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  • Writer's pictureDonna Kitchen

Bus of Horrors - Pakse to Vientiane, Laos

It was now time to say au reviour to Laos but before we do, we have one more story to note down.

Pakse to Vientiene sleeper bus route

After leaving Don Det, we arrived in Pakse just for one night to be able to catch the overnight bus to Siem Reap.   We’ve already ridden on two sleeper buses so this should be easy.

Grabbing a quick bite to eat across the road from the bus station we were lucky enough to share our meal with this cute little boy.

Family dinner

Our bus was due to leave Pakse Bus Station at 8:30pm and arrive in Vientiane at 8:30am, a 12 hour bus trip.   Grabbing a quick dinner from a local eatery across thme road before hand and no choice but to use their squat toilet.  we were settled ready to leave on time and that we did.

Note the disco lights on the roof.

We had booked two berths each as we already knew that each berth would not be enough for one of us.  For a 12 hour trip this was definitely going to be needed if we were to have a decent sleep. As we boarded the inside of the bus was all lit up like a disco and it looked pretty cool.  We were supplied with a blanket and a small pillow each. We tried not to think whether they had been freshly laundered or not.  Best not to!

We were settled ready to leave on time and that we did.  While Kevin rolled over on his side of bus and went to sleep immediately, I worked on typing up on of these blogs.  Eyes heavy, I eventually fell asleep myself but not for long.  As the bus travelled further into the regional area, the road narrowed and became very rough. Kevin continued to sleep like a baby while I struggled.   As this was a long overnight journey, there was a toilet on board which would be great for me as I frequently needed to pay a call through the night.  This was quite unfortunate for me as the toilet was the worst.  It didn’t flush so instead they supplied a huge bucket of water and ladle right in front of the door as you walked in.  You access the toilet itself, you had to step over the bucket, pivot yourself around to be able to sit.  As I was used to Asian toilets, I had learned to bring my own tissue paper!  One big problem with the bucket of water was that is sloshed around as the bus went over the crater sized bumps in the road, spilling water everywhere.  The floor was about an inch deep in water plus who knows what else.  The issue was I had no choice as I desperately needed to use the toilet. I just had to grin and bear it. Just gross!

Dodgy toilet at the bottom of the steps

Nodding of again I'm awoken to the bus no longer moving and Kevin getting out of bed to see what was happening.  Returning he says ‘Madam, I believe there has been a murder’ in the voice of Mr Poirot. This had been a running joke of his that started on our first train trip in Vietnam.

Luckily, there hadn’t been a murder but the engine V belt had shredded and the two drivers and the bus attendant were all struggling to install the new one.  This took about 45 minutes.

Fabulous, we were off again and we all slip back into a restless slumber until we awake as the bus had stopped again.  Again, Mr Poirot (aka Kevin) went of to investigate, reporting back that, no there wasn’t a murder but a blown inside rear tyre!  This was a big job and took about another 45mins to an hour.  Great!

Trying to get a bit more sleep, I gave up and gazed out at the passing countryside as the sun came up.   Checking google maps, we were still two hours out from Vientiane, which in fact was two hours passed our arrival time so far.   Now there were roadworks and the bus was barely travelling 30kms an hour.  Would we ever get to Vientiene!

Kevin fast asleep

Only a half hour out the bus stops again, the drivers and attendant get out to see what the problem was.  We never found out what was wrong but we did limp to Vientiene bus station for the last 10kms.

The Bus!

We certainly hope they throw this bus on the scrap pile as no one should have to travel on this bus again.

Checking back into Le Charme Hotel, we grabbed an early lunch rather than a late breakfast as that seemed more appropriate given that it was way passed our scheduled arrival time 8:30am.

Vientiene was a quick overnight stay before we moved onto a new city and a new country.  We were now of to Siem Reap, Cambodia via Bangkok for a short layover.

It was a pity we didn’t arrive into Siem Reap during the day and to be able to appreciate their airport more.  This was the best airport we’ve ever been to from the moment you disembark the plane to the customs, immigration process.   The entire airport was themed around their major attraction, Angkor Wat temples and was spectacular. Insert photo of SR airport.

Paying USD30 for our VOA, no photo required, we went through the very formal stages of having our passport affixed with the 30 day VOA sticker.  It strictly stated ‘no working’.

Our accommodation in Siem Reap included transport to the hotel.   We were surprised to see it was a tuk tuk and a very chirpy driver and loved every moment of it.   It was night as I mentioned before but it was a unique experience arriving in a new city and country riding through the quiet streets as the warm evening air passed us by.

Tomorrow our adventure in Siem Reap and the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat temples.

Donna & Kevin


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Jun 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

you two are amazing 😆See you soon

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