Surprisingly smooth border cross!

Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  , Thanh Hóa,
Thursday, July 7, 2011

We had a long trip here from Ha Noi in Vietnam, for the first time in a year we took valium and it paid off. We were told it would only take 18 hours on sleeper bus but it in face took 24 hours and en route all of us tourists were talking and everyone got told something different from between 17 hours to 35 hours! I made the mistake of googling the border crossing after hearing tale upon tale of horror stories and I was a fool to do it; stories about being thrown off the bus at the border, having to flag a taxi for hundreds of US$, some girl got told her Visa was counterfeit and got asked to pay US$600 for them to sort out, endless tales about them scamming money and ripping people off.

We were nervous, we have very little money left at all and were terribly worried about what would happen to us. Luckily we spoke to most of the tourists on the bus and formed an allegiance just in case as back up. However at the border it was a breeze. None of the above mentioned drama occurred or was even remotely in the air, there were no dodgy people talking or even looking at us, we crossed it smoothly and effortlessly. We paid the standard fee for the visa that we had looked at online for British citizens and were annoyed at all the bad press we had looked at and heard; we decided only people with bad stories go online to bother to report their experiences. It makes sense I suppose. But I vowed to blog our hassle free Vietnam to Laos border cross, so here it is!

However, I do have to have a small whinge; when we were getting on the bus from Ha Noi in Vietnam we were all shouted at so much in Vietnamese after being told to be ready at 5pm we didn't actually get to the big sleeper bus till gone 8pm they tried tZo shove all of us farang into the back, into the coffin like sleepers in the aisle and in the bottom at the back. There was absolutely no way I was going to sleep in the aisle or the bottom, I bagged the best 2 seats, the only 2 that are always together at the top and sat there triumphantly waiting to see what would happen next. For 45minutes or so a young lad of no more then 13 years old bossed everyone around, pushed people physically handling them and their bags, shouting at the top of his voice for 'NOOO, TICK-ET’ to pretend there were seat numbers and move us all. Most of us ignored him, bagged a good seat and continued to stick to their guns, one Italian guy got asked for about an hour, I told him don’t do it, stay there, there are no seat numbers. He did but it was stressful hearing them try and move him for hours. His mates were laughing their heads off in hysterics and this lightened the mood as everyone began laughing at him! They even tried to move us, but I refused to give him our tickets even after being asked for it 20 or 30 times.

Phewwwww it was stressful, probably the most stressful thing we have had to encounter yet, it winds me up, the locals who got on afterwards probably paid a fraction of what we paid, all got free water and got saved the front seats (less bumpy)! To add to the trauma when we actually did get into Vientienne we got bundled into tuk tuk style jeeps to take us into town, we got asked for US$2.50 each for a couple of kilometers drive, I asked a local on the tuk tuk how much he was paying and he told me they were all paying less then a dollar each. We are honestly so out of money and $2.50 can get us a meal here so I fought our corner. She got very angry and the other tourists thought we were tight as she tried to make us get back on, threatened with the police which I openly said please call them and argued with me on the street for ages, the other tourists with us paid it and left but we didn’t. The injustice of it all was boiling up in me and eventually she left but not before threatening to hit me. It was horrible and Anish did not get involved but stood with me, I am tired of paying so much more then everyone else for everything. We have given our bit every time we pay double, and more.
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