I’ve only been in Asia for 6 weeks, and already I’ve taken a number of long bus rides. During my trip from Singapore into Malaysia, I learnt that I needed to be a little more prepared for my journey.
So now when I get on a bus, I always take on board a few essential items ..
1. A hoodie or a long sleeved top
Although its about 33 degrees Celsius outside, the air conditioner on buses are set on two settings, very cold and freezing. When travelling to Singapore in a light vest top and pair of leggings I felt like I was sitting outside in the middle of winter. So now I always bring an extra layer.
2. A sleeping bag liner
I have a cotton sleeping bag liner, which does take up more room in my rucksack, but I love taking it with me to cuddle myself up in on overnight bus rides, as they don’t provide a blanket. It gives me extra warmth and I do tend to sleep better.
After several noisy bus rides, with many people that snore, earplugs have become one of my essential items. I bought my silicone earplugs from Kathmandu in New Zealand and they work really well.
So even if you’re on a bus journey during the day, after spending time talking to your bus mates and fellow Travellers, you can soon run out of conversation, especially after 9 hours, so I often pack my iPod to listen to music or an audiobook on the go.
5. Snacks and water
As a general rule of thumb, buses seem to stop every two to three hours, and they’ll stop at a roadside café area, were there will be toilets (you are usually charged 50 cents or so) and somewhere you can buy food. However, I find that the prices in these places tend to be inflated somewhat, due to the number of people passing through, and they know they’ll get the money. I often try and stock up on healthy snacks to take with me. Though after a 14 hour bus ride in Borneo, I did grab some fried noodles at 6am for breakfast at one of the stalls.
I’ll be travelling overland from now until October, with the exception of a flight between Singapore and Indonesia, so I’m sure I’ll continue to develop a bigger list of essential bus ride items.