Overnight sleeper buses are not as uncomfortable as you might think. Sure, they might not give you the best night of sleep – but they offer a couple of other advantages.
First of all, they will save you from having to spend money on accommodation that night which is great if you are on a tight travel budget. Plus, you will accomplish the task of getting where you need to go without having to waste a precious sightseeing day in transit.
While we were in India we took several sleeper buses between the destinations we visited. They were a very affordable way to get around and they were surprisingly comfortable. Read on to find out about what to expect from this mode of transport.
Finding Out Information About Buses in India
Arranging travel in India is not always straightforward and sometimes it can be a hassle to book hotels, hire tuk tuks and buy bus tickets. However, booking sleeper buses isn’t as difficult as you might think. Lee found an app that makes things pretty straightforward – so that’s one less thing to worry about while dealing with the beautiful chaos of India.
The RedBus app lets you see which buses are leaving from where, making it easy to plan your journey. You can see the times, prices, class of bus, drop off/pick up points and how full they are. The only trouble is you cannot book without an Indian bank card. However, the app will tell you the travel company who runs the service. Most hotels and travel agents will book these buses for you while adding on a little commission (Usually around 50-100 rupees per ticket).
Your Sleeper Cabin
When you get onto the bus, take a look at your ticket to find out which sleeper cabin you are assigned to. The buses are set up with the sleeper cabins above the normal seats, so you will need to climb up the little ladder to get into your enclosed sleeping pod. It’s a bit like sleeping in the top of a bunk bed, but with glass partitions and curtains. There are single bunks on one side, or bunks for two people on the other side.
It’s easier to throw your carry on luggage up there first, rather than trying to climb the ladder while carrying it. When you are in your little sleeping pod you will have enough room to lie down – Lee is 6 feet tall and he was still pretty comfortable. There is a pillow at one end and a little shelf for your belongings at the other end. There is no lock on your pod, so if you get out at a rest stop make sure you bring your valuables with you.
Some pods have air conditioning (and cost a little more of course) and some don’t. In the daytime, the pods without air conditioning reach oven-like temperatures. Imagine the Indian sunshine beating down on a small metal and glass box – we were drenched in sweat within moments of boarding. Your only hope is to wait until the bus starts moving and open the window to get a glorious refreshing breeze blowing through as you speed down the highway.
Once the bus is rolling you can just chill out, get some work done, read a book, chat with your travel buddy or get some sleep. No matter how much I travel, I still love the thrill of falling asleep on a bus and waking up somewhere new.
Have you been on a sleeper bus in India? Do you like overnight buses? Let us know in the comments below.