Bus travel is the cheapest way to get around in any Asian country and China makes no exception. China is a large distance and using the buses to get from one point to another means you’ll be spending quite a lot of time riding them. Actually, buses are mostly used for long distance traveling.
Unfortunately, traveling by bus is China is also the most dangerous way to get around. Among crazy drivers and pot holes, you’ll probably be praying for your life a couple of times along the way.
However, buses go where trains don’t (so you really don’t get a choice for another means of transportation for certain routes) or the trains are so crowded , you cannot even get throw a needle in the car.
Depending on how much you enjoy bus travel, you are in for anything ranging from moderately uncomfortable to the worst journey of your life. The latter is valid for the trips in rural China, where you can expect crowded buses, smokers and flying through the air if you are unlucky to be in the back of the bus.
Getting to tickets and seats
Tickets must be booked in advanced and you’ll be assigned a seat, if you buy it from a large station. The choices are: soft seat and soft seat sleeper. Depending on the distance you need to travel, choose the right seat for you. In small bus stations, you can buy the ticket directly from the driver.
If you have enough money, luxury coaches are good options. They come with AC, TV, toilet and snacks. For many of us, this is heaven (ladies know best, ahem!). Pay attention that coaches are a more expensive form of transportation than trains.
Those which don’t have a toilet, make stops along the way. Take absolutely everything with you when you get off and pay attention to when the driver plans to leave. It’s not as if they stop to count the passengers.
The Only Independent Travel Network
Dragon Bus China operates a network of buses across most of the country. It is the well known “Jump On & Off” style so you can stay in cities longer than initially planned and then continue with your journey. The four day travel pass costs US$329.00 and there are several tour options.