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Oh the joys of backpacking are all coming rushing back to me now. So I left Chengdu to head to Juizhaigou to check out its UNESCO national park. A simple 8 hour bus journey they said, no worries. Hmmm….


I went to the bus station at 7.30am and got my ticket, no probs, it left at 8.15 which in China means it was very, very punctual. Nothing out of the ordinary just yet.


Suddenly the bus worker started placing small buckets in the aisle in between every other seat, wow that’s very conscientious, maybe China are getting their act together with all their rubbish. Or.. maybe not. Withing 5 minutes of these strategically placed buckets, old woman, old men, teenagers and kids were hacking up the darkets, deepest saliva imaginable and spitting every 30 seconds into these bloody buckets, right at my feet. Lovely. This went on for the entire duration of the (supposedly) 8 hour journey.


After about 4 hours, we got out for lunch, nature called so off I went in search of a toilet. An old guy who looked like a sort of cross between Gandalph and Smegle demanded some money for the toilet, I was happy to pay assuming that the toilet must be pretty decent if I’m having to pay for it. How wrong can I be. I ‘ll let the picture do the talking for this one:

horrible chinese toilet

Back on the bus, only 4 hours to go, we should be there by 4pm. After about an hour we were climbing a steep mountain and the traffic stopped to a complete standstill. I waited for around 20 minutes before getting curious, trucks were backed up as far as the eye could see. I had to check it out. A crazy Chinese truck driver didn’t want to let the other guy coming the other direction to go first apparently, so he carried on, had to sway out of the way and toppled his entire articulated lorry, spilling his cargo and his truck across the narrow mountain track. Wonderful. Cue some ridiculous Chinese logic, 90 minutes of manic ‘organisation’ and finally we’re off again.

chinese car crash

We stopped another 30 minutes down the road to the some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen in China and while the bus driver was going mental at me for holding up the bus, I managed to hop on a farmers yak for a quick snap. The only saving grace from my journey! Check out this pic!

sitting on a yak
Me perched on a yak, naturally

The spit buckets were filling up which was far from ideal, but the old Tibetan lady sitting beside me decided to take things a little further and started throwing up violently into (and very much around) the bucket at my feet. This carried on until the end of the journey… which should have ended at 4pm. We finally rolled in around 7.45pm. The joys of travel! 😛

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15 thoughts on “The Joy of my 8 Hour Bus in China

  1. Pingback: Backpacking in Jiuzhaigou National Park, China | One Step 4Ward
  2. Definitely understand the madness of this bus ride. We were heading back to Chengdu one morning from Juizhaigoe because we had a flight to Nanjing that same evening (around 8 PM). We leave the bus station about 30 minutes late from schedule departure, which I later found out isn’t that bad for Chinese standards. 4 hours into the bus ride, we stop at a random location for about another half an hour. At first we thought there was something wrong with the bus but we later find out that the driver just wanted to take a smoke break. Other passengers literally get into an argument with the driver until he obliges. We ended up barely making our flight time only to find out we were a bit early due to the fact that the flight was delayed for 3 hours. From that point, anytime something went wrong we didn’t stress and said to ourselves “yup China just happened.”

  3. If this is done like a routine in a bus, it shows that most people in Chengdu are infected! If some of their germs are airborn and get into the air ( hughly possible in a moving windy bas), then all passengers ,..arg! Better to get antibiotic tablets asap.

  4. Good story! Yep. Toilets in China are awful everywhere! After reading this I’m not so sure anymore, if I should ever do a long busride in China. Train rides in contrast to that are really cool and not that scary. 🙂

  5. Bravo Johnny! Well ive seen those toilets before but still not used to it but with those buckets all the way?!?!? I could get sick! THis is so funny 😀

    Happy journey!

  6. Haha. I seem to remember some astonishingly similiar mountain pass antics in China. As soon as the road narrows to a single line it becomes a mind game of immense strategy for every man with a vehicle.

    I heard a lot about the spitting before I went there but never really saw it in my 2 months. That said, I think they might well have been a bit taken aback at what a foreigner could do after a month of Chinese city air.

    1. we saw a few crashes too, all scary stuff. The spitting is something that no matter how long i stay here, i dont think i’ll ever get used to!

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