We took a “sleeping” bus out of Dunhuang.
We’re reasonably accustomed to overnight bus travel in the seated variety, so we were optimistic about the added comfort a sleeping bus would offer. We also wondered just what it meant.
The bus was arranged in three aisles. Each contained two tiers of narrow recliners. We could lie with our legs outstretched and from about our torso up we were up on an angle. It sounds more comfortable than it was. The seat in front was angled in such a way that our feet had to be skewif.
When we boarded at 7pm an electronic display advertised 37 degrees outside and 49 degrees inside. The bus idled at the station for forty minutes. We hoped this was to get the aircon working, but no, it was just to wait for the bus to fill up. Once off into the desert I’d say it took a good two hours for the temperature to drop. The thick duvets we were issued with were absurd. They seemed no purpose other than to take up space.
In a nod to cleanliness we were all required to remove our shoes when we entered, but the bus itself was pretty grubby. My upper bunk had a charming view of dust and cob webs and chewing gum stuck to the roof. This was glamorous travel
Once things cooled down and we got to grips with the inevitability of spending thirteen hours on the bus we both managed to get some sleep. I even slept through the military check point as we crossed a provincial border. But actually, a seated bus would have been more comfortable, and the sleeper trains are immeasurably better too.