Traditional vehicles in SE Asia

Most common vehicles in Cambodia and Southeast Asia were human or animal-powered, and some of these are still in use - e.g. cyclos are common in Vietnam, although less so in Cambodia. Many motor-driven vehicless are derived from these, or just new adaptations of the ubiquitous motor scooter (moto).




Originally a small trailer pulled by a cyclist, the bicycle was eventually replaced by a moto for added speed and less effort, and the moto-remorque was born. These are much more commonly known as tuk-tuks, after their more widespread 3-wheeled cousins from Thailand and beyond. Only found in Cambodia, and a very pleasant way of touring the Angkor temples, or around Siem Reap.




Cyclos are essentially a smalled 2-wheeled seat attached where the front-wheel of a bicycle would be. Still found in Phnom Penh, they are more common in Vietnam - many South Vietnamese Army veterans still work cyclos, and offer some fascinatin insights into the country.


thai tuk-tuk

Bangkok tuk-tuk

Renowned in Bangkok for not being driven by the most honest and reliable workers in the tourist trades, tuk-tuks do offer a good compromise of manoeuvrability and safety in Bangkok traffic. The gem scam can be worked both ways - get a virtually free ride in return for walking in and then smartly out of the jewellers, and the tuk-tuk driver gets his commission!

But really, the Moto is king of transport in SE Asia



Samlor in Pakse, Southern Laos

Originally cycle-powered, this is now a moto-and-sidecar (which can be comfortably enclosed, or little more than a platform welded to the side of the moto) and can be found in Laos and Thailand.


jumbo tuk-tuk

Colorful jumbo, Luang Prabang

Colorfully decorated Laotian version of the tuk-tuk - these beasts can be as easy to mount as an elephant.


songthaew in laos

Songthaew ready to go

Often little more than a pick up truck with bench seats, this is the budget option for locals and backpackers.

standard van

The cheap seats

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Travel in Cambodia - cyclos, tuk-tuks, remorques by ABOUTAsia