A must do in Samoa: Take that wooden bus

By Alina Lackerbauer ,

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Samoan buses are one of the country’s most unique features. 

They impress with their special appearance, colorful decoration and happy music. 

“It is more of party than a bus trip. The music and colorful decor are so far from any bus I have experienced in New Zealand, but that is what makes it fun,” Sinead Mahood gushes when asked about the buses by the Samoa Observer.

Danish Jeanette Svendsen also enjoys their great vibes. 

“They are an important part of making Apia a charming town to stroll around.”

Lena Guenther-Seggl finds that it is a must-do to get on a bus. The Austrian often just hops on the bus which has her favorite colors or music, as they all return to the station in Apia at one point.

“Especially the music on the bus really lifts up your mood, even though I expected less European and American music” says Pauline Moehle from Germany. Ted Chen from Taiwan on the other hand feels like the music reflects the Samoan lifestyle and beliefs in a good way as it sounds relaxed and free, but also focuses on God and religion.

Tourists are especially fond of the prices and the people. “It is cheap and easy and you are always bound to meet someone friendly to chat to on the way” Sinead reports. “You have just got to be weary of the cheeky boys in the back. If you are lucky enough you will get off the bus 2$ lighter but also with a Samoan boyfriend tagging along.”

Ted Chen will remember the buses as a very interesting aspect about Samoa. “My most memorable experience is the lap ride. People sit on each other as a way of helping each other and shortening the personal bubble.”

But is there only a negative side about the bus transport? Lena Guenther-Seggl criticizes their lack of safety. “The buses are crowded most of the time, there is nothing to hold on to and the safety is highly controversial. But that is just Samoa.”

Ted Chen agrees and adds that the system could be improved. “There are no tickets, money boxes or bus plans, which of course speaks for trusting people, but also makes buses a more unreliable form of transportation.” 

Sinead thinks that this definitely affects foreigners and gets them thinking about which form of transport to choose. “I think palagis tend to go for other options, but once you embrace the noise and the three children sitting on your lap you will realize it is a pretty cool experience which you do not get back home.” 

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia