According to our travel voucher, we will be picked up from our hostel at 7.30 am to go to the bus station to board the VIP bus which was scheduled to leave Vientiane for Vang Vieng at 8 am. We checked out of our room, had breakfast and was ready with our luggages at 7.15 am. There were still no sign of anyone asking for us at 7.30 am. At 7.45 am I sought the help of the receptionist to call the number which was written down on the voucher. While the call was ringing he passed the phone to me and I thought that the other party could speak English. Instead, a guy spoke Lao and I passed back the phone back to the receptionist saying that I can’t understand what he was saying. To my shock, he told me he could not speak Lao as he is Vietnamese. Anyway, I asked him to try again and this time a lady answered and she was able to speak English. She told me that the pick-up will be at 09.30 am and the bus will leave at 10.00 am. What?!!! We had to wait for almost another 2 hours. This is just the beginning