Osh, Kyrgyzstan – Kashgar, China | 8 October, 2006 | $50 (overnight sleeper bus)
This would be my third time traveling between Osh and Sary Tash on this trip and this time I decided to go by bus. The first time was in a large China Aid truck after my accident and the second time was in a jeep hired in Tajikistan at night. The bus was quite expensive but I wasn’t having much luck finding enough people to get a shared taxi together. Ideally I would take a taxi during the day, sleep in Sary Tash and then leave first thing for the Chinese border so we passed over while there were taxis still waiting on the Chinese side and before the border closed for lunch at Beijing lunchtime.
One of the guys I traveled with in Tajikistan came back from Bishkek and took the bus with me. We would finally part ways in Kashgar (he was heading to Pakistan and I was aiming for Tibet) but it was nice to have someone along for the ride. We didn’t leave until after dark so we didn’t see any of the gorgeous scenery along the way. I also had to fight for my bed as they tried to place me on the back bench sleeping in-between three local men. I flat out refused. It was a strange bus ride?we were woken around midnight when the bus pulled over for a bathroom stop on the top of a high mountain pass. I followed the women to their side of the bus and tried not to fall through the ice on the ditch I was hovering over.
We were again woken up at 4am when the lights were flipped on and everyone on the bus besides me, my Australian friend and a Japanese traveler started inhaling food and chugging large bottles of coke. We looked at each other in stunned silence until I realized that they were eating their meal for the day before the sun came up?it was still Ramadan. Because of Ramadan no one needed to go to the bathroom and the bus didn’t stop during the day at all. When we got to the border the driver came around taking everyone’s passports filled with money. He got pretty mad when we refused to slip a bribe inside?we had our visas and had paid plenty for them already. The Chinese border closed as we pulled up and the entire bus ride ended up taking much longer than expected. You can read my entire story about the trip here.