Types of Traditional Boating Tours Around the World
Traditional Boat Tours in the UK:
In Cambridge punting is the top rated activity to do whilst visiting this historic city, with the punt being known as the traditional Cambridge boat (with close second being the rowing boat). The original flat bottomed wooden punt was once used as a cargo boat, transporting goods around the fenlands, however today they are used to transport customers through the College Backs on a round trip exploring the University of Cambridge.
We, the Traditional Punting Company, provide a fifty minute chauffeured punt tour, seeing the backs of 7 different colleges and 9 different bridges. With tours to suit every budget and group size you can book the experience that is right for you and even include additional extra’s like a picnic or flowers to elevate your time on the river. With a highly-trained chauffeur on the till pushing you along the River Cam, you’ll experience the most iconic sights of Cambridge on a relaxing journey learning about the history of the city and its world-famous University. In summary punting in Cambridge is a must do activity when visiting the city or even the UK for that matter, with Cambridge being surrounded by water, tourists can go see the best views of the city, from a unique perspective.
So why not come and join us on the river on the most traditional Cambridge boat to explore some of Cambridge’s most beautiful, historical and iconic sights the city has to offer. It is also the best place for taking selfies whilst admiring the breath-taking scenery.
Traditional boat tours in Europe:
The traditional gondolas in Venice are similar to our punts in Cambridge, being flat-bottomed boats. But there is one big difference between our punts and Venetian gondolas, and that is gondolas are rowing boats. So, instead of using the pole at the back of the boat and propelling people along the water the Venetian chauffeur, a gondolier, uses a rowing oar to row or scully the boat along.
Originally gondolas were used as a major means of transportation around Venice. They were also used as passenger boats, known as traghetti, to transport people across the Grand Canal. Another similarity between our punts and Venice’s gondolas is that we both have a punt race! Our last punt race was in 2019, and was potentially slightly less dignified than the regatta in Venice…
Gondola rides are now a major tourist attraction in Venice, and like in Cambridge, they are a wonderful way to explore the city and learn about its history.
Traditional Boat Tours in Asia:
In Thailand they also have similar boats to punts, and these are the Thai long boats, known as Ruang Hang Yao. Ruang Hang Yao are a common boat in South East Asia and are used to transport people through the narrow waterways.
However a large difference between traditional punts and gondolas vs ruang hang yao is that ruang hang yao have a motor that propels them, instead of just a chauffeur or a gondolier.
The engine itself is mounted on an inboard, turret-like, pole which is able to rotate 180° which allows steering due to thrusting velocity. There is then a propeller that is mounted directly onto the driveshaft, but there is no additional gearing.
The inboard nature of the engines position means that the engine is kept dry, despite being so close to the water and the ruang hang yao are able to function with ease.
The design of each ruang hang yao is also unique to each boat or family. No specific designs are written down. Instead designs are passed down from father to son, allowing each ruang hang yao to have their own unique identifiers. Whilst most have a similar basic shape each family puts their own spin on these special boats that provide their livelihoods. This is a large contrast to the traditional production of punts and gondolas. These have both been kept the same for centuries, following specific instructions to produce each one.
So, we can conclude that punting, or at least versions of it, are an international tradition, with each country putting their own spin on guiding tourists through their waters using manpower!
Join us at the Traditional Punting Company and see it for yourself.
Posted on March 6th, 2022, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor