Long road to Laos

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Oudômxai,
Monday, February 21, 2011

Here we are in Laos! We left Dien Bien Phu at 5.30am this morning on what initially seemed like an empty spacious bus. 90 minutes later we were still only 10km from the bus station and were piled up with huge bags of rice noodles, vegetables and people!  We made it to the border without any problems and left Vietnam.  Now, when you're travelling in South East Asia all you really hear about Laos is how unpredictable the bus journeys are.  We hadn’t even officially made it into Laos before we saw an example of this.  On the road between the 2 borders we had to stop whilst a digger actually flattened the road surface for us so that we were able to pass! After 2 and a half hours waiting for the 11 tourists on the bus to get their visas we were officially in Laos.  Our bus was straight through to a random town called Muong Khua where we needed to transfer on a bus to Udamxai – our plan being to go to Vientiane from there.  As per usual there was some catch, on this journey it was not being dropped at the bus station as booked, but instead across the river 3km from the bus station.  It’s nice how everyone works together so that more people can make money from the tourists.  This time was a bit of a p*ss take because whilst they were unloading the foreigners bags and we weren’t paying attention they transported everyone else off our bus across the river for free on a moving bridge.  When the bridge came back we all got on to be told we had to pay for a boat ferry across instead.  I think we took it quite well – 5 months and we’re just resigned to the fact we’ll get screwed over.  So whilst one Austrian on our bus was arguing that he wanted to get taken all the way to the bus station for free we got the first ferry across, picked up the only tuk tuk we could find, and were the only people who managed to make the last bus out of Muong Khua that day.  We were quite proud of ourselves and our Amazing Race-esque ingenuity.  We have now been on 2 buses a boat and a tuk tuk and have been travelling for 12 hours.  We’ve decided to move on straight away and get as far as we can on the limited kip (Laos currency) that we have.  Looking forward to a night on the bus!! 
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