Overnight Bus in China: To Dongguan

In which I take my first ever overnight bus in China

I had a last few days of “freedom” before a busy summer schedule, so I decided to pop 12 hours down the road to Dongguan to visit Agness and Cez, whom I last saw in Guilin at the end of April. We also had some final book stuff to go through – hopefully it will be done soon so keep your ears out for the announcement!

I took my first ever overnight bus in China to get to Dongguan. It all started a few weeks ago when Paul and I headed to Xiamen and I saw the Dongguan bus. overnight bus in china zhangzhou to dongguan

“I’m going to take that to visit Agness and Cez” was the thought that went through my head at the time. And I did. I was really surprised at the bus, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, there was even a toilet on the bus!

You have to take your shoes off on entry to the bus, but they leave you handy bags to put them in. I was on the lower bunk at first, but got moved…the guys running the bus wereย รผber nice to me after that, putting my extra bag in safe place after they’d caused me trouble!

The top bunk wasn’t so bad. Most of the berths had little cubby holes to put things safely in. Mine didn’t but I managed to get comfy, even though the bed was that little bit short. We had a pillow and quilt – the air conditioning was so good that the quilt was surprisingly welcome!

Sleep-wise, I actually managed some, which is unheard of for me on public transport. I put it down to my awesome, noise-cancelling headphones I bought in New Zealand and also the fact that at about 2am, we stopped for a couple of hours, presumably for the drivers to get some kip too.

overnight bus in China to dongguan

Click the picture to like it on Facebook (right click to open in new window and still see my beautiful post!) and put me in with a chance of winning a trip to Iceland’s Bus Hostel!

The return journey was just as easy, although buying my ticket (which cost 250RMB from Zhangzhou to Dongguan) I was confused as Dongguan to Zhangzhou was 200RMB… Weird Chinese government thing I’m sure.

dongguan bus station

Dongguan bus station – huge!

I’d definitely consider doing an overnight bus in China again, although on my own I think 12 hours is a limit. Not sure they go over that amount of time, but I don’t really have the time to find out now, with only 53 days of work left ahead of me!

overnight bus in China to zhangzhou

Top bunk on the return journey

Have you ever been on an overnight bus in China, or another country? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it, good or bad!

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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17 Comments

  1. I’ve been on day trips on Chinese buses before but never overnight.

    It looks comfy with all those beds, am not sure how well I would sleep on it though.

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    • It was more comfortable than I was expecting at least and I got a surprising amount of sleep in – maybe I was just really tired though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. Ha! Who knew there were buses with bunk beds? What a quirky way to travel!
    I’ve taken overnight trains before, which had beds. And while I’ve taken very, very long bus rides, never with a bed.

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    • Yeah, I love overnight trains (China and Malaysia) and I’ve always said I wanted to take a bus for the experience too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Wow, this bus looks so comfy! It seems that taking overnight buses in China is much less painful than in Europe!

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    • I’ve not taken an overnight bus in Europe – is it bad?

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  4. I took one overnight bus in Thailand from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mia and it was HORRIBLE! We just had reclining seats and when I got on the girl in front of me was passed out in her completely reclined chair and I could hardly squeeze into my space. But the overnight bus in Laos from Luang Prabang to Vientiane was very pleasant.

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    • I am sure there are horrible ones out there. That would be my worst nightmare at 5’11. Hate it when people do it on short flights, let alone a longer journey! I’m afraid to say I make up for it by being really annoying and kicking/hitting it loads on purpose…whoops!

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  5. I am so fascinated with the beds! Kinds like the Night Bus on Harry Potter, but even more comfortable! Were there many women traveling alone?

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    • I was disappointed the bus wasn’t purple on the outside…! There were women on board, most of them travelling with small children actually. Not sure about the rest though.

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  6. I’ve never been on an overnight bus or anything other than an overnight flight. I can always sleep pretty well when traveling though, so I don’t think sleep would be a problem for me. The bus doesn’t look too bad! Definitely not what I would have expected though–the beds and the set up look interesting!

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    • I can’t sleep on plane – most ever was 4/5 hours on a flight from Guangzhou to Auckland last year but only because the flight left at 00:30 my time!
      Beds were much better than economy class seats though ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  7. I’ve never been on one, but I’m looking forward to trying them out once I leave for my RTW travels. I’m actually looking forward to trying all kinds of new transportation out. I love the idea of going to sleep and waking up at my destination.

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    • Experience as many different transports as you can, the good and the bad! Sleeping on transport and waking up at your destination is a great way to save transport/accommodation costs too.

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  8. Hahaha I just left China in June after about 3 years so I know the situation here and I applaud your bravery. I was on an overnight bus in Indonesia from Yogyakarta to Bali and it was a disaster. We splurged on the air con bus for USD 25, but little did we know it became a free public bus once the paid members were on board. There were stops every 3 minutes for any random person on the road and there were people jammed on the bus. Miserable but I liken it to a bus in China really, so I feel your pain ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • You see, this bus wasn’t a pain! There were a load of people trying to get on the bus and I did get moved but after that the drivers and that looked after me really well as I was totally going to be the only foreigner for both journeys. More than happy to do it again though, although I do draw the line at 12 hours/overnight alone!

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