history and construction of these vessels, participate in hands-on building camps and use the canoes during forays into the pristine nature of Soomaa National Park. On this tour you can find out why there is a joke among the Siberian people: ‘If you sit in a dugout you have to keep your tongue in the middle of the mouth.’ ”

~ Aivar Ruukel, owner of Soomaa.com, Estonia

The Ilala Ferry in Malawi

The Ilala Ferry in Malawi

The Ilala Ferry in Malawi

Boat travel is perhaps the most enjoyable way to get around in Malawi, thanks to the Ilala ferry. It runs on Lake Malawi north from Monkey Bay to Chilumba and back down the same route. “This photo shows the first-class deck, where Western travellers and upper-class locals sleep under stars! This is how most locals travel on the Ilala.”

~ Kate Ward, the whl.travel local partner in Malawi

The Long-Tail Boat in Phuket, Thailand

The Long-Tail Boat in Phuket, Thailand

The Long-Tail Boat in Phuket, Thailand

The long-tail boat featured here is a super-sized version of what is now becoming a traditional means of water transport in Thailand. Long-tail boats are named for their unusual appearance, with the propeller mounted on a drive shaft that extends several metres beyond the rear of the boat, giving it a ‘long-tailed’ appearance.

~ Read more in Photo of the Week: Long-Tail Boat on Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand

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