Bus to Damascus
It is my impression that the long distance bus services in Syria are generally for VIP clients. I reckoned this initially because all of the bus company windows had V-I-P written on them and the cost of the ticket was five times as much as second class in the train. But the trains run on very specific schedules and generally only travel their routes a couple of times a day. The train Latakia to Damascus leaves in the early morning and the evening, and it was already mid-day before we were ready to depart. The buses between Latakia and Damascus leave every half hour all day long.
Time decreed that we needed to fork out the money for a “VIP” Pullman bus.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Damascus, Syria- April 20, 2009
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Click on map to view route of travel.
It was lucky for us that the 4 hour journey to Damascus only cost $5. Bus travel in Syria is not expensive, but it appears as such in comparison with the dirt cheap cost of second class rail travel.
I do not care about the quality of service on buses and trains, as I only fall asleep on them and look out the window. If I can get a seat to myself I am happy with any quality of service. But many countries go to great lengths to make sure that bus travel is luxurious. Syria is one of these countries.
Pulling out of run down, shack like stations are beautiful, top-notch Pullman buses. Coming from the USA, I equate bus travel with Greyhound – which means that I never have very high expectations. If I take a bus abroad that is better than Greyhound then I smile at the luxury of it. It is a good thing for me that Greyhound provides the worst service of any bus line I have ever used before. I have taken buses in 45 foreign countries, and all forty five of these have just about offered better service than the lowly Greyhound.
There is a reason why people in the USA refer to taking the Greyhound bus as “shame dogging it.”
Syrian buses are high quality and the service is almost ridiculously all inclusive. All through the trip a conductor walks down the aisle offering newspapers, sweets, bottle of water, and tea. I have gotten worst service on most airlines than on these $1.20 an hour Syrian buses.
Interior of a Syrian bus.
Bus to Damascus