Buckle Up! 10 Cities with Completely Terrifying Transportation

Getting there is half the adventure when it comes to traveling, right? In some cities, basic and necessary transportation takes that notion to a whole new level, making the New York City subway look like a first-class train. From ancient ferries in Bangladesh to a speeding minibus in Kenya, these are the 10 of the scariest ways to get around a city.


A tuk-tuk cruises on the streets of Bangkok. (Photo: fontxito/Flickr)

What: Tuk-tuks

Where: Bangkok, Thailand

Everything about these auto-rickshaws sounds terrifying: no doors, no seat belts, and only three wheels. While the drivers can act as impromptu tour guides, beware of their adjustable pricing and under-the-table deals with local vendors. Not to mention, zipping around the busy and crowded streets of Bangkok can be stomach churning.


The chicken bus goes up to 90 mph on winding roads. (Photo: rpphotos/Flickr)

What: Chicken buses

Where: Guatemala City, Guatemala

The nickname of this form of public transportation says it all; the bus is better suited for farm animals than people. These converted old school buses are packed full of both humans and animals, making for a scary ride. The voodoo posters and high rates of petty theft don’t exactly add a sense of comfort to your journey.

Related: European Taxi Protest: Transport Tech Upheaval


An ojek in Indonesia (Photo: Abraham Arthemius)

What: Ojeks

Where: Jakarta, Indonesia

Renting a moped or Vespa can often be a fun way to explore a new city. In Jakarta, these unlicensed motorcycle taxis are great for beating frequent traffic jams, but not for safety or payment requirements. You could find yourself haggling for better prices that don’t even include a helmet.


Minibus taxi in South Africa (Photo: kool_scatkat/Flickr)

What: Minibus taxis

Where: Johannesburg, South Africa

You’ll be surprised to find that these white vans, used by 70 percent of the population, aren’t actually part of the official public transit system. Drivers will squeeze up to 20 people at a time into these “taxis” made for 15 and follow a seemingly erratic route of bumpy roads around the city. The good news is they’re supercheap!


Cab in Peru (Photo: Jackson Lee/Flickr)

What: Cabs

Where: Lima, Peru

Despite rampant crime and drivers who decide the route, cabs are hard to come by in this capital city. Your other option is venturing into the chaotic system of privately owned and operated buses that can leave you lost, so many will risk these often-illegal taxis. To play it safer, have your hotel call a car.

Related: Need a Ride? The Best Transportation Apps


Seeing the northern lights by dogsled (Photo: Dallas75/Flickr)

What: Dogsleds

Where: Tromsø, Norway

There’s a reason Santa uses a sleigh and not a four-wheel-drive car: The roads seem to disappear as you approach the Arctic Circle. In frequent use for years, dogsleds provide efficient transportation through often-harsh conditions. As beautiful as it may be, the rudimentary nature of the vehicle makes for a cold and jostling trip.


The jeepney is a popular mode of transportation in the Philippines. (Photo: Stefan Munder/Flickr)

What: Jeepney

Where: Manila, Philippines

Take a World War II Army Jeep and add a streetcar, and you’ve got yourself a jeepney. Resembling a kids’ art project more than a reliable form of transportation, these buses are decorated with a variety of paintings and given nicknames like “Mr. Lover Boy.” Don’t let the cutesy name fool you, though; the experience is one filled with too many people, livestock, and ancient diesel exhaust that can’t be good for your health.


These dilapidated ferries in Bangladesh are blamed for 1,000 deaths a year. (Photo: Stefan Krasowski/Flickr)

What: Ferries

Where: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Talk about a real life-or-death adventure: These almost century-old boats are the cause of 1,000 deaths annually. Whether it’s people being pushed overboard because of overcrowding or a vessel sinking because of rust holes, the popular commuter ferry is no luxury boat ride. But if you’re a strong swimmer and have a life vest handy, you may want to brave these ships for an authentic Bangladeshi experience.


Many locals and visitors use matatus to get around Nairobi. (Photo: Darren and Sandy Van Soye/Flickr)

What: Matatus

Where: Nairobi, Kenya

Chickens are actually the most common passengers in these modified buses and often get priority seating. Between the animals, luggage, and produce, your mission will be to find anything you can hang onto for the wild trip. People have even been spotted clutching to the outside of this terrifying mode of transportation.


A commuter train in India (Photo: Owen Lin/Flickr)

What: Commuter trains

Where: Mumbai, India

Without this train system, India’s commercial landscape would not function. These lines run throughout the country, providing an economical option for millions of people. Though the trip can be visually stunning, it might be hard to catch a view with dozens of other people in your way. Even at high speeds, passengers will often hang on outside the train for a breath of fresh air.

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