15/03/09 - 16/03/09
I opted for another form of transport to get from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, after the awful minibus experience. This time I chose the VIP bus - what makes it VIP I have no idea. I was fairly wary at first as a tuktuk picked me up from the Guesthouse and dropped me off in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. I was told this was where the bus would pick me up. I was there with a German woman in her 60s, and neither of us were entirely convinced we were going to be getting to Vientiane! Eventually after about half an hour, some other people turned up and the bus followed shortly after. The trip was uneventful, and a lot more comfortable than that minibus!
We reached Vientiane at about 5.30pm. In hindsight, not a good idea to arrive late in the afternoon, as I couldn't find anywhere to stay. Apparently because of the change in Thai Visa regulations, there are a lot more people doing visa runs over the border to Vientiane. The German lady and I decided to try and find a room together, but in the end we had to go a lot more upmarket in order to find somewhere to sleep though. It was nice to spend my last night in relative luxury though!
I spent my last night in Laos where I had spent my first, at a little bar on the banks of the Mekong. I had a great dinner with my new German friend and chatted the night away. You do meet all kinds of people when travelling, and I spent my last night in Laos hanging out with a 67yr old!
The Mekong bars in Vientiane.
I went to the market the next morning to buy a cheap suitcase so I could pack my masses of souvenirs a bit more efficiently. Afterwards I spent a leisurely few hours browsing in Vientiane before heading to the bus station to cross the border and catch the Night Train back to Bangkok. I really like Vientiane and wish I'd been able to spend another day or two there. There were a few more things I'd still like to see in the area. Will have to save them for next time though!
I'd timed my travelling so that I would travel back to Bangkok overnight and could go straight to the airport from the train station for my flight the next day. It meant a few extra hours hanging around the airport, but I didn't really feel like negotiating the hectic world of Bangkok again. So that's it, my trip to Laos is over! But wait, I've still got a few days before I'm back in NZ... time to visit Brunei!