Friday, March 26, 2010

Sleeper Bus in Lao

I spent the summer of 2006 sleeping on a bus while on Warped Tour. I found that my best nights of sleep were on good ole bus number nine - cradled to sleep by the swaying of the bus and roaring of the engine. So when I heard we could take a sleeper bus from Vientiane (northern Lao) to Pakse (southern Lao), I immediately told Kelly we weren't even going to look into other forms of transportation - we were definitely taking a sleeper bus.

We were picked up from our guesthouse in Vientiane by a massive tuk tuk filled with about 12 foreigners around 8pm and were whisked off to the sleeper bus terminal, a good 20km outside of town. As we waved goodbye to the guesthouse staff they replied "Good Luck!" Questionable. Didn't think we had anything to worry about - I was beyond excited about the journey. Once we arrived we realized that no one running the buses spoke a single word of English. So we followed the crowd and boarded a bus. On Warped Tour there are mainly two types of buses: the slightly roomier 12 bed buses, and what veterans call 'the slave ship' buses which sleep 18. In Lao they've managed to find a way to sleep 48. YEAH. Two people to a bed and beds popping out of nowhere - clearly not made to fit westerners. (To Warped Tour Production: imagine all the money and gas you'd save with Lao sleeper buses!)

Unfortunately we did not arrive in time to score lower bunks nor did anyone seem to know where a bathroom was. But even more startling were the new bus tickets we received. Everything was written in Lao except two words at the bottom: Good Luck.

The lack of bars to hold us into the bed on the many curves was a bit disturbing but I guess they figure you're already in close quarters, what harm would a little closer spooning do to hold on to the outside person?

Nevertheless, we made the 10 hour journey to Pakse. It wasn't quite as soothing as the nights on Warped Tour, but we got there in one piece. To any solo travelers lookin' for lovin' out there, a night on the sleeper bus is a sure bet to get someone in your bed.

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