Stories from Laos: Travel Day

Wednesday 10th Feb- Thursday 11th Feb 2016

Travelling from Vang Vieng to Don Det

We woke up, packed and headed to a bakery for breakfast. We then got some dollars out at the bank, ready for Cambodia in a few days time after our visit to Don Det (well done us for top organisation). After collecting our bags from the hostel and checking out, we headed to the travel agents to catch a mini bus to the main bus station in Vang Vieng. 

The mini bus had no door, a broken windshield, and multiple broken windows. It also had a very loud boy incessantly asking for a lighter for the entire journey. We arrived at the bus station, which consisted of a few benches, a desk and toilet, at around 12.30pm. We'd been ill quite a lot in Laos, and today was one of those days. I began to feel very dizzy, light headed and sick. We waited in the station for 2 hours, with the amount of backpackers steadily growing and my illness also getting steadily worse. A saviour called Nat gave me electrolytes, the best thing ever invented for travelers.

At about 2.30pm the big bus finally arrived. We traveled for 4 hours until we reached the next station. Here we were to catch an overnight sleeper bus that would take us to Pakse. We waited an hour at this station and then boarded the sleeper bus. The interior of the bus was made up of tiny 'double' beds in a bunk bed situation. Think the Knight bus in Harry Potter. Rachel and I walked through the bus, wondering which tiny bed would be our home for the next 12 hours. Until we reached the very very back, and discovered we would be staying in the quadruple giant bed at the very rear of the bus (!) The anticipation was killing us as we waited for the other occupants. They turned out to be two men from France. We had a fun few hours playing cards and chatting. Then things got weird as they invited all the other French men on the coach into our bed, and then chatted in French for about 4 hours. Uncomfortable times in our little bed/evil hovel. 

After a surprisingly okay sleep, we were awoken in Pakse by an alarming leg shake courtesy of the bus driver at 7am the next morning. We waited in Pakse for about 1 hour for our next bus to arrive and take us to Ban Nakasang. I found this 2 hour journey maybe the worse, as we were so close but still not there! 

When we arrived at Ban Nakasang, we made our way to the pier in order to catch our boat to the island of Don Det. The boat ride over the Mekong river to the island was just beautiful. I began to understand why it is called 4,000 islands, as there are bits of land everywhere in the water. It is such a peaceful and serene place. All of the travelling was absolutely worth the beauty that we were met with that morning. We had a day exploring the island, had tea overlooking the water, and then I read my book overlooking the beautiful Mekong river, before finally going to bed. 

This was the longest journey on the trip, but with the best reward. Don Det was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.