Walking tours, bus rides, cruise ships—there are plenty of ways to explore the wonders of our world. But for those looking for a truly unique experience, you’ve got to think outside the box. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite ways to travel, with modes of transportation that aren’t just your everyday tour van. From submarines and steamboats to dogsleds and wagons, these activities are guaranteed to help you see the world through new eyes.
Bangkok, Thailand — Tuk Tuk
The tuk tuk is ubiquitous in Bangkok, but first-time visitors are sure to have the ride of their lives in this traditional doorless pedicab. With a local guide behind the wheel, you can zip through the busy streets, passing ancient temples, colorful markets, and gilded statues. Feel the breeze in your hair as zoom up to the summit of Golden Mount for panoramic views over the city.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Camel Safari
Outside the hustle and bustle of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates boasts a remote desert with stretches of sandy dunes for as far as the eye can see. What better way to explore this exotic landscape than on the back of a native camel? Spend a few hours wandering over copper-hued hills, and end your safari with a mouthwatering meal beneath the clear, starry sky.
Fairbanks, Alaska — Dogsled
For even more animal adventure, head to the wild backcountry of Fairbanks, Alaska. Here, just outside of town, a championship musher trains the same dogs that compete in the prestigious Open North American dog sled race. Go inside the facility to spend some time with the friendly canines, and then hop on a sled for a thrilling ride through the wintery wilderness.
Grand Canyon, Arizona — Covered Wagon and Helicopter
Forget hiking and opt to travel through the spectacular landscape of the Grand Canyon on a covered, horse-pulled wagon. In this 19th-century vehicle, travel back in time as you make your way over rugged terrain like the region’s earliest settlers. The horses pull you right to a launch site, where you’re brought back to modern day by lifting off in a state-of-the-art helicopter. Fly over one of Mother Nature’s greatest creations, soaking in views of rainbow-colored rock formations and layered canyon walls.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Cable Car
Widely considered to have one of the world’s most breathtaking natural landscapes, Rio de Janeiro offers plenty of ways to take its stunning sights. Of these options, a favorite is undoubtedly the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. In a glass capsule, soar over craggy cliffs to the height of 1,299 feet (396 m). Upon arrival at the summit, look out upon sweeping vistas of sparkling Guanabara Bay and the city spread out beneath your feet.
San Francisco, California — Vintage Volkswagen Bus
Hitch a ride in a multi-colored Volkswagen Bus to discover San Francisco attractions hippie-style. With a local guide behind the wheel, find a seat in the far-out van for a fun ride to famous sites such as Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. As you groove to the sounds of ‘60s and ‘70s classics, drive by the former homes of counter-culture icons such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and members of The Grateful Dead.
Tokyo, Japan — Go-Karts
Leave your typical car behind in favor of traveling the streets of Tokyo in a novelty go-kart. Hop behind the wheel of this speedy vehicle for a grand prix led by a local guide, or opt to explore the city at your own pace. Enjoy a new perspective closer to ground as you cruise to iconic sites such as Tokyo Tower and the Meiji Shrine.
Vancouver, Canada — Ultimate Flying Ride
Buckle your seatbelt and take to the skies on a one-of-a-kind virtual flight experience. Without leaving Vancouver, you can travel coast to coast across Canada, getting close to the country’s most spectacular natural wonders. In a chairlift-like seat, hang suspended as cutting-edge technology and 4-D special effects bring the sensation of flying to life. Marvel at Canada’s most beautiful scenery, including the Rocky Mountains and the Northern Lights.
Venice, Italy — Gondola
Like tuk tuks in Bangkok, gondolas are everywhere in Venice, but that doesn’t make them any less special to visitors from the rest of the world. Discover the charm of the City of Water as you ride along the canals in a traditional flat-bottom boat. Feel as if you’ve stepped out of a Venetian storybook as you glide by ancient churches, elegant palaces, and historic squares. Sail under bridges that arch over hidden waterways while a troupe of local musicians serenades you with Italian songs.
Zanzibar, Tanzania — Dhow Boat and Ngalawa Canoe
Step into a traditional dhow boat, a sailing vessel with history dating back at least 1,400 years. Off the coast of East Africa, enjoy the Indian Ocean breeze as you cruise Zanzibar’s Menai Bay in the masted boat. Bask in views of aquamarine waters, uninhabited islands, and sea life such as bottlenose dolphins and tropical fish. Later, try your hand at manning another traditional vessel—a ngalawa canoe crafted from a mango tree.
What out-of-the-ordinary mode of transportation will you use to head off the beaten path?