Right! I was back after the 5 days and 6 nights of my trip to Luang Prabang. From Bangkok to Nongkhai, Thailand; crossing Thailand and Laos borders by the first friendship bridge; traveling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang via one stop in Vang Vieng and the return trip vice versa without stopping in Vang Vieng – The total round trip distance is approximately 2,070 kilometers. It was not the longest road trip distance I have ever made. But it became the longest bus trip for me at least by now.
My journey was started on last Tuesday in the evening. I departed from Mo Chit, the north eastern bus station, with a bit unusual atmosphere as Bangkok’s political situation at that time.
A VIP 24 seats bus was a choice. Overall bus service was quite good. A quick meal box for dinner, a snack box for breakfast and a bottle of water and a cold handkerchief were served. A seat size was big enough to comfort a passenger who was going to travel up to 9-10 hours. In fact, I thought its size is bigger than a business class seat of some airlines. I paid 750 bath (apprx. US$22) on this.
Heading to Nong Khai and aiming to cross Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge, I arrived to Nong Khai Bus Station in early morning of the next day. A Thai-Laos International Bus Service of the route between Nong Khai – Vientiane which was firstly operated in early 2004 made my crossing both countries borders much easier.
A bus schedule is set off in every two hours. I took the first round at 0730am. A bus was full by local Thai and Laos people and of course some tourists like me. I was curious that there did not have foreign tourists, though.
A distance between Nong Khai to Vientaine is actaully not too far, approximately 30 kilometers. Anyhow, Immigration processes at two ports could cause traveling times. It took me 2 hours for the immigration processes and traveling on the bus on that day.
The international bus stopped at Talad Chao (Morning Market) Bus Station. I then took a jumbo car (tuktuk) to the Northern Bus Station which is about 8 kilometers far away.
At the Northern bus station, in fact, there is a bus station of the Southern route also, I caught an express local bus which directly runs to Vang Vieng – my first stop of the entire trip to Luang Prabang.
Listened to my top-rated songs on iPod, took many naps on the on and off air-condition bus and had the sticky rice with grilled pork sticks I bought from Nong Khai market for lunch, finally the bus reached to Vang Vieng in late afternoon after taking 4 hours for 160 kilometers distance!! Although, I still had more than 200 kilometers to go but after 18 hours passed since I left Bangkok, I really wanted to rest on a mattress!!