Southeast Asia is among the best tourist and vacation destinations. You can always get around with ease and at affordable prices using public transport. Most of the big cities are conveniently connected with buses, trains, tuk-tuks, and local airlines. Bus travel is a common means of transport in this part of the world.
It is easy to book a bus in Southeast Asia, and the costs are always affordable. Bookaway is a site that can help facilitate your bus booking and ensure you get the best services. This article discusses various issues concerned with bus booking in Southeast Asia.
Things to Know About Bus Transport as You Plan Your Booking
- There are a variety of buses ranging from rattling public buses to luxurious double-deckers. Some luxurious buses like those from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur may come with Wi-Fi.
- Different Asian countries have different rules when it comes to the booking of buses. Some countries will require that you make your bus booking in advance, especially if you are making a long journey. In others, you only need to flag a bus along the way, and it will stop to pick you.
- It is essential to keep warm during your journey. It is always freezing in many public buses, even in tropical countries. As such, many buses are air-conditioned. Blankets are provided, especially for night travels. However, you can always carry your sheets.
- If traveling to a place where the roads are bumpy, it’s advisable you get a seat in the middle of the bus.
- Most buses provide food and snacks along the journey. There are also roadside stops where you can buy the same. However, you can also bring along your food and snacks.
- Long journey buses often have squat toilets. However, it can be challenging at times to use them, especially if the road is bumpy. You can plan to make a run to the toilet during the short roadside stops.
- If you are using a local bus for your trip, it can, at times, be a challenge to know where to alert. This is especially so if you are using a bus that has very few tourists. It is always important to tell the driver or the assistant about your destination.
Categories of Buses You Can Book in Southeast Asia
- VIP Buses and Local Buses
Just like other parts of the world, buses in Southeast Asia vary in sizes and shapes. However, the major distinction is in terms of the VIP class and the local buses. Typically, VIP buses are only used to ferry tourists from one place to the other. For instance, Bangkok to Surat Thani is a popular route for VIP buses. They mostly use it to take tourists to the Thai islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
Generally, VIP buses are found in most of the Southeast Asia countries. They are especially more in those countries with a high concentration of backpackers.
Boarding a VIP bus is a bit more expensive than a local bus. However, VIP buses are loaded with tons of benefits, as stated below:
- There are very minimal delays when traveling on a VIP bus compared to a local bus. The route is usually more direct, with very few stopovers. Local buses take a lot of time along the way since they keep picking and dropping passengers at different destinations.
- VIP buses are safer to travel in compared to local buses. VIP drivers must adhere to certain laws that protect the tourists on board. Also, most of the companies that own VIP buses are very reputable. As such, they are very cautious about how they handle their clients for the sake of their reputation.
- The VIP buses are also fitted with an air-conditioned, movie screen, and some have WI-FI. Also, some bus companies will sometimes offer free snacks to their passengers.
It is easy to tell a VIP bus from a local bus. Mostly, their tickets’ price tag will tell it all.
- Night buses
Many people in Southeast Asia, especially backpackers, prefer to travel long distances by night buses. It’s a good idea since you won’t spend an entire day touring and also, there is no worry about night’s accommodation. However, this depends on an individual.
Generally, night buses in Southeast Asia are very safe. Also, most of them have reclined seats to enhance more comfort. In Vietnam, the seats of night buses can be reclined in such a way that they become actual beds. The only challenge with these buses is that they hoot very loudly. To avoid staying awake all night, carry earplugs or headphones, and play sleep-soothing music.
There are usually some cases of theft on overnight buses. Therefore, it is good to be cautious with your belongings. Never put valuables in a suitcase that is kept in the hold. Also, keep your phone or any gadget well in case you fall asleep.
- Vietnamese Open Bus Tickets
Open bus tickets allow you to travel across Vietnam. For instance, you can purchase an open bus ticket from maybe Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. With the open ticket, you can get on and off the bus as you please. You can also stay in each destination as long as you wish.
- Chicken Buses Especially in Indonesia
The name chicken bus was adopted since you can find a lot of chicken cages on board. The transport system in Indonesia is somewhat unpredictable.
What to Consider When Making Booking
- Online booking of buses is becoming popular nowadays because;
- You get a wide variety of bus types to choose from and the specific seat you want
- They usually come with great offers on booking
- Online booking offers friendly customer care 24/7
- There are varieties of bus companies competing for your money in exchange for a ticket. As such, it’s good to compare prices of different travelers to avoid paying much.
- For international travels, ensure you have all the visa requirements of the country you intend to visit. In some cases, you may be required to arrange land-crossing visas beforehand.
- As you make your long-distance bus booking, it is recommendable to do it a day before. Ensure that you keep the receipt and the ticket safely.
In conclusion, booking a bus for your vacation in Southeast Asia should not be a nightmare.