Distance – 130km in a bus
It seems that once you get sick SE Asia your stomach is more susceptible to future upsets. Sam awoke feeling sick and we decided to get a bus to Luang Probang. This was also a good plan because now that we knew what the mountain passes were like we doubted we could ride there in one day, but one day was all we had.
I went out to find out about a bus or taxi (like a ute with seats in the back). The lady at the guesthouse nodded when I asked about hiring a taxi to Luang Probang, but then just went on with her business. So I went for a walk to find one and offer the driver some money to take us. I found a public ‘taxi’ that was leaving at 9, but it would squeeze 20 people and their possessions in the back for a rough, cramped and long ride – stopping who knows how many times for people to get on and off.
The man in charge of buses in town told me (through a restaurant owner who spoke a little English) that we could get on the Vang Vieng mini-bus to Luang Probang when it passed through, but they didn’t know what time and couldn’t guarantee it would have seats. I tried to tell them I would pay for a van to take us, but they were telling me it cost 600,000 for a van or US$100 each for car hire and driver – both far too expensive.
Sam and I walked the streets of town asking people with vans and trucks if they would take us. I eventually found a guy with a van who would take us both and our bikes for 250,000. We would leave immediately.
Although we’d thought we would be the only ones in there a couple of girls came along for the ride too - I am sure they paid a lot less than us! It was a terrible ride. More twisting roads, fast speeds, crazy Laotian music blaring through the speakers... I was busting to use the toilet and he didn’t stop so I had to yell at him to stop by some roadside bushes… Sam didn’t vomit this time but I have no idea how, as I started to feel sick and I don’t get travel sick. He did feel horrible the whole time though, and it was a miserable journey.
In Luang Probang we found the town and ate lasagne and cheesecake at a café on the main road. They were both so good! We found a guesthouse and then spent the afternoon riding our bikes around the World Heritage Listed town. It was really beautiful and we watched the sunset over the Mekong River while eating fruit salad and banana pancakes at a small street restaurant.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia