One of the less popularized joys of traveling in Southeast Asia is seeing how people have learned to do more with less. For example: motorbikes. For westerners, motorbikes (scooters really), are a simple mode of transportation meant for one, possibly two small people who want to go a short distance on smaller roadways. In Southeast Asia, motorbikes are viewed on a much grander scale. They are your family mini-van, your buddy’s pickup truck, the rented U-haul, and even possibly the semi tractor-trailer. Here are just a few of the amazing things we’ve seen on the back of a motorbike in Southeast Asia.
- A family of 5. A husband and wife, with 3 children. One child in front of the driver, one behind, then the mother, and one more child strapped to the back of the mother. We’ve heard from another traveler of 6 people on a bike, but didn’t see it ourselves.
- A passenger holding a 2m x 1m plane of glass (traveling down a tight alleyway).
- A 1.5 metre torpedo shaped propane tank strapped on the seat and hanging off the back. The driver was smoking.
- Various sized cages including: a litter of puppies, kittens, 3-5 chickens, and baby pigs.
- A pig bound for the slaughter.
- A woman with a 2 metre yoke across her shoulders that carried a large basket of fruit on each side. She steadied the yoke with one hand while driving with the other.
- Passengers holding various home appliances including: an AC unit, flat screen television, and a satellite receiver dish.
- A man talking on a cell phone with a box under his arm, smoking a cigarette and driving with one hand.
- A 2 metre square cube of trash strapped to the back seat.
- A motorbike strapped across the back of a motorbike.
Written on paper, all this may not sound so bad, but seeing it in real life will leave your mouth agape, thinking, “hmm… how about that?!”
Fellow travelers, what other incredible things have you seen on the back of a motorbike? Let us know in the comments section below.