Train services between major cities in Tunisia is quite reliable and cheap. But not all services run frequently and some of them don’t run on holidays and Sundays. For example, there are just two trains a day between Gabes and Tunis, one in morning and one evening, and the evening train doesn’t run on Sundays.
Of course there are more frequent louage (shared taxi) connections and cheaper than a train, but you will not get the comfort of a train seat and some times the drivers of a louage can be really rough on the roads. One other advantage of taking a louage is the direct non-stop service to your destination in comparison to a train that makes multiple stops, making it quicker to reach where you’re headed. The disadvantage of taking a louage is the wait for the taxi to get filled before it heads out. And that, sometimes, can take hours.
In short, weigh your options on taking a train or a louage.
|Train – Book early?
In short, preferably yes.
Peak tourist season begins June and ends in September, which is when there are chances the seats may get filled. And on the flip side, not many tourists take the trains, but go in group tours, hence the buses. So depending on your travel time and the in-between towns, it’s considered wise to book your tickets at least one day in advance.
Advance tickets does not get you any discounts, and does not ensure a reserved seat, or perhaps even a seat. There is no seat number assigned to you so you can sit anywhere you like. Don’t assume that locals don’t take the first class seats!
There are two trains from Sousse to Tozeur – 11:40 a.m. and 10:50 p.m. Having some time between breakfast and the 11:40 a.m. train, I checked out of the hotel and walked to the medina of Sousse to check out some souvenirs and also get the postal stamp at the local post office for my collection.
|Postal Stamp Travelogue
Inspired by the places I have traveled to, I have designed a book that will keep a track of all the cities or towns I have been to, in a unique way. All I have to do is walk up to the local post office of every town or city I visit. Purchase a stamp, glue it in the book and request the post-master for the postal-stamp.
Then add the date of stamp, address of the post office, currency (look for three character currency code at the back of the book), value and any other notes you would like to enter. It’s just my way of collecting memories.
The train station, Gare de Sousse, was about 3-minute walk from the post office. And after a 5-hour train with multiple stops I reached Gafsa.
This seems to be one of the main towns on way to Tozeur, but the only main attraction of Gafsa are the twin Roman pools at the southern end of Ave Habib Bourghiba, about 3.4 km north of the station.
About five meters deep, these pools were built with large blocks of carved stone and sometimes are fed with water at about 30°C. They are especially known for the Latin inscription dedicated to Neptune and the Nymphs.
When I reached there, they were dried up and honestly, it’s not worth visiting these! With disappointment up my sleeve, I walked back to the bus station less than half a kilometer away to take the louage for a 1 hour 30 minute drive to Tozeur.
Note: I was hoping to take the Red Lizard train, but it doesn’t run at this time of the year.
The Residence L’oued hotel, rated highly on TripAdvisor, was at the south of the town, but a 8-minute walk from the louage station (which is right next to the bus station in the center of the town).
After a dip in the pool for a while, I headed out for a 5-minute walk to La Lune restaurant for dinner and back to the hotel for a relaxed night.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of publishing is assumed to be USD 1 = TND 1.60.
|Water & snacks||$3.75||TND 6|
|Sousse Postal Stamp||$0.62||TND 1|
|Sousse to Gafsa||$11.63||TND 18.600 one way, first class|
|Louage to Tozeur||$2.19||TND 3.500|
|Tozeur Hotel||$75||TND 120 for two nights, double bed with bathroom|
|Dinner||$2.50||TND 4 for Mix grilled plate|
|Total Costs||$97.56||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,596.14||Per person|
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Medina, Ribat, Amphitheater.
Commute from Sousse to Gafsa to Tozeur.
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Oasis towns around Tozeur.