Chinese Sleeper Bus 🚐 What Do I Need To Know

China Sleeper Bus – Your Complete Go-To Guide

Travel in China can range from low-cost to luxury. You can find yourself on a high-speed rail, or enjoying the views from your soft-sleeper cabin with hot food and a cup of tea. Or you can find yourself on the China sleeper bus!

The Chinese Sleeper Bus - Be Prepared
The Chinese Sleeper Bus – Be Prepared

You might find yourself eating crisps for dinner whilst crammed onto a long-distance bus journey desperately in need of the toilet.

For those traveling on a budget or buying last-minute tickets, the overnight sleeper bus is often the best option if you are a traveler keeping the purse strings tight.

The Sleeper bus, otherwise known as a ‘Nightliner’ in the West, isn’t common throughout the whole of China.

You will often find sleeper buses mainly in the South of China, and, aside from being great for budget travel in China, can actually be a really fun way of traveling throughout the Middle Kingdom.

Just the thought of spending the night led down on an unstable Chinese nightliner bus may be the stuff of nightmares even for the most hardy travel veterans.

So, how can you get through the 8hrs+ and arrive fit and healthy on the other side? You may be surprised to find you might even enjoy it!

China Sleeper Bus – Why Take It?

China Sleeper Bus – What To Expect

China Sleeper Bus – How To Survive

China Sleeper Bus – Arriving

China Sleeper Bus – FAQ’s

Why Take the Sleeper Bus?

Buses range in price depending on distance, but it will almost always cut the train ticket price at least in half.

Travel China on the Sleeper Bus
Travel China on the Sleeper Bus

This means it’s perfect for late minute trips for a skimpy traveller.

The sound of being on a night bus for around 10 hours in any country does not sound perfect, let alone China.

However, the sleeper bus may surprisingly be one of the more pleasant bus experiences you’ll have.

It’s something different, and certainly allows for an interesting story afterwards!

What to Expect

China bus guides can be difficult to find at the best of times.

The internet is not your best friend when it comes to looking up China travel guides, bus, or train times.

So best thing to do is to “old-fashion it” and go to the nearest train or bus station to check out the times and availability of your night-liner sleeper bus.

The sleeper bus is no wider or longer than a normal bus, yet it’s Mary Poppins-style design somehow allows for three columns of beds to be placed alongside each other.

Exploring and discovering China
Exploring and discovering China

There is around 5/6 rows of bunk beds as well as pathways down the side allowing for movement.

This means there can be around 40 people per bus.

The key aspect in this is that there are indeed beds..!

No slumming it by sitting on a hard seat for 10 hours.

Not only do you get an area to lie down in, you also get a mattress, pillow, and duvet cover.

There is even room for your personal belongings at the end of the bed.

If you’re lucky and the bus isn’t full, you can even pile your luggage onto the bed next to you.

The beds may, admittedly, be made for smaller Chinese people, but things could be a lot worse.

They will usually be fitted with air conditioning in the summer and are kitted out with curtains helping you get a good sleep.

Expect to be the only westerner on the bus, since this is definitely more of a local way to travel. Passengers will generally be respectful that everyone wants to sleep so the bus stays fairly quiet. Make sure not to make too much noise yourself!

The buses are surprisingly clean, partially due to the no-shoe policy.

Take off your shoes before entering the bus and put them in a plastic bag (provided).

Don’t forget this every time you leave and enter the bus again, or risk an angry Chinese man shouting at you!

Chinese Sleeper Train 🚃 What Do I Need To Know (in 2022) Thumbnail

Chinese Sleeper Train 🚃 What Do I Need To Know (in 2022)

Traversing China on by train? Should I go soft sleeper, on the Chinese sleeper train or go for a hard seat? Should I take the fast train?

How to Survive The China Sleeper Bus?

IMPORTANT – In order to prepare for the sleeper bus, the first thing to remember is that there is no toilet on board.

The bus will stop at various points along the journey to allow for toilet breaks, but you shouldn’t rely on that.

Guangxi Province: Rock climbing in Yangshuo
Guangxi Province: Rock climbing

It’s important to make sure you have enough water for your journey, but it’s a good idea to stay away from caffeine and fizzy drinks for your journey.

Remember to bring yourself some snacks for food in the evening, and also breakfast when you wake up.

If you’re lucky, the bus will make a stop off at a supermarket or convenience shop.

If you suffer from travel sickness bring the necessary medication you need.

Generally, travel sickness shouldn’t affect you as much as it usually does, especially if you can make sure you shut the blinds, get comfortable, and get to sleep early on.

You don’t want to be stuck on a Chinese bus without a toilet all night throwing up, so take any precautions you usually do before traveling. Maybe some sleeping pills too..!

(And yes, that’s true – Chinese nightliner sleeper buses do NOT have toilets on board.)

In case you don’t plan to sleep so much, bringing some form of entertainment is also a good idea.

This can include books, laptops, music etc.

Other things you should include are anything you usually need for plane travel, such as wet wipes to freshen up, an eye mask for sleeping, and earplugs to block out any traffic or snorers!

Arriving at Your Destination

You are able to get off the bus at any point along the journey.

Carry the address of your destination with you and show the bus driver at the start so he knows. It is also a good idea to pay him a visit in the morning to check he’s remembered.

Gather your stuff together, do a triple check, and wait for the driver of your nightliner sleeper bus to call your stop!

They’re usually pretty good with letting you know where you should be getting off.

Most people traveling China – especially traveling on a budget – will have been on or at least heard of a sleeper train, but sleeper buses are a bit more unique.

It’s definitely one to try if you want to do something a bit different!

Have you ever taken a China Sleeper Bus before? What was your experience, did you enjoy it or was it your idea of hell!?

China Sleeper Bus – FAQ’s

How can I book a China sleeper bus ticket?

So best thing to do is to “old-fashion it” and go to the nearest train or bus station to check out the times and availability of your night-liner sleeper bus.

Are sleeper buses bigger than a normal sized bus?

The sleeper bus is no wider or longer than a normal bus, yet it’s Mary Poppins-style design somehow allows for three columns of beds to be placed alongside each other.

Are there toilets on the sleeper bus?

IMPORTANT – In order to prepare for the sleeper bus, the first thing to remember is that there is no toilet on board.

What are things I should pack on the sleeper bus?

Other things you should include are anything you usually need for plane travel, such as wet wipes to freshen up, an eye mask for sleeping, and earplugs to block out any traffic or snorers!

Is there Air-Conditioning on the China sleeper bus?

Generally yes. They will usually be fitted with air conditioning in the summer and are kitted out with curtains helping you get a good sleep.

Can I wear my shoes on the sleeper bus?

No. There is a no shoes policy upon entering.

Don’t forget this every time you leave and enter the bus again, or risk an angry Chinese man shouting at you!

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    Alexander Krasnov , Student Advisor

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