17 Dec - 18 Dec BUS RIDE FROM HELL

Trip Start Dec 13, 2012
1
6
16
Trip End Dec 31, 2012


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, Louangphabang,
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Part 1: Sapa to Dien Bien Phu
730am i bid farewell to the owner of the hotel where i am staying( Thuy Ngoc Hotel), Mr Nguyen Van Cong, his wife(whom speak mandarin), the little girl(forget her name) and Hong. They have been very nice to me during my stay with them. Especially Mrs Thuy, we spoke alot due to the fact of the common language. I hop onto the mini bus(250,000 dong)on a 10 hour hour journey to Dien Bien Phu.
On board was a french couple, Vincent(electrician)and Julia and 2 spanish girls and some of the locals going to some village on the way. Alot of them have got huge bags and even a chicken in a cardbox. There were alot of disruption during the bus ride, people getting on and off and one local kid was dozing off on my shoulder. This is a route that travels on the ridges of mountains after mountains on the edge of the cliffs. We were going on the descendent of winding roads and the mountainous road were pretty bad. The ride was very bumpy, we had to stop twice due to landslide and the tractors were trying to remove some massive block of stones. Do not attempt this route to Dien Biem Phu if you can't do it in nature, got a bad back and if you are impatient, this route will test your limits. It is worst than sitting in an M113 Armour Carrier and it's 10 hours long. We got a lunch break at about 2 pm in the middle of nowhere in a little village where they serve the worst tasting food i ever had since army days. You should only do this if your are very adventurous. We reach Dien Bien Phu at 430pm at the bus interchange, it's the same place where you take bus from here to Muang Khao(laos, Bus Tic 100,000)check into a guest house(150,000 dong) and rest ourselves till 5am the next day as the bus was leaving at 530am.
Part 2: Dien Bien Phu, Muang Khua, Odomxai to Luang Prabang
18dec 5am, We hop onto the mini bus with most of the foreigners' lugguages all strap on top of the bus. It was a slow ride in the beginning as people get on and off and this is more cramp than the previous ride. They even got a motorcycle strap on top of the bus. Alot of bags, goods from the locals and we were pack close to sardines. We had more travellers joining the group, a dutch couple and sitting beside me was Remy Ashtrek, french wine tasting expert. We chatted along the way with various topics ranging from politics to euro financial problems and his stay in singapore. Going through the custom at the border was a hassle, both parties were very slow. Given the fact that i do not need a visa, i was expecting a faster procedure. We reach Muang Khua at about 1pm, the spanish girls and the dutch couple drop off at this point. Fortunately the bus that we were on was also going to Odomxai(50,000 kip), i got ripped off by the driver by another 30,000 Kip. WWe reach odomxai at 430pm; bought the tickets for Luang Prabang(65,000 kip)at 6pm. Had a meal and board the VIP bus to LP. Eventually we reach LP by midnight, everything was closed. The tuk tuk let us off at Joma Cafe and we walk into the street that was adjacent to the main road for a place to sleep. It was freezing and after 20 minutes we still cant get accomodation. Remy called his friend Andre andd eventually he walk out and look for us to get to the hotel. The place was Kammi Hostel Hotel, the recept put me to the dorm rooms when i slept from 1am - 8am the next day.
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