Monday, 13 July 2015

Should You Book A Ride On The Naked Sleeper Bus?!

Hey there!

Welcome back to my journey around the world...don't forget to follow my blog if you want more useful hints and tips and to checkout where I am and what I'm getting up to right now :)

So last night I had my first experience on New Zealand's first Naked Sleeper Bus! Firstly, I was a little surprised when I showed up in my birthday suit, having braved the 0 degrees temperatures of Wellington, only to find that it's not literally a naked bus!! Could have avoided so much embarrassment and frostbite! Haha I kid, of course!

Source: nakedbus.com
I have to say, the week leading up to my sleeper bus trip I was actually really excited! I'd caught the Mana bus down from Auckland to Wellington and while it was quite nice to be given an icy pole and water, sitting up on a slightly (and I really exaggerate that point) reclined chair for 10 hours makes for an extremely uncomfortable sleep and sore back the next day!

So when I booked the sleeper and read all about the free Wifi, USB charging points and onesies - while having a flat bed to lie on all night, well this little backpacker was ready for a night of luxury!!

Okay so now I need to fill you in on what they DON'T mention on the website. I've decided to compile this into a list of pros and cons of the naked bus to make it easier for you.

PROS:

  • The blankets look thin but are EXTREMELY warm
  • You get to lie down (what you always wish/moan for on a normal overnight bus trip)
  • The staff & bus driver are really friendly and helpful
  • There's a toilet onboard
  • There are regular stops in case you need to stretch your legs
  • You can charge any of your devices that you can attach a USB charging cord to (probably not laptops (I couldn't charge mine))
  • The bus is very clean
  • The linen is very clean
  • The pillows are relatively comfortable (a bit too soft for my liking but if you like a soft pillow, you'll be happy!)
CONS:
  • They don't actually tell you until you're on board that if you are on the bottom row of beds you will probably be sleeping next to a stranger that they pick up at the next stop. I don't have a massive problem with this, I'm sure most people getting on this bus are lovely and clean but there is always the off chance you'll end up next to someone who has been backpacking for a week and hasn't managed to find a shower in that time and has a faint (or overpowering) scent of urine about them. OR you'll end up next to someone like me! Who kicks, snores and happened to have a tickly cough this particular night of my trip.
  • I REALLY think they need to advertise somewhere on their website that just because you pay the same price as everyone else does not mean you will necessarily have a bed to yourself.
  • If you have claustrophobia don't even think about booking this bus! I suffer mildly from it (an underground carpark with a particularly low roof is enough to send me into a panic attack) and I have to tell you, the minute I stepped on this bus I thought about getting off and using the McDonalds free wifi to book a plane ticket back to Aucks. The aisles are SO skinny that you literally cannot pass another person, so you will have to wait while they unpack their teddy bears and phone chargers. And the space between the bottom bunk and top bunk is nowhere near close enough to allow you to sit up. The space between the top bunk and roof is only slightly bigger.
  • As I said in the pros they do have a toilet onboard, but they emphasise SO much once you're on board that you should really try to not move around the cabin while the bus is moving that you become too scared to use the toilet anyway. Also if you're on a top bunk, there is no ladder to get down, instead you will have to use the person on the lower bunk of the opposite side of the bus's bed as a ladder, potentially waking them up if they are somehow lucky enough to fall asleep (If they are asleep, they've probably read this blog and took sleeping tablets :P)
  • There is absolutely no temperature control, you don't get your own heater above your bed, it's just one temperature for the whole bus for the whole trip - I was having massive waves of overheating and then freezing.
  • It's a VERY bumpy ride, at least the trip I was on anyway, maybe it's just that road (Wellington to Auckland) because of the bumps it's really hard to get any sleep (I'd suggest taking sleeping tablets)
  • They advertise free Wifi onboard, which they do have and I assume it works fine but our staff member forgot to tell us the password until halfway through the trip and then proceeded to announce it over the speakers (which are directly above each person's head) while people were sleeping...needless to say, majority of the bus jumped so far out of their beds they hit the roof or the bed above them (okay, so they didn't jump super high then :P)
  • Lastly, they also advertise food and refreshments, not a single beverage or snack was seen by me or anyone else on the bus, luckily I had been waiting inside a McDonalds for the bus to arrive in Wellington and devoured a Big Mac right before boarding.
A pic I took from inside the bus so hopefully you can get an idea for the size
Now it sounds as if I am MASSIVELY bagging on the Naked Sleeper Bus, but I do want to mention that I only paid $30 for the ticket - which is a heck of a lot cheaper than booking a hotel with even worse conditions for a similar price. I actually got to lie down, which is really all anyone riding on an overnight bus wants, right? I really just wanted to get the facts out there that they don't mention on the website so that if you are planning on booking a trip on it you can make up your own mind with ALL the facts.

I think it really will be the way to travel in the future and for the first one in NZ they've done a pretty good job. And I'm sure once they've done a bunch of perfecting the trips will be amazing!

Wishing you wonderful adventures and safe travels :)

xx Bridgitte