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To China, by bus

Can you handle a 16-day bus trip? Then consider BuddhaBus, a British company arranging travel between London and the Chinese city of Urumqi.

If you still haven’t had enough road trip, just make the return journey.

I saw the website for Buddhabus, and immediately felt a pain in my gluteus maximus. I can't imagine such a long road journey, even with four break days. Since the cost of the journey isn't cheap, the company resorts to another tactic.

If you peruse the website, you feel guilt settle in:

“For various reasons more and more people are choosing not to fly. A recent survey by the Lonely Planet guide found that 93 percent of respondents would consider switching to a more sustainable means of transport for future trips.

"Recent years have seen an increasing awareness of the damaging effects of air travel on the environment. The impact of climate change - largely ignored by governments and corporations - compels travellers themselves to lead the way towards more efficient solutions. At present BuddhaBus is the most efficient means of travel between Europe and Asia."

The site notes that taking the BuddhaBus trip would emit one-quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions of flying.

"One return journey with BuddhaBus saves at least 2 tonnes of carbon when compared to a flight. This is equivalent to 300 trees’ carbon conversion over a 100 year period, or a total of 100,000 trees for one return flight.

"Train travel is currently at least 25 percent less efficient than coach travel, making BuddhaBus the most environmentally responsible means of travel between Europe and Asia currently available."

Gosh, even if it were a limo powered by solar panels, I think I’d stay home. My rear end is already thanking me.


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China Law Blog

Dude, just kill me first.


Buses are not more efficient than rail, and buses are far more uncomfortable than trains. The most enviro-responsible means of travel has to be bicycling, slow and hazardous as it would be.

BTW, somehow the website is now ButterflyBus.

Tim J

Will, if you take those second-order impacts into account, you can feel good that you spent 795 pounds (about $1,600 USD) each way, left your hind parts numb, and didn't really help the environment. Hmm, quite a deal.


I wonder if the environmental calculations hold up when the second-order impacts, such as the the carbon emissions of the search and rescue missions that will need to be undertaken when sore-assed, bus-crazed travelers start disappearing during rest stops on the Karakoram Highway, are considered?

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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