After such a pleasant experience of travelling on the VIP bus in Thailand
, we had no qualms about travelling on another VIP Bus to Luang Prabang even though it would take around 16 hours. The VIP Bus service was advertised as the following:
Comfortable reclining seats, air conditioning, toilet
However, it was anything but! Air conditioning was open windows - those which opened!, there was no toilet, there was a motorbike parked in the middle of the aisle which people who had to clamber over to find their seats, and this was also a cargo bus as boxes of live chickens, rice and various other products were being transported!
Check out the photos and video below:
And in this video, you can even hear the chickens making content/scared(?) noises in a box (for 16 hours!):
And the arrival was no better!
The final straw in this journey of comedic errors (definitely one to tell the grandchildren!) was the bus was supposed to arrive around 7am, a perfect time to wander into the town centre with our knapsacks, and find some breakfast before securing a guesthouse for the next few nights.
Alas, the bus arrived seven kilometres from town at 230am! Naturally, no-one was especially happy about this, especially as by the time we arrived in Luang Prabang centre it was about 3am, and all guesthouse were closed for the night (the Laos curfew for felang and locals alike is 1130pm). Some of our travelling companions decided to wander around and wait for 5 hours for the guesthouses to open, but we needed to relax and sleep.
Eventually we managed to wake an amicable guesthouse owner who was happy to rent us a room for the "night", but to be fair, he did also unlock the bar for us so we could have a couple of well earned beers. No sooner had we sat down and opened a beer, the heavens opened and rained down some blessed cool Asian rain (unlucky to our fellow passengers who decided to wait outside for the guesthouses to open!). Both of us were very happy to stand in it for a short time!.
Following a great Skype call with Roy back in the UK (as he was still up and we were awake and just had to share the journey!) we finished our beers and trotted to bed for a few hours sleep, very glad the journey was over, but still amused by the way it had transpired!