8 January 2016

A trip from Hanoi to Vientiane by Bus



Being in South East Asia (SEA) is either you are forced to be on the move or you enjoy doing it, simple as that. First of all, it’s very cheap to move around Asia, one might say cheap is relative but I will stick to my words - it’s DAMN CHEAP.
So last month, December 2015, I travelled to Vientiane –Laos, a landlocked country occupying the northwest of the Indochina, surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Burma. The poorest country in South East Asia and has fallen prey of the Vietnamese War and still feeling the aftermath of the war. There are still booms planted during the America-Vietnam War that have not defused yet and thousands of Laotians are killed and severely injured by them every year, thanks to America.
I had always wanted to go to Laos, but not too soon though. However if you live and work in Asia you’ll understand the phrase ‘VISA RUN’ which means going outside the country you currently reside in to fix your visa. I did a VISA run to Laos and took advantage of the ‘RUN’.
Now let’s look at the basics of getting around, From Hanoi to Vientiane.

HOW TO GET TO LAOS

Modes of transport travelling from Vietnam – Hanoi to Laos - Vientiane
1.      Flight
The fastest and the most expensive mode of transport and to top it off worth it. There aren’t much budget airlines flying in and out of Laos hence flights are expensive. There are flights from Hanoi to Vientiane almost every day and it takes about 1.5hours
Price Range
ONE WAY: USD130-170
ROUND TRIP: USD240-300
These prices depends on which travel agent you use. It’s always advisable to check with your hotel or hostel before shopping around so as to know your base.

2.      Bus
There are buses every day from Hanoi to Laos, sleeper buses, and this is for people who are out to save money and aren’t really in a hurry and don’t mind spending the whole day in a bus, yes it takes 24hours by bus to reach Vientiane. The prices range from USD 22-30 (single trip) – depending on where you get your ticket. The good thing about the busses is that they have WIFI, so if you are not so into reading like me, you can keep yourself busy browsing the net. I was literally on my back for 24hrs, and I understood why they call them sleeper buses, you spend your entire trip on your backs, I honestly wouldn’t do this again if I have a choice, I’d much rather save money to fly than bus.
Inside the sleeper Bus


3.     Motorbike
Most people travelling SEA via Vietnam always get motorbikes, buying a motorbike it’s as easy as buying candy. Prices normally start from USD200 and you can be lucky to get something less from a desperate backpacker who wants to get rid of the bike. I have met people who’ve done Hanoi – Laos on bikes and really had a great time because they were in control of their trip. Any breakdowns? Some did some survived, so expect some. If you want more details about driving a bike to Laos This is a good read ---> Nomadasaurus

As I mentioned earlier, I took a bus from Hanoi to Vientiane for USD25, I however flew back into Hanoi to get my VISA ON ARRIVAL. I wasn’t in any hurry getting to Laos and I also needed to save some few bucks. The bus normally reaches the border at 7am (So I was told) but ours reached the border at around 6am. We had to wait for an hour for the immigration office to open.

Speaking of VISA
I was actually surprised that when you leave Vietnam you need to pay a stamp FEE, like why though? The immigration officers asked for USD1 (20,000VND) from each one of us and they said it’s for the stamp, anyways also be prepared to walk like 2KMs to Laos border. On a very cold morning between foggy mountains and a muddy road, we had to navigate our way to the Laos border.

LAOS VISA
Most countries get VISAS ON ARRIVAL my country - Botswana included. The visa FEE ranges from USD31-37 depending on where you are from and it’s a 30days single entry visa. The fees are slightly high during the weekend. Make sure you bring along a passport photo or prepare an extra dollar for the pictures.

We arrived in Vientiane around 4pm on a Friday and we were met buy a dozen of taxi drivers waiting to rip us off by the bus station. We (Me and the other foreigners in the bus) met this other TUK TUK driver who spoke a little bit of English to go by. He wanted to charge us USD4 but we managed to bring him down to USD2 each, the little Vietnamese that the guys knew and my little Thai played a role or two.

