You see these everywhere where there is water in Southeast Asia. People can fill it or its space can be filled with cargo. We’re talking about the longtail boat here. And you will not see a more common vehicle in the waters of Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asian longtail boat comes in various shapes and sizes. But they all share certain characteristics. The engine is mounted on its inboard turret-like pole. This is used for navigation and can rotate 180 degrees. The propeller is mounted directly on the driveshaft and there are also no gears involved. The driveshaft must be extended by several meters of metal rod to properly position the propeller, giving the boat its name and distinct appearance. In order to make a stop, the driver simply lifts the pole up so the propeller does not hit the water.
You also can’t help but notice its tail (hence the name longtail boat). This is actually the control lever. Because of this, the boat driver controls the boat’s direction from the rear of the vehicle. He basically steers it left or right to have the boat move towards those directions. Simple, huh?
You may end up hopping in one of these iconic vehicles during your time on Southeast Asia. Whether you need a transfer to an island, between destinations on a river or for simple site seeing, you can always count on these boats to be there to take you where you need to go.
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