How to cope with coach and bus journeys in SE Asia

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How to cope with coach and bus journeys in SE Asia

Updated 2 years, 4 months ago

The roads throughout South East Asia are notoriously bumpy (especially Vietnamese roads), they vary considerably in levels of comfort and often make you fear for your life.

However, they are consistently the cheapest form of transport, often actually quicker than the trains as they don’t stop regularly and so far we haven’t had any major issues with them (touch wood!).

This being said, there are a number of ways to make some of these mammoth bus journeys more entertaining, comfortable and hassle-free.

Book with a legitimate local Travel Agency

Communication is key when booking these long-haul journeys so be sure to iron out all of the transfer details with the agent prior to payment. It seems simple but you’d be surprised to hear how many people have told us there was a level of ambiguity to  their conversation with the bus driver and they ended up getting stranded with a group of circling Tuk Tuk drivers ready to capitalize.

Make sure the travel agent seems genuine and well-informed, as well as confirming there are no stops, delays or changes along the way!

Introduce yourself to your neighbours early in the journey

It helps to do this early dorrs as they may have some useful advice, funny stories to share and can help to combat every traveller’s battle with chronic boredom as they stare out of the coach window blankly.

This also helps to establish an air of good will, which is handy especially if you are conscious of your belongings in these sometimes backed buses, like we are.

Additionally, this prevents any awkwardness later in the journey if you need to squeeze past or start wondering whether you’ve waited just that little bit too late to make that extroverted leap into conversation.

VIP buses are your friend

Now these often only cost you an extra $2 from the kitty, so in some instances they’re a bit of a no-brainer. If you’re chuntering along for a good 6 hours or more the free Wifi and marginally more comfortable seating are a god-send.

As long as you remember to charge your phone/laptop up before  you go (they don’t have plugs) you can work, play or snapchat photos of questionable pictures of yourself to your heart’s content. Also, crucially you could use nthis time to scout out your plan or action for the next destination you’ll be visiting.

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