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Slavic Trails

Lao Cai to Vang Vieng, 4 days of travel

LAOS | Tuesday, 20 April 2010 | Views [1265]

The bus dumped us in a random town with no ATM

The bus dumped us in a random town with no ATM

So we started at 5am in Lao Cai. Me and Chris turned up to the bus statino to find Grant talking to a random woman. she kept saying "Dien Bien Phu". Perfect thats where we're heading we thought. We got on the bus/ Parcel force delivery Van, with bags of rice and barrels of Petrol packed around us and set off. After an hour we had made it back to SaPa, where we picked up some tribal women. One of them pointed at me, I thought she wanted my seat so I nodded and tried to get up. Before I could she'd put her head in my lap and slep for the next 2hrs!

We arrived at a place called Lai Chau, about half way for us when we were kicked off the bus and told to get on another. By the time we realised what was going on we were having to pay for another ticket!!!! They say you haven't truly been to Vietnam if you haven't been scammed.....

From Lai Chau the road had been newly cut and was just a dirt track. Progress was really slow. We eventually arrived in Dien Bien Phu at around 6/7pm. We bought tickets to take us into the Laos the next day leaving at 5:30am

This bus was insane. We got on and already half the seats were covered in boxes. I started the trip sat on a massive box of Nestle chocolate drink. It took us 4hrs to travel the 30km to the boarder and cross over to Laos. The road was getting worse. Still dort tracks but a lot thinner and with a 90 degree sheer drop on one side. we were actually leaning over the side at one point when the driver couldnt be arsed clearing away a landslide properly. At one point the driver hit reverse because he'd taken a wrong turn. He was heading straight for the edge with no direction. All of us on the back seat at this point started screaming. The laos guy sat on my foot actually grabed hold of me in panic, as if I could help!

After 6 hours of terror we arrived a town called Muang Khua. We had no idea where we were and how to get to Luang Prabang. Our saving grace was a Thai guy who was on our bus. He owned a hostel in Vang Vieng and was heading that way. He chartered a boat to take us down the river to a village called Muang Ngoi. Great but for the fact we had no money! A perfect time to crack open the $100 dollars I'd been carrying in my shoe for 4months!

We got to the village at around 6pm. It was like some out of the movie THe beach - an amazing place. you can only get to this place by boat, isolated chilled out, in a beautiful setting. If we'd had more time and money we would have stayed longer than the night. but as we only had about $70 between 3 of us we figured reaching an ATM was our priority.

The day after we caught a boat down to Nong Khiaw - where there was a random boat race going on followed by mini bus to Luang Prabang, sticking with Pong - the Thai guy all the way. As we set off on the bus we didn't realise people were going to line the streets and throw buckets of water into the windows in celebration of the coming new year! With no air con we had no alternative but to get soaked.

After a 4th day on minibus we finally made it to Vang Vieng. The final leg was fairly was fairly uneventful. I think we were pretty grateful about that 


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