In Luang Prabang, Laos, Gerhard and I decided that we should miss out Vang Vieng, owing to time restrictions and for me, not being hugely interested in the place.
So, we thought the 10/11 hour VIP sleeper bus would be a good idea, what with travelling at night and not being able to see much scenery in the darkness it “seemed” like a great idea.
We got to the bus station quite early when our TukTuk driver turned up about 35 mins early, we jumped on his decrepit little vehicle and it preceded to cough and splutter its way to the station. We did actually wonder whether the driver or in fact the vehicle was the older, and if we would in fact make the bus before it left! Well, after what seemed like a lifetime, we arrived at the bus station and jumped off, quite relieved we actually had got there!
So, we had a little wait in store……Across from the concourse, was a number of food stalls, so i thought a good idea was to get some snacks for the journey, so off i wandered, my bag safely with Gerhard.
This is one of the things about SE Asia I can not understand, the first 2 stalls I went to, one was full of drinks, crisps, chocolate, biscuits and the usual snack food you could imagine. The second stall had dried meats, BBQ meats and and the usual street food fare. All good so far, I thought I would carry on down the line of about 12 stalls to see what else they had…..I shouldn’t have bothered, every single stall was a repeat of the first two, with exactly the same food and nothing to differentiate themselves from one another…I was actually looking for Kap Moo, which is pork rind pieces, but I had to suffice with Oreo cookies and a few apples, yep not the SE Asian food i wanted but american junk food and imported apples…sigh
I idly walked back to my seat and waited some more. About 19.30 our bus turned up, and we got our first sight of the sleeper set up. Basically, 10 beds to a row, with 3 rows, one bed up, one down. Once closer to the bed you realise you cannot lay down flat as the person behind you has their legs in a cavity underneath your head. The Problem with this set up is the size restrictions, I’m not a big guy, 165cm and 62kg, and i had a lot of trouble getting comfortable, especially on this route as the first 6-7 hours is extremely twisty and turny, meaning you have to really concentrate on not falling out of the bed <Not so much a problem for me, but for Gerhard in the top bunk, could have been painful!>A bad picture, but you get the idea of where my legs are, also, you are expected to sleep with your hand luggage as well, luckily as I was at the back of the bus, I could push my bag in the space underneath the rear flat 3 beds (the lucky few!).
After a night of no sleep and trying not to fall out of the bed, we arrived in Vientiane at about 5.30am, all we had to do now was find a GuestHouse!
On reflection, we should have taken the normal VIP bus with proper upright seats, on the road which was so twisty these would have been way more comfortable. Also, after so much time in SE Asia, you kinda get used to sitting upright and sleeping, the sleeper bus was a bad idea from the start, shame we didn’t see it before!
Gerhard ready for his sleeper adventure……looking comfy!!