20.07.2014 - 21.07.2014
I had a choice when leaving Vientiane: a day bus to my intended destination of Pakse arriving ostensibly at 10pm; a day bus to a closer town; or a night bus to Pakse. I chose my usual last resort - the night bus. Except this one was different - it was a “sleeping” bus. A two-tiered bus, it had double-bunk style sleeping berths similar in size I think to the one I had on the train to Bangkok (pictured in an earlier entry) although a little shorter. Only thing it was shared between two. Plus maybe some gear. One way to meet people I guess.
The road from Luang Prabang to Vientiane may have been windy and narrower than usual, but it was generally an ok road. Roads further south are … not so ok. Not as bad as the road from hell; but rough enough to constantly feel. From what I could tell in the dark, the terrain was mostly flat. It was more comfortable lying down than sitting and I did get some sleep.
I arrived at Pakse northern bus terminal early in the morning, once again beside the Mekong river that would surely have given a smoother ride. It is a feature of Lao towns that they have a bus station on the north side of town, for buses to the north; a station on the south side for buses to the south; and maybe one near the centre for local and sideways, I guess. Guaranteed income for the tsongkaeo and yuk-tuk drivers.
So I got a ride into Pakse town, walked down one side of the street, picked up some information for onward buses, crossed the road. And took a yuk-tuk to the southern bus station. The town just didn’t inspire me at 8am.
The bus to Salavan, to the east, was a real bus. A couple of fans at the front. Seats from the 50’s maybe. Holes in it. No livestock on board which was the only thing missing to give it true character.