I paid $22 for a bus ticket from Sapa, Vietnam to Muang Khua, Laos. The bus left at 7PM from Lao Cai to Dien Bien Phu on Saturday. There were 3 other foreigners on the bus but the sleeping bus was overloaded with locals. There were people laying on the floor and some were just sitting on the floor for hours. We were supposed to arrive Dien Bien Phu at 5AM but there were couple times we were stuck on the road for at least couple hours each time. We didn’t reach until 8:30AM and there is only one bus to Muang Khua which leaves at 5:30AM so we missed our bus.
I was with one girl from Finland and 2 guys from France. We ate breakfast first then decided to take taxi to Tay Trang border of Vietnam. It was a little over 30km and we paid about $6 each.
Luckily, I got connected to the wifi so I got to have my google translate to show to immigration officer that we want to go to Laos. Finally, I got my exit stamp! We found out that Laos border is in Phongsaly Province which is 6km from the Vietnam border. There was no means of transportation. We had to walk for about 2 hours. It was raining and the road was mostly uphill but the view was beautiful and before we know it, there’s the Laos border!
After the immigration officer stamped my passport he asked me to pay $3. I don’t know what was that for but I just paid. After the rest of the foreigners got their visas, we had to figure out how to get further to Laos because again there was no means of transportation. One local can speak English a little bit and he said we can go with the truck but he will charge us $12 each! That was very expensive but we just had to go for it since we were in no-mans land!
It was my first time to get on this big truck and oh my God, we were running between 10km and 20km per hour. It took us 4 hours to Muang Khua. We were dropped of in a little town about 7PM and we saw a guesthouse. We checked in, freshened up then met for dinner. Of course we had to try Laos beer.
We found out that to get to other places we have to go to Muang Xay City a.k.a Oudomxay. The bus leaves at 8AM the next day. I was beat so after dinner, I just went to sleep. We decided to leave at 7AM to the bus station of Muang Khua so I woke up at 6AM. It was 2km from where we were and the tuktuk cost 5000 kip per person. We had noodle soup for breakfast while waiting for the bus. We left at exactly 8:30AM and arrived about 11:25AM in Oudomxay bus station. I wanted to go to Luang Prabang so I bought a ticket for the bus supposed to leave at 11:30AM but did not leave until 12:30PM. The 3 other foreigners went to other directions so we all parted our ways.
It was another 7 hours bus ride for me then I finally reached Luang Prabang. Since I did not know when I’d be here and I was on the road for like 2 days, I did not have any hostel booking. The tuktuk cost 20,000 kip to the central. I just checked in to the first guesthouse I found which is Merry Guesthouse for $10/night because I didn’t have energy to walk around anymore to find a cheaper place. There is no dorm so I have a one big bed room with bathroom and this is just what I needed tonight.
I think my trip would have been easier and cheaper if I waited for the bus the next day in Dien Bien Phu but it sure wouldn’t have been as fun and unforgettable adventure like what I had. I’m still glad I crossed the border from Vietnam to Laos the way I did.