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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Sleeper Bus

Once we crossed the border into China at Shenzhen, we took an overnight train to Guilin. The berths were clean and comfortable and we had a lovely trip. The next morning we took a local bus on to Yangshuo.

Here I am just after we boarded the train and had stowed our luggage.On the way home we decided it would be easier to catch a sleeper bus right in Yangshuo to avoid wrestling our mounds of luggage (all that shopping) onto a bus to Guilin and then onto the train there. Here is an example of a Chinese sleeper bus. Some of them are extremely comfortable but not this one.

The beds are really reclined seats with your feet fitting under the backrest of the seat in front of you. The only problem is that there is not enough room for your feet to be vertical. You have to decide on an angle that is comfortable (there is none) for your feet. There are three rows of beds with two aisles between them. I got the middle bed which turned out to be the worst one,in my opinion. They are very narrow and I felt like I'd fall out all night. Besides that, once the beds were all full, they proceeded to sell aisle space. By the time we left, the entire floor surface was filled with sleeping people. Once in awhile someone would get the urge to consult with the driver and make their way over everyone to the front. I was three seats back and that seemed to be a signal to climb over my feet to the driver's side.
About three hours into our trip, the bus pulled over to the side and waited for over an hour. Suddenly, there was a solid stream of bumper to bumper buses and trucks approaching and passing us, spewing out exhaust fumes, for at least half an hour. Then it was our turn to go. There was a couple of miles of only one lane of highway. The other half was under construction or just gone, I'm not sure which. The rest of the road was all twists, turns and huge potholes that had to be navigated at extremely slow speeds. That seemed bad enough until we hit the better roads and the driver wanted to make up for the time he had lost by the side of the road.
We finally made it to Shenzhen 15 hours later, just 3 hours longer than it took us to fly from Hong Kong to Vancouver to Winnipeg.


meggie said...

I am enjoying reading & seeing all your travels. The bus sounds rather sleepless!
My sister in law has just been asked to go to China, to show them how to grow roses. She would have to be there a month. She has Chinese in her ancestry, but she can't speak a word of it!

Katie said...

Oh the adventures of traveling via mass transit. :)

Lianne said...

we took the same sort of bus from yangshuo back down to shenzhen, and it was terrible. those little embroidered cushions that hadn't been washed.. perhaps ever. and if you get the last bunk, like we did, it's raised, so there's no space for your legs under the head of the person in front of you and the bed's very short indeed. And there was a pole in the middle of my brother's bunk. And it broke down 3 times on the way, and the air conditioning stopped working.

And the ear-splitting karaoke videos! Haha.

Oh well, it makes a good story now! :)