Public buses are, by far, my favorite way to get around the city. Here are three reasons why:
1. So, so much cheaper. It's been my experience that the taxi drivers in each new city we visit are the group most interested in trying to overcharge tourists. Even when taxis have meters, either they refuse to use them or their meters run too fast.
The bus fare is the same for everyone and always less than a dollar. Most recently, in Hanoi, fare was a mere fifteen cents.
2. More interaction with the locals. We are often the only foreigners on the bus. Typically we find fellow passengers eager to try out their English and hear about our trip. Occasionally babies cry when they see Jim. Either way, it's vastly more interesting than sitting in a taxi cab.
3. Better orientation of the city. Taking the bus requires you to learn the city and not just stick your hand in the air, moving blindly from one attraction to the next.