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Burma Field Trip / Myanmar Field Trip / Burma Travel / Myanmar Travel / Yangon Travel / Southeast Asia Travel / Mandalay Travel / Bagan Travel / Nay Pyi Taw Travel / Pyin oo Lwin Travel / Taxis / Public Transportation / Travel Tips / Money / → All Tags
It seems like everyone and their moms are going to Burma. Or is it Myanmar? (For the answer, see here.) Thanks to political and humanitarian reforms of the last several years, this Southeast Asian country is more open than ever to tourism. Over the next week or so, Jaunted's Julia Buckley will be sharing her tips and experiences as a traveler in Burma without a tour group and without memorizing a guidebook, but with common sense and open eyes on a Burma Field Trip.
This week in Burma we’ve been concentrating on how to get around, and while it’s the most expensive (and bourgeois) option, hiring a taxi or a private driver is certainly the easiest. It’s also more affordable than you might imagine.
Private cars are good for longer journeys, obviously, but they’re also the best way to spend a day sightseeing. You may (as we were) be expecting Burma to be a land of tuktuks; it isn’t. And Burmese cities are big, with the main sights spread all over the place. If you’re looking for a day of sightseeing, your best option is to hire a driver (motorcycles could be another optionwe were offered one in Mandalaybut it’s pretty hot, so you’ll almost certainly want a car).
We found rates varied by city, and also by driver (we were told $50-80 was the going rate in Yangon, for example our driver quoted $50). Also, you’ll be pleased to know, the vast majority of people aren’t out to fleece you; we only had one driver, in a pickup truck in Bagan, who tried to overcharge us. Everyone else was entirely reasonable.
Here’s a list of rough rates we found, as well as drivers we recommend. This doesn’t mean they’re the only reliable drivers, of course – but we met all these, they had good cars, and they themselves were great.
Cars / London Travel / Taxis / Design Travel / → All Tags
Over in London there’s a new look for the city’s iconic taxicabs, as Nissan has revealed its design and plan for a vehicle that they hope can compete for a decent share of the market. The new look takes cues from the city’s usual car design, but as you can see above—it’s certainly not the same thing.
Nissan is hungry to score success in London, as they already have gobbled up contracts to supply similar vehicles in spots like New York, Barcelona, and Tokyo. Its new look for London is based off the NV200 van, and it hopes that the petrol-powered taxi can take to the city’s streets by the end of the year. As for a greener version—it might be 2015 before an electric option is available for spinning around Piccadilly Circus.
Travel Mistakes / EWR / Taxis / Public Transportation / AirTrain / Newark Travel / New York City / → All Tags
The days of fretting over whether taxicabs take credit cards are practically over--as most taxis in major cities and at major airports have long ago installed credit card machines, freeing you up from having to take out cash at the ATM when you land. Except at Newark International Airport taking a taxi into Manhattan and paying by credit card is still a hassle.
For starters, there is an additional $5 charge to all points in the state of New York (except Staten Island.) Second, the taxi stand makes you pre-pay for your ride at one of these machines. You then give the slip to your driver, with your desired destination and he will process the full payment at the end. That does not include tolls (which are about $10 and up) and tips (whatever you feel is appropriate.)
New York City / New York Travel / Public Transportation / Taxis / Cabs / Cars / → All Tags
We knew that New York City had their eyes on a new design and model for their ubiquitous taxis, but now it looks like the plan is finally considered official.
Last week, the Taxi and Limousine commission approved the Nissan NV200 as the city’s new go to mode of transportation. It’s not going to be an instant upgrade for drivers and passengers, as the plan is to phase in around 13,000 of the new vehicles as older cabs are up for repair, replacement, and retirement.
Travel Safety / LGA / Airports / Taxis / Crimes / New York City / → All Tags
"Be careful of pickpockets." "Avoid unmarked taxis." "Do not leave the airport with anyone approaching you about accommodation." All of these are common warnings you typically hear for international airports, but they really do apply for any airport (or train or bus stations), even domestic ones in the middle of a big US city.
For the moment, we'd like to focus on unmarked or illegal cab companies and the danger of them because a friend of ours, someone who travels only every so often and does not live in NYC, nearly fell into a bad situation with one this weekend, after arrival at NYC's LaGuardia Airport. This, despite the city's recent huge efforts to crack down on illegal cabs at airports and harrowing tales of tourists escaping a potential hostage situation.
Paris Travel / Transportation / Taxis / Free Stuff / Cars / → All Tags
There’s plenty of cheap—and electric—cars roaming the streets in and around Paris these days, but now there’s a new type of public transportation arriving in the City of Lights. Tuk-Tuk taxis are most common over in Southeast Asia, but a fleet of free-to-use vehicles are now available to tourists and locals alike.
An optimistic entrepreneur has brought 20 or so of the vehicles into town, and there’s like 150 different places to jump aboard around the city. The operation is newly up and running, and the taxis are scheduled to do their thing each and every day of the week.
Have you ever been to Hong Kong? If your answer is "yes," HIGH FIVE! If your answer is "not yet," then that's one place that should be moved toward the top of your list for 2012. We can't say enough good things about it, but perhaps one of the best is that, while the US is in the blustery throes of winter, Hong Kong is usually sitting pretty with 72-degree weather and sunshine.
And when that sun isn't shining, it's all about the dining and nightlife. the energy of which is captured by a new AFP time-lapse video, following a Hong Kong taxi driver on a typical graveyard shift.
Their YouTube settings don't allow for us to post it here, so you'll have to watch the brilliant video over at YouTube, but trust us that it's worth it. Just try to stay away from checking out flight deals to HKG after it.
iPhone Travel Apps / Free Stuff / Cairo Travel / Taxis / iPhone / Egypt Travel / Emergencies / → All Tags
This may be a long shot, but for those whom it touches, it could be a lifesaver:
The maker of one of our favorite favorite iPhone Travel Apps (Tokyo Teleport), is offering their newest app, Cairo Taxi Guide, for FREE right now in order to aid any foreigners in Egypt who are perhaps not so well-versed in Arabic.
The premise is simple; search a glossary of landmarks, museums, and really everything else in Cairo in order to discover how to say that you'd like to go there, in Arabic. The app provides clear taxi cards to show to your driver, so that you aren't literally just taken for a ride. They've also released similar Taxi Guide apps, priced between $5.99 and $9.99 each, for Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Baseball Travel / Baseball / Sports Travel / Delta / Taxis / Boats / → All Tags
Delta is sponsoring free rides to Mets and Yankees games this season, but they’re not doing it with their airplanes. The airline is teaming up with New York Water Taxi to offer complimentary transportation to Citi Field and Yankee Stadium for all home games. The Delta Baseball Water Taxi started this week, and it will run throughout the season.
The taxi leaves from Pier 11 at Wall Street at different times depending on when the games begins, and they even guarantee an on-time arrival 30 minutes before the opening pitch. However, that does mean you’ll probably miss batting practice. Baseball fans are welcome to overindulge on snacks and beer on the top deck of the taxi, and Delta is also stocking the boat with “Fly Ball” cocktails.
I've never taken a pedicab in my life, but it seems I'm in the minority, as the number of the pedal-powered bicycle taxis has risen dramatically since their introduction to New York in 1995. Pedicabs have become so popular, in fact, that they're now regulated by the city, which requires vehicles to be insured, inspected, and fitted with seat belts, headlights, and hydraulic brakes. A story in The New York Times explains that the new regulations legitimize an industry that began as something of a fringe group, attracting actors, artists, and various downtown weirdos to a unique profession that could net them up to $1,000 a week and help them stay skinny and hot.
It's one of the oldest airport debates: whether or not to suck it up and take a taxi into town, or risk public transportation. For us, it depends on how large our party is and how much baggage we're dragging, but taxis are just so darn tempting.
Thankfully, Virgin Atlantic knows this and echoes our sentiments when they say: "we think it's crazy that people often wait in line and then get one taxi each. Most people go from the airport in a similar direction, so it's a great waste." Hallelujah, go tell it on the mountain, Virgin Atlantic! And since they're a giant company and all, they've decided to do something about this shared taxi conundrum by creating Taxi2, a social networking way to link up with other from your flight and share a ride with them into the city, cutting down on ride cost and maybe even making you a new friend.
Oktoberfest / Taxis / Beer / → All Tags
The 2008 Oktoberfest in Munich finished up over the weekend, and one English man was extremely glad to be there. We're thinking he needs a few travel tips because to get to Munich from Portsmouth, England, he decided to catch a taxi.
To be fair, he did try to catch a plane first but missed his flight. Not wanting to miss the beer (and his buddy's buck's night), he persuaded a local cab driver to get him all the way to Munich for a fare of £1,700 (almost $3,000). And he paid in cash.
We're not recommending using this method of travel across Europe, but perhaps some of the European low-cost airlines could consider it as a back-up plan when their flights have some of those all-too-regular delays?
· No Taxi Ride Too Long to Keep Man From Friends, Beer [Deutsche Welle]
· Beer Travel: Bavarian Premier Says Drinking Heaps is OK [Jaunted]
· Oktoberfest coverage [Jaunted]