— 05 – 08 Nov 2013 —
I had 3 days to spare before meeting up with *E in San Diego for our epic road trip so as much as I hated the idea of staying in LA, I did it anyways. And I’m glad I did.
For some unknown reason, I’ve always been against going to LA. Maybe because I love the east coast so much, I was becoming ignorant of what the west coast could offer. Or maybe it was my mentality of everything being plastic fantastic as so depicted on-screen. Or maybe it was the fake-ness of Beverly Hills. I don’t know. All I know is that the only place I wanted to see in LA was the Santa Monica Pier as it has been featured in many films.
So I decided to get a 48 hr ticket on the Hop-on Hop-off bus, with one day to spare and spend more time in Santa Monica. I was going to take public transport around because it was only $5 for a day pass compared to the $59 for a 48 hr pass, but I decided against it as my time was more valuable.
Because LA is quite spread out, the brochure recommends you to only take 2 tour routes in one day. That way you get to actually explore some of the areas. I had already decided to do this but since I was being told to by the people who wrote the brochures, I did it and it worked out well.
Firstly, because I was staying out in Santa Monica, I had to take the yellow bus out to the transfer stop near Rodeo Drive. I started off the day with the 9:58 am bus from Ocean Ave. This will take you to stop 7 in Beverly Hills, where you can change to the red bus for the tour of Hollywood. That wasn’t my destination though. My mission was to get to stop 1 in Hollywood then change to the purple bus which would take me to the dodger part of LA, downtown LA.
I was running out of time on day 1 because I had spent a lot longer at the Farmers Market than expected (well worth it, but don’t think my waistline thanks me for it), so I stayed on the bus for the entire 2.5 hrs of the downtown LA tour. In the end, it worked out fine because there wasn’t any stops that interested me and I had a great time taking photos from both sides of the bus (sorry driver, I know I was meant to stay in my seat while the bus was moving!).
I finished the purple route and got back in time for the red bus to take me back to stop 7 (I would’ve had time to get off at the Walt Disney Center, sad face). As we made our way down Sunset Blvd, the sun was setting and I felt it was fitting to experience a sunset on the Blvd itself. I had hoped to be back for the sunset in Santa Monica but there was the next day.
Nothing went to plan on the 2nd day, as I woke up late (shouldn’t have stayed for the 3rd comedy act), so I had to prioritise. I went to LACMA (my favourite is the SPAM piece), got a weiner at Pinks, walked around Dolby Theatre then head back to Santa Monica for the sunset. That also didn’t work out because the buses were following their own schedule other than that on the timetable.
The only bad thing about the tour is the timing of the buses. Ideally you want the routes to be synced so that at the transfer stops, let’s say, when the red bus arrives, the yellow bus is there and waiting for the passengers who wish to go to Santa Monica. With that in place, I think the experience would be better for all passengers as the waiting times were up to 30 mins sometimes which could have been used more wisely at a more interesting stop.
Hop-on, Hop-off Los Angeles
There are 4 routes; Red, Yellow, Purple and Blue. The start times very between 09h00 and 09h30. If you have limited time, this is the best way to go unless you’ve got cash to splurge on taxis or a hire car, just be aware of the LA traffic.
Bookings can be made here.