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Vientiane to Cambodia Dec '06 Trip Report

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi everyone

    7am tuk tuk (90,000K it’s about 10 kms) to Southern bus station to catch the 7.30 bus to Savannakhet (7 hrs 55,000K) Boy! they love those karaoke DVDs. Stayed at Phonevilay GH (2 rooms 55,000K each with h/w & a/c) Although I think if they moved out most of the furniture there would have been room for an extra bed. Note: 2 twin beds, 1 single wardrobe, 1 desk and chair, 1 stool, 1 coffee table, 2 basket chairs, mini fridge and TV (all in a 4m x 4m room, finding space for our bags was a challenge. After walking around town, we decided that an overnight stay was enough. Lao Paris for dinner: 10 – 15,000K meals.

    Southern bus station – we caught the 9am local bus to Pakse (30,000K). This was a very long day as we had gearbox breakdowns x 4, and in some small town we stopped to let a woman and her small son off the bus. He ran across the road in front of the bus and got clipped by a mini bus overtaking. Luckily we were right outside the hospital, so our driver scooped him up and took him in. We waited until he was pronounced ok, then we had to wait for the police to arrive with their tape measures to fill out a report and interview the driver. We were very happy to arrive in Pakse.

    We were dropped off on the side of the road, not at a station, which is weird, didn’t have a map, therefore didn’t know how far to the hotel – the rickshaw driver charged us $1 ea for about 500 metres of cycling – I bet we made his day. Pakse Hotel ($29 1db,1sg,a/c,tv and a bath! with breakfast) has a fantastic open-air rooftop restaurant, so even if you don’t stay here it’s worth coming for a drink at sunset, great views. Good noodle place on corner across street.

    Another southern bus station:- seeing how far our $3 took us the day before, we were amazed that the station was 8kms or so away, we kept thinking the driver is going to want more than the agreed $3 but no. On the way we saw another accident, A motorcyclist hit by a car – a friend of our drivers, so we had to stop and check it out – minor damage but off to hospital. (At this point in our story other travellers asked ‘tell us what bus are you on next because we’ll take another’)

    Bus station! A very grandiose term for the collection of stalls, all playing eardrum-bursting pop music and the single ticket booth, we found on arrival: Bus! – A jumbo songthaew with bags of concrete forming the middle aisle and they kept on packing the passengers in ($3 ea) but the journey wasn’t too bad, although we were a little worried when the driver continued past the Si Pan Don turnoff, and kept driving up dusty roads for a km or 2, to let people off, then turning around – must be the equivalent of the local school bus. Still finally reached Nakasang. Boat to Don Khon $2 ea.

    We had a booking at Sala Phae for Christmas, but as we arrived nearly 2 weeks too early, they were booked out. We stayed at Auberge Sala Don Khon (the old French colonial hospital) across the lane. We paid $18 for the double and $14 for a twin room in the original building.

    Walked to Don Dhet. I had my Travelfish map in hand – there is no way this is under 1 km - according to the map scale provided. We walked for 40-50 mins in hot afternoon sun through the cropped, un-treed middle of the island. According to my usual walking pattern I should have covered 4 – 5 kms, in that time.

    Don Dhet, very different, though at that time, very quiet. Tract bungalows in a straight line, 2 metres apart- same veranda, same hammock, same view. Didn’t walk all the way to the west end of the island – a bit same, same – after our long hot walk, I was more interested in a very cold beer. This is a challenge on an island with only generator power in the evenings.

    One thing about Don Khon, once the power goes, it is so dark … the stars are so bright, possibly the most brilliant light fest one could imagine. Chris got up in the middle of the night to have a pee and instead of finding the bathroom; 45 degrees - left-hand side of bed … ended up outside, 90 degrees, full front, because it was pitch black inside.

    Did the bicycle/boat trip to see the dolphins ($10 for 3) – we saw lots or the same one many times, one as close as 30 metres. The angle of the trees on the river is incredible, must be amazing in full flood. A flat tyre on my bike on the way back, so have to push it (pushbikes and me do not have a good relationship).

    We ate at Sala Phae for most meals: simply because it’s the best place on the river and the food was great. We were able to pay for our last breakfast at Sala Phae with a mixture of kip, dollars and baht, which was handy, as we had offloaded most of our kip buying our tickets to Phnom Penh ($26 ea).

    Boat to Don Khong (included in bus ticket) to catch the 9am minibus that will take us across the border. Good Morning Cambodia.

    Farewell to Laos

    Regards

    Marian

    #1 Posted: 17/2/2007 - 04:20

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  • rsawyer5

    Joined Travelfish
    15th June, 2008
    Posts: 7

    Hello Marian,

    I will be traveling through Vientiane, Laos to Siem Reap, Cambodia but I was curious how short/long this trip by bus? Are there buses that are more direct? Thank you very much for your help.

    #2 Posted: 15/6/2008 - 18:06

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi rsawyer5

    Sorry to take so long to reply, university assignments and work have kept me out of the loop and I haven't been checking the board as often as I would like. I don't think I can give you a very accurate answer to your question as we did the journey in 4 hits. Somtam may be able to give you a better idea. VTE to Pakse was 1 day, whether there is an over night bus through to the border I'm not sure - but I can't see the custom officials working through the night. Pakse to border 1 day, border to PP is another day, and PP to SR is 5 hours. If you don't have that much time I suggest flying. I love taking local buses and checking out the countryside and the people and we had plenty of time to do so.

    Hope this helps

    Marian

    #3 Posted: 12/7/2008 - 11:29

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi rsawyer5

    Sorry to take so long to reply, university assignments and work have kept me out of the loop and I haven't been checking the board as often as I would like. I don't think I can give you a very accurate answer to your question as we did the journey in 4 hits. Somtam may be able to give you a better idea. VTE to Pakse was 1 day, whether there is an over night bus through to the border I'm not sure - but I can't see the custom officials working through the night. Pakse to border 1 day, border to PP is another day, and PP to SR is 5 hours. If you don't have that much time I suggest flying. I love taking local buses and checking out the countryside and the people and we had plenty of time to do so.

    Hope this helps

    Marian

    #4 Posted: 12/7/2008 - 11:32

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Sorry Somtam

    Out of practice - forgot to logout first.

    #5 Posted: 12/7/2008 - 11:34

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