Vientiane City
Coming from a noisy city in to Vientiane, you’d somehow feel like you are in a ghost town. The city’s quietness is astonishing, I thought maybe it was a holiday and people went back to their hometowns, but nope, that how it was. There was not even a single traffic jam, felt so relieved cycling around the city and driving back to the airport.

Some of the people from the bus and myself stayed at Sihome Backpackers Garden along the 028 Sihome road. Besides the Dodgy Gate at the Entrance the hostel is amazing the graffiti on the wall is everything, the atmosphere as well.

So I guess that's how my trip from Ngo Huyen Hanoi Vietnam to Sihome Road Vientiane Laos went about, 24 horrific hours, NEVER again unless I don’t have a choice but I’ll make sure I’ll have a choice

Tune in to get more info on some of the activities that I did in Laos – Buddha Park, Temples just to mention a few

TRAVEL AND ENJOY LIFE


Mr Orsen
Twitter @Mr_Orsen
Facebook: Nesro

23 comments:

  1. I love the idea of wifi on a bus. Those beds look so uncomfortable and hard to sit up in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Idea is awesome but you have to make sure you have all your gadgets charged and backups since this trip is 24hours

      Delete
  2. I've never been on a wifi bus before but I've heard so many thing about it. Thanks for the guide on how to travel, I'm sure it was definitely worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The WiFi buses are awesome i love them, i have been on many and enjoy them, unless they travel longer distances, i get so drained

      Delete
  3. owh!!! nice bus travel. at least they have wifi so ...its not boring though. i will check out your site from time to time. Good travel guide though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cindy, it wasnt that boring until my phone battery got drained hahaha. Thanks for your support assurance

      Delete
  4. Sounds like you had a good trip wifi on the bus? (Sweet) bet you can't charge your phone in there that will drain the bus battery power more.I've never done visa run hopefully I will soon and get the whole experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Visa runs are quite interesting but a little bit hectic.
      Well the WiFi drains your battery and only people closer to the drivers seat can ask to charge their phones, however with a few stops along the way you can get your phone charged a little

      Delete
  5. Oh my goodness I don't think I could survive that long on a bus. Poor you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha make sure you have enough money saved up for the trip hahaha

      Delete
  6. Looks like an adventure for sure, but not sure if I would enjoy that bus as well. Sounds like you had a great trip though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did have a great time, though the bus ride was longer. I flew back into Hanoi rather than bus

      Delete
  7. Wifi on a bus is one of the best things I have seen. I had to travel on a Greyhound bus every Friday night and Monday morning for a little while and that was what saved me. It made the journey a lot more bearable

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does make the journey bearable. You get lost in the moment and next thing you know you've arrived at your destination

      Delete
  8. Wow, 24 hours on a bus is killer! Glad to hear they have free Wi-Fi.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's so long to be on a bus! I don't think I could do it, you're such a trooper! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I swear to God i'm never doing it again

      Delete
  10. I love this idea. I need to keep this in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sometimes the benefits of flying outweigh the discomfort of those buses, right?! I've never traveled in that region, but I would love to. I do hate dealing with those taxi drivers that try to take advantage though. Mexico was like that last time I was there. They get right in your face too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right. I have learnt that with this bus ride. You should travel south east Asia its really nice and too damn cheap. You should give it a try.
      OMG taxi drivers here are savages i bet its the same as Mexico.
      I would love to travel south America one day.

      Delete
  12. this is so adventurous, i really won't mind the sleeper bus. for me it's kinda easy to sleep when on any land transport.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Leona, you are not the first to say that though. As for me, im done with the bus rides

      Delete
  13. wow seriously sleep in bus! It was really a good try and the bus must be really comfy and big to sleep on XD

    ReplyDelete

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It'sNesro

A blog by an African Born and bred in Botswana, a peaceful country in the Southern part of Africa. I am somewhere wandering the continent of Asia.




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