Photo: Fisherman returning to Ko Tarutao.

Trip reports forum

Lao Bao to Dong Ha: How to Hitch a Ride in Vietnam

Posted by valaria7 on 25/7/2009 at 16:09

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hey Travelfish Travellers!

Wondering if anyone else has had the humerous experience of travelling in a mini-van from the Lao border (Lao Bao) to Dong Ha in Vietnam?

We did this little trip recently and in addition to some pretty typical "crazy" driving, we happened to fall in with some cigarette smugglers (we originally thought they had drugs). Three of the "passengers" lept from the vehicle with their bundles a few km's from Lao Bao and zoomed on motos through a customs checkpoint, while we were conspicuously displayed as proof that the van was really a "Tourist Van".

After showing us off to the customs officials who checked our passports thoroughly, the young guys with the contraband (who hadn't been searched at the checkpoint as the officials were occupied with the foreigners!)scrambled back into the car about 10 km's down the road.

At the next checkpoint we didn't stop, but they took the precaution of making us sit on the side of the vehicle in view of the officials. Pretty necessary given they were "wearing" their contraband in vests of 10 or 15 cartons each which made them look pretty fat for local guys!!

In Dong Ha, they did also try to stiff us over the fare, but we got off with about 60,000 VND extra as there was no way they were giving us any change. We made enough of a fuss that a crowd gathered and the driver wanted to avoid the attention.

No moral to the story, other than to wonder if others have had this experience and if so did you manage to look "touristy" enough :)


#1 valaria7 has been a member since 30/1/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by MADMAC on 10/8/2009 at 18:28

Nope. I don't tend to travel with smugglers... bad idea.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by eggewaertslamp on 12/8/2009 at 16:00

read a similar story in Travelpod, travelblog 3 oct 2008 Vietnam central highlands " trapped in the back of a drugs baron's van waiting to be murdered"

#3 eggewaertslamp has been a member since 10/5/2009. Posts: 4

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.