[photopress:bus_to_urumqi.jpg,full,alignright]The idea is that you travel by bus to China and it takes two weeks. The system has the somewhat unfortunate (and possibly religiously offensive) name of BuddhaBus. The idea is that it will save on carbon emissions.
The figures offered to support this are open to argument.
It is claimed that flying causes roughly the same amount of climate change per mile as travelling by car. While you might travel 10,000 miles in one year in a car, you can cover as much ground in a plane in one day. The carbon dioxide produced by one person on a return flight to China equates to over three years of sustainable emissions. A coach carrying 40 passengers cuts the impact by almost 90%.
If BuddhaBus is a success, it will show that people are prepared to go to great lengths — 8,000km of pretty rough travel — to reduce the theoretical impact on the environment.
BuddhaBus will take just 16 days to travel the 8,000km from Victoria Station in London to Urumqi in Xinjiang province, China (shown in our illustration) allowing only one night’s stopover in most places.
It is claimed ‘the perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world’. Indeed the bus’s name suggests this will be a sort of zen-like escape from the horrors of modern travel.
Anyone who has traveled seriously long distances by bus will know this is total nonsense. In Australia where long distance bus travel is an affordable reality for many students passengers are frequently physically distressed before the reach their destination and abandon the effort.
BuddhaBus promises ‘Regular breaks and stopovers’ ensuring passengers ‘are able to appreciate the highlights of the trip at their leisure’ in places such as such as Warsaw, Moscow and Almaty.
As you are averaging 800km a day the amount of time you will be able to ‘relax and reflect;’ will be very limited.
Passengers will get to know the inside of their coach far better than the countries they travel through.
The first BuddhaBus departs London September 6, arriving in Urumqi 16 days later.
$1,600 single, $2,606 return, including camping and refreshments but not meals or hotels which makes it, compared to flying, a very expensive hobby. And a dashed uncomfortable one.