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Is there a way to enjoy public transport on your daily commute?
Public transport couldn’t be more exciting because it’s the best platform for people watching.
There’s no better way to get a real insight into local life than travelling alongside a monk on a ferry in Thailand, sitting next to a local family on a bus in Old Delhi or sharing a meal with locals aboard a sleeper train headed for Hanoi.
Getting from one place to another can often be a slow process at home, waiting in line for a bus, or queuing for a delayed train, but there is another form of slow travel that will have you jumping aboard the next slow departure, would you believe?
Laos is home to part of the mighty Mekong River and getting from place to place, when you have some time to kill which is a luxury, can be tough. I think there is only one way to travel: via slow boat. Cruising down the river for hours on end watching a traditional life pass you by and stopping to spend the night with a local family, what better way to travel? The scenery on the Mekong is incredibly picturesque and travelling with a small group makes it ideal, in case you do get a little bit fidgeting for an hour or two. We all moan about slow public transport, but this one, well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.
On the bus to the airport for my first trip away, I asked myself, can public transport be enjoyable and so I went in search of the answer. And, it’s a yes!
On my first night in Bangkok, I found myself sharing some Pad Thai with two local girls aboard the sleeper train towards Chiang Mai and although the language barrier was a problem, it was a fascinating, real life experience that I won’t forget. Backpackers, locals, businessmen and families all huddled around small, shabby tables mixing together and I felt instantly part of the community. Not to mention the sleeping arrangements, which were by far the most exciting! Rows and rows of bunk beds lined the main carriages; there was definitely no room for animosity on this train!
I thought I had seen it all until I arrived in Old Delhi India, and took the local bus towards the spice market. A local family sat down to share a picnic on the bus floor with a child they had just met on the bus; I couldn’t understand their conversation, but I knew I have witnessed something beautiful. There isn’t much room to even breathe on these buses, but still I didn’t moan. People come from all walks of life and getting to know them is half the fun.
So in my quest to discover the joys of public transport, I would think twice about the so-called ‘daily grind’ because at the end of the day, you are experiencing the joy of travel, no matter where you end up.
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- 24 hours in Hanoi
- Where to go in 2014 for a family summer holiday
- 5 tips for packing the perfect rucksack for an adventure
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