Forget walking tours and bus rides, if you want to see the world from a different perspective, you need to think outside the box. From submarines and steamboats to dogsleds and sidecars, Expedia has pulled together 15 ways to see the world that put the tour bus to shame.
1. Tokyo, Japan — Go-Karts
Ditch the taxi and take to the streets of Tokyo in a novelty go-kart. Mario Kart costumes are also optional, but highly recommended, as you hop behind the wheel of this speedy vehicle for a grand prix led by a guide or off on your own. This has to be one of the most fun ways to cruise past iconic sites such as Tokyo Tower and the Meiji Shrine.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands — Over the Edge Swing
Take your sightseeing over the edge with a visit to Amsterdam’s A’dam Lookout. From the 328-foot (100-m) height of the A’dam Tower, strap yourself into a swing for a thrilling ride over the city’s UNESCO-listed canals. Feel a rush of adrenaline wash over you as you swing back and forth over the edge of the tower’s roof, just remember to be brave enough to look down at the view!
3. Bangkok, Thailand — Tuk Tuk
There are thousands of tuk tuks in Thailand, and they’re what really sets the streets of Bangkok buzzing. First-time visitors will have the ride of their lives in this traditional doorless pedicab. With a local guide behind the wheel, zip through the busy streets, passing ancient temples, colorful markets, and gilded statues with the wind in your hair as zoom up to the summit of Golden Mount – just remember to hold on tight!
4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Camel Safari
Skip the traffic in Dubai and head straight out to the desert for a safari like no other. The UAE’s famous sand dunes stretch as far as the eye can see – and are best seen from atop a local camel. Spend a few hours wandering over copper-hued hills, and end your safari with a mouthwatering meal beneath the clear, starry sky.
5. Grand Canyon, Arizona — Covered Wagon and Helicopter
Anyone can hike through the Grand Canyon, how many people can say they’ve travelled back in time to journey through it in a horse-drawn wagon? Harking back to the main mode of transport for the region’s earliest settlers, the 19th-century vehicle pulls 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.
6. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii — Submarine
Go beneath the surface when you’re sightseeing in Hawaii – 100 feet (30m) beneath the surface to be exact. Off the coast of Maui, a high-tech submarine takes you on along the ocean floor, past colorful coral, spotted turtles, giant octopus, and schools of tropical fish. Get close to a sunken shipwreck that has turned into an artificial reef for many of the region’s smaller creatures.
7. 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, grab a seat in the far-out van for a fun ride to famous sites like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinatown. 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.
8. Paris, France — Motorcycle Sidecar
What better way to experience the sights and sounds of Paris than in a sidecar?! Soak up the atmosphere of bohemian neighborhoods like Montmartre, look right up to the very top of the Eiffel Tower, and feel the wind in your hair as you zip past the medieval architecture of the Latin Quarter on the side of a vintage motorcycle.
9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Cable Car
Nothing beats a birds eye view. Especially in somewhere like Rio de Janeiro, which boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking natural landscapes. That’s what makes the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain a must do. Soar over craggy cliffs to the height of 1,299 feet (396 m) in a glass capsule, arriving at the summit to look out upon sweeping vistas of sparkling Guanabara Bay and the city spread out beneath your feet.
10. New Orleans, Louisiana — Steamboat
History has never been so fun. Step aboard one of the last authentic steam-powered sternwheelers for an unforgettable ride down the Mississippi River and a history lesson that dates back to the early 1700s. The nostalgic Steamboat Natchez departs from the French Quarter in New Orleans, sailing away to the sounds of live jazz by the Dukes of Dixieland.
11. Sydney, Australia — Harbour Bridge Climb
While this mode of transportation is technically your own two feet, the experience itself is unlike anything else in the World. Scale the catwalks and ladders to the top of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Climbers are strapped into safety equipment at the south end of the bridge before setting off on an ascent to the best view in town. At the very top, 440 feet (134 m) high, all of Sydney Harbour stretches out before you.
12. Venice, Italy — Gondola
Like tuk tuks in Bangkok, gondolas are everywhere in Venice, but that doesn’t make them any less special or unique to visitors. Discover the charm of the City of Water as you ride along the canals in one of the famous flat-bottom boats, sailing under bridges that arch over hidden waterways and gliding by ancient churches and historic squares, and if you’re lucky, a troupe of local musicians will serenade you with Italian classics.
13. Fairbanks, Alaska — Dogsledding
No one wants to be cooped up inside a car when they’re exploring the wild backcountry of Fairbanks, Alaska. Just outside of Fairbanks, 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.
14. Zanzibar, Tanzania — Dhow Boat and Ngalawa Canoe
The traditional dhow boat, a sailing vessel with history dating back at least 1,400 years, is a great way to cruise Zanzibar’s Menai Bay. The masted boat gets the best of the breezes off the Indian Ocean, keeping you nice and close to the aquamarine waters. Keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins and tropical fish. Later, try your hand at manning another traditional vessel—a ngalawa canoe crafted from a mango tree.
15. 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.