Some more epic bus stories…

Somehow it seems that Laos just isn’t going to be the “happy bus experience country” for us. Pretty frustrating especially because we keep on meeting travellers that tell us “how easy and good it is to travel by bus here” and how little problems they have. We just seem to attract them from a distance of 150 km. Our last experiences made us almost happy to leave Laos soon (but not really because we like this country of great natural beauty and very friendly people). ;-) Below we speak about 2 of those “epic” journeys we had the “luck” to be part of…

The first one concerns “buses and rain” (to make all of you guys less jealous): When we left Vientiane-center around 7 there was a vicious looking cloud hanging over it and we both had just the time to think “Wow! That looks like some nasty thunderstorm-cloud…” before the cloud opened itself and decided to pour buckets of water over us. This is of course nothing too annoying (and even refreshing), but not when you are sitting in a tuk-tuk (which we remind you is OPEN) on the way to the bus station… Result: within 2 minutes we and our bags were soaking wet (yes, including underwear) and the street turned into some kind of “imitation Mekong” giving us a vague idea what it must be like to be here in the so-called “rainy season”. :-)

But luckily the tuk-tuk ride ended at the bus station from where we changed to a local bus towards Savannakhet. Yeah, yeah, luckily this bus was completely new (not!) and 100% rain-proof (not!): as soon as the bus started driving and especially in curves the rain just literally poured in from all sides, making it more like a mobile shower than a bus really… But luckily “need makes creative” and so very quickly the curtains, normally used for blocking out the burning sun or the light or just to wipe the sticky rice of your hands, became very practical rain-covers with quite high water-soaking capacities… ;-)

On another ride, the bus driver tried to test our patience (well especially Vera’s, Jean-Christophe thought it was “funny”) in that he stopped 46 times on a ride of 225 km which took us 7.5 hours… The stops were most of the time for charging/decharging of people/goods (rice, alive chicken in a bag, vegetables (which can be found all over the country, but not they need to transport them over 225 km), but also wood, motorbikes and basically everything you can think of and that is transportable…), getting a fight with some guy (at some point the bus stopped and a guy came in who started yelling at the driver, who, at his turn, started yelling back before driving on… no idea what that was about – the yelling guy got out…) and finally about 4 stops in order to make up the lunch for the driver: once for grilled chicken, once for rice, then drinks and finally a fourth stop for some fried bananas…


Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. ivaberthon
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 21:54 | Permalink

    ZEN ZEN ! Voilà la philosophie orientale ! En fait, ils font exprès pour tester votre adaptation au pays :-)

  2. marie-annick
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 23:45 | Permalink

    ce que je retiens de ce post: ça doit être drolement bon les :”fried bananas”!! miammmm! le reste importe peu. ( qui a dit que j’étais une petite nature!).

  3. ivaberthon
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 13:56 | Permalink

    Marie-Annick, la prochaine fois que tu viens à la maison, je te fais un plat de bananes frites, mais …… j’achèterai un entonnoir et une camisole de force avant ! :-)

  4. marie-annick
    Posted February 7, 2008 at 21:53 | Permalink

    flambées les bananes, Ivana. C’est bien meilleur, flambées au rhum. Mmmmmmm! :-)

  5. Vera
    Posted February 8, 2008 at 7:14 | Permalink

    @Ivana: Je pense qu’on s’adapte bien, car on les utilise encore les bus locaux. Beauoup de touristes prennent des bus “touristes” ou on n’a pas ce type d’aventures… :-) Mais bon des fois…

    @Marie-Annick: En fait on n’a pas encore essaye les bananes frites. On a essaye les bananes grillees sur un BBQ par contre, mais c’etait pas bon du tout… :-(

  6. Posted February 11, 2008 at 11:13 | Permalink

    à quand les nouvelles photos? des gros bisous danielle et louis