So to get from Hanoi to Vientiane we embarked on a bus ride which took us 27 hours....no joke. There are a lot of people that complain about the bus from Vietnam to Laos however since we had not come across any issues from our previous heavily complained about buses. Plus when you put it in to perspective its $15 vs $100 minimum. It's a no brainer.
We were 'picked up' from our hostel. I use the term loosely because a man turned up shouted Laos and we had to follow him on his scooter to a minivan. The mini van was cramped to say the least. We were dropped off down the road from the bus station and divided in to our various destinations. From here we then had to wait for our 'leader' to buy the tickets for us.
Despite confirming that the bus would have a toilet with the travel agency we bought our tickets with...it did not. However, apart from at- no complaints. We then began to travel with a few pit stops and a food stop along the way.
I was awoken by the driver/staff shouting passport at us and I figured we were at passport control. Although, they did make us get out earlier than necessary. It is also very muddy around passport control so dress accordingly.
Like so many land crossings there were additional charges. The first of which was a $1 exit stamp from Vietnam. Something you need to cross into the Laos border. There is no way around it...unless your Vietnamese. This robbery happens at the Laos border, which is a bit of a walk away. At this border the price of visa increases for the weekend, again there is not a lot you can do. Be sure to check you have a Visa card and a stamp in your passport because if you don't, when you go to leave you will have alot of difficulties/you won't be leaving unless you pay a hefty price.
After this debarkle, we finally got back on the bus for the rest of the journey. When we arrived finally in Vientiane, we were first dropped at some random carpal before getting a free tuk tuk to the bus station courtesy of the bus company. From here, we got another tuk tuk to our hostel for 20kip.
Dream Home Hostel Facilities
We wanted to take some time to relax, especially after that whopper of a journey so we took advantage of the hostel facilities.
The newly built swimming pool was perfect for the day when temperatures were reaching 40 degrees!! The pool is just round the corner from the hostel. As swimming pools go it was actually quite a decent size. They do sell drinks here but they are cheaper from the shops. As there isn't any staff around, I don't know if they have an issue with you bringing your own but we never had any difficulty.
Within the hostel, they have a restaurant which sells a few Asian dishes but also burgers.it is bad but after 2months nearly of noodles and rice- I was over the moon for a burger. I had the chicken one and it was amazing. Thoroughly enjoyed it and if you are missing western food I would recommend you trying it especially because so many horror stories of eating western food whilst away and it ending badly shall we say...
Love Imogen xoxo