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Sapa to Luang Prabang by bus. June 08
30th April, 2008
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First off don’t do this journey if you get travel sick, get sick when you see other people vomit or are scared of heights! If the answer is no to each of these then the journey is long but the scenery is absolutely stunning and well worth the time.
You can get the bus from opposite the petrol station. However by this point of my travels I could not be bothered to organize myself properly and paid double for the hotel to bring me there and sort out my seat on the local bus.
The bus leaves at around 8 I would get there at atleast 7.40am. If you are traveling by yourself and don’t want the hassle of bargaining and making sure you are indeed on the right bus it costs $15. The other foreigners got themselves there and got their tickets on the bus. They were charged 200,000d but bargained down to 150,000d each.
We changed buses once during the journey and arrived in dien bien city around 4.30pm. They stopped for toilet breaks but not long enough to get lunch so bring food with you.
We stayed in the Vietnam airlines hotel for 150,000d per room as it was clean and close to the bus station.
You buy your bus ticket from the bus station. The journey goes from dien bien to Muang Khua (Laos) and costs 84,000d on the local bus. It leaves at 5.30am on Sun, Mon, Wens and Fri. Book the night before.
We reached the Tay Trang border at around 8am checked out on the viet side and then drove to the Laos side. We got visas on arrival you just need to fill out a form and make sure you have a photo. This cost $36 for the visa and a 7,000kip stamping fee from the police. Save yourself a lot of hassle and cash and make sure you bring dollars to the border. Some of the others were paying in dong and ended up with a rate of 20,000d to the $. Change your money if you can before you get to the border.
We then got back on the bus and reached Muang Khua at around 12. The bus stops at the river and you need to get the boat across which costs 2,000kip.
If you walk to the top of the village then you will find the bus shack. There was a bus ready to go to Udomaxi but it was full so we waited until the next one. They told us it would be going at 3pm so we went for lunch and just as we got it the driver ran down to tell us the bus was full and ready to go. We ended up perched in any available space so my advice is to wait at the bus stop and get on the bus ASAP so that you get a seat and don’t end up on the rice bags! The journey cost 35,000kip and took 3 hours.
We could of got on the evening bus to Luang Prabang which left at 6pm and arrived at 11.30pm but couldn’t face it so stayed in the hotel directly opposite the bus station. It was run by a cranky lady but cost 40,000kip per room and was in rolling distance to the bus.
Buses to Luang Prabang leave at 8 and 11.30am and cost 60,000kip. The journey took us just over 5 hours. The LP bus station is out of town so we jumped in a song whatever its called into town which cost us 10,000kip each.
#1 Posted: 24/6/2008 - 19:13
Great report -- thanks!
"so we jumped in a song whatever..."
ha ha ha!
#2 Posted: 25/6/2008 - 07:34
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