What Mum Didn’t Tell You About Traveling By Bus In China

I am writing this right in the middle of the journey. 11:30 today we got on a bus from Chengdu to Xiamen. The traveling time is suppose to be 26 hours, but as with most things in China, I will remain skeptic until I see the mission accomplished. The distance by the way, is around 1000 Miles, or 1600 Km. The price of the ticket is 500 RMB.

My preferred choice of travel is by Air, however after missing our flight this morning, this is now actually the fastest way for us to get back.

The bus, which does have, what appears to be a Greyhound logo on the side of it, or something similar, is not the Greyhound you are thinking of. It is similar in size as to a normal bus but on the inside it is a whole other experience. It very cool, rebuilt for long distance traveling. There are 3 double rows of beds, one on each side with one in the middle. There are 36 beds in total.

Before I was getting on the bus today, my wife tried to explain the setup to me, but she actually made it sounds worse then it really is. The beds, or bunks are small but comfortable. Each one suitable for an slightly above normal size Chinese person, so I am doing ok. Each bed has linen and a cover, last wash date is unknown. The shape of the beds are something like a lounge chair and therefore any additional need for a pillow is unnecessary.

We just had our first stop after about 7 hours. The setup was like a run down high school cafeteria from the 60s. There was a place you could get some food and some other snack-like things I would not be able to name even if I tried.

Foreigners are not common here and I had a group come up and ask me for photos and some handshakes. A couple of ladies from the bus noticed us and once we got back on the bus they moved a couple of beds closer to the front where we were. I guess it will be something to tell their friends later.

My wife and I have the 2 out of the 3 beds towards the front on the upper level, looking down at the driver and with a great view.

The best part have been the scenery and the comfortable beds. I have slept about 15 hours and according to my wife these buses are hardly ever full, so if you want to move around and try another bed to be more comfortable, you must likely can.

The drivers, which by the way were 3 guys taking turns, were nice and polite and during our last stop they invited us for lunch. During this, what turned out to be 28 hour, instead of 26 hour journey there were 3 stops. The bathroom on board the bus was in decent shape. Chinese descent that is. All in all this was an interesting, in a good way, experience.