We expected a fairly smooth 16hr journey from Hanoi to Vientiane, the capital of the 'peoples democratic republic' of Laos, as we paid a fair amount for the bus ticket. We set off at around 7.30pm at was expecting to arrive at 2.00pm the following day. It started off ok, and after 6 hours we stopped off at a roadside 'restaurant' at 2am for a rest at which point we were told to 'wait for the next bus which should be here in 10 minutes'. The bus never arrived until 8am, 6hours later. During this time we had to sleep on the cold, concrete floor of this garage until the bus arrived. And even when it did (which was a local bus with no backpackers but lots of Vietnamese) we had to pay further money for it to take us all the way to Vientiane. So after 23.5 hours of travelling, we arrived, feeling thoroughly annoyed, although we could have used other words to describe it.
As it isnt part of many package holidays, Laos seems to be very backpacker orientated, with cheap guesthouses and bars scattered around. Vientiane has all of the above plus some of the usual stuff you would find in a capital.
'Patouxay' - Laos version of the Arc de Triomphe
'Patouxay' - La version laosienne de l arc de triomphe
View from the top
Vue du haut