I'm not a huge fan of buses in general. My experience in the States has been that trains are much smoother than long-haul buses, and local buses -- especially in San Francisco -- are too slow and not on time enough. As Kate and I cross southern India, however, there's an abundance of mountains -- and thus, a lack of trains. So our choices have been either to hire private cars or to take one of the many buses available.
After a trial 90-minute ride this morning with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation -- to Ernakulam from Alleppey, where we'd stayed on a houseboat -- Kate and I decided we were up for the 5-hour ride to Munnar. At the total fare of Rs. 131 per person, or about $2.60, it was certainly the economical choice.
|Not our bus, but one similar to it -- in Alleppey.|
(Side note: Kate traveled all over South America in buses, and I always pictured vehicles like this -- but then I found out that her buses were often grand coaches with fold-out flat seats for sleeping and even champagne on one route!)
I was a little nervous about heading all the way to Munnar on the bus, as it's a winding road up to the hill station. But I have to say I was fairly impressed with our driver. The bus was hot and crowded, of course, but everyone was friendly and helpful. (We also had seats the entire time.) The conductor pointed us to the right stop (we got off just short of Munnar, at a junction closer to our homestay) -- and two other backpackers helped toss our bags off the bus.
|Inside our bus from Alleppey to Munnar. Think U.S. school bus in terms of style.|