Thursday, August 30, 2012

Road Warrior: Tractor Edition

One of the things that people first notice when they come to rural Yunnan is the number of tractors that are clogging the roads. Tractors will be slowly chugging up hills with loads of gravel, bricks, people, crops, pigs, or anything else you can think of loaded inside them. They can go really slowly, so I get to feel really cool whenever I pass one on my bike. Most people around here are farmers, so tractors are really important.

While they can be frustrating when you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry and your bus is stuck behind one, they are pretty cool looking. Most have all their moving parts (including the engine) exposed, and they look like something out of a movie about a post-apocalyptic future. I went for a walk the other day to take pictures of tractors, and all of the following pictures are of tractors that I found on one short stretch of road. There are a much greater variety of tractors than these, and I still occasionally see new varieties of tractor.

This is the most popular kind of tractor on the roads around here. I'd estimate that 85% or so of tractors around here are this kind. 

When people are going to the field, or students are coming to school, they'll just all ride standing up in the back of one of these. 

This is the second most popular kind of tractor. It's more powerful and bigger, so you see these hauling bigger loads. 

This is my favorite kind of tractor. 

Another awesome tractor, clearly inferior to the last one because it doesn't have a sun roof. 

And yet another type of tractor! 

This isn't a tractor, but people drive these a lot too. They're three wheeled motorcycles (I want to call them tricycles, but that sounds weird) so you can put loads in the back. Most of the 'taxis' in the nearby big city are these, so you just hop in the back of one of these that's set up for people, and they'll take you wherever you want. 


  1. Great pictures! I admit, I see the word tractor, and think of farm tractors w/ whatever attachment the farmer needs for the particular task. I think you have properly identified your favorite tractor. It was mine too!

  2. Ha! 'Road Warrior-Tractor Edition'! Neat pictures--I'm wondering about the no hood thing--to reduce weight? Or whether they come that way from the factory? Having exposed moving belts doesn't seem like a good thing--although I suppose farmers are used to not falling into the machinery.

  3. That's just the way they come. I'm guessing it's so that people can mess with stuff easier / keep the engine cooler.

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