A rather uncomfortable bus journey

Shenzhen Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 20 › view all entries

I shouldn't really hype this too much; I've heard tales of much worse journeys from fellow travellers - different league really. But this was one of our worse journeys of our year away.

We'd bought a ticket for the overnight bus from Yangshuo to Shenzhen, from where we could transfer to Hong Kong. I think that we could have got a better price for the tickets if we'd shopped around, but we just bought them through our guest house.

The bus turned up approximately on time. The arrangement inside was a little unexpected: there were three rows of beds separated by two aisles. Each row was double decker. We both had bottom bunks, and I had a window, so that was pretty good. You lie with your feet pointing forwards and your head towards the back of the bus.

The slight problem was that the beds were a bit short, and that your feet were under the head of the person in front. This was achieved by the head end of the bed curving upwards in a completely unnatural shape, which meant that it was quite uncormfortable to lie on. This was made worse by the fact that I couldn't lie flat because I had to curl my legs up to fit in. There was a Dutch guy a few rows back who was quite a bit taller than me, so he must have had fun.

The bus was fitted with a TV, which seemed to be showing a movie consisting entirely of machine gun fire, which went on for hours at full volume. This made it rather hard to get to sleep. This did eventually stop, and we could try to get some sleep.

The next thing to asail us was the state of the road. Having got on a posh bus, we were guaranteed that it would use the modern toll road, and thereby avoid the poorly maintained country roads. Sadly the modern toll road was incredibly ridgy, so that the bus rattled up and down as it flew along. Eventually, in spite of this, I managed to get to sleep for a couple of hours.

I woke up at around 5am to find that the bus was stopped and not going anywhere. It turned out that we were stuck in a traffic jam, in which we were to remain for the next four hours. Eventually the bus crossed onto the other side of the road and we drove alongside an enormous queue of lorries, at least a couple of miles long, before reaching the front of the queue where there was no apparent obstruction at all. Very frustrating.

On arrival at the Shenzhen border we had to get off the bus to show our passports. However, one local woman who was travelling on the bus instead headed to the back of the bus where she hid. The bus drove through the border and we reboarded it, and headed off into Shenzhen with our stowaway.

Once in Shenzhen it appeared that the driver and his various assistants didn't really know where they were going. In the end they dropped us off in a random car park and gave us vague direction to walk to Hong Kong, which turned out to be only about a 10 minute walk.

At the Hong Kong border we bumped into an English couple we'd met in Yangshuo. They'd been pickpocketed between the bus and the border, so we considered ourselves lucky to have avoided that.

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photo by: darlingwish