Public transport, depending on the destination, is an experience. When I was in Thailand, I decided to take a bus to the mall across town. It had been quite cheap (10 baht: R4.55) and quite the experience. The bus stop, around 5km from my hotel, passed by every 10-minutes and travelled across Phuket. This particular bus was not your typical mode of transport. There were benches that could seat around 20 people, but some squatted on the floor. There had been no seat belts or anything to hold onto, yet the ride was slow and surprisingly comfortable.
While just 20 minutes- I managed to make a few friends and got to see how the Thai working class went about their day.
I will admit that the ride back was chaotic. People piled onto the small blue and white bus, and there was little breathing room. However, the infusion of culture made everything worthwhile.
As much as many of us want to ride in private vehicles, spending a few hours, like a local, in public transport opens your eyes to the working class and their lifestyle. Most of them will share some of the ways to experience a destination in all its glory without having to bump into other tourists.
Tips when using public transport:
Leave the valuables at the hotel: While it may seem safe to travel with public transport, carrying valuables could put you in danger of being a victim of crime. Rather leave the important items at the hotel.
Do not travel alone: Travel with a fellow traveller or ask a local to go with you. It is more exciting to experience this with other people, and there is safety in numbers.
Know the route: Find out from the hotel or your tour guide what times the bus departs and returns. This way you can plan your trip and make arrangements accordingly.