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Means of Transportation in South East Asia

Various Photographers


South East Asia has a history of transport that has endured the onslaught of modern cars and taxis. The human pedaled three-wheeled bicycle taxi, known also as a cycle rickshaw, trishaw, pedicab, becak, beca and cyclo, traditionally ferried people and their possessions through the teeming streets of Bangkok, Jakarta, Phnom Penh and Hanoi. The trishaw then evolved in many places to incorporate a motor and more speed in three-wheeled noisy auto-rickshaw transport - such as the tuk-tuk in Thailand, and the motorized Bajaj in Indonesia.


Among the most colorful trishaws that still remain in business are the Beca which are peddled around the touristy routes of Malacca in Malaysia. Adorned with colorful decoration and pomp, the trishaw is popular among tourists, for its novelty and photo opportunities, as well as their knowledgeable peddlers who act as tourist guides.


In the 1960s and 1970s in Bali, Indonesia, the horse drawn cart called the Dokar filled every street in the city, pulling people and wares to their destinations. Today, no more than 20 ply the roads around the traditional market in Denpasar and other tourist spots.


In the fast developing country of Vietnam, more than 65 percent of people use motorbikes as their primary transport in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. The traditional Cyclo has almost disappeared in the big cities, surviving now mainly for the tourism industry.


In Myanmar, where fuel prices are spiraling way above the pockets of the Burmese, most must ride crowded public buses and trucks. A few trishaws remain and bicycles are a perennial favorite in a country hampered by energy shortages.


For the Filipinos, recycling the US military jeeps left behind after World War II saw the versatile and popular Jeepney, a local minibus, come into existence. The Jeepney has become a symbol of Filipino culture through the years and remains one of the most enduring modes of public transportation due to many accessible routes and affordable fares.


Although regarded as the most modern of all South East Asian nations, Singapore was once associated with its famous trishaws. Nowadays though, its roads and highways support modern car travel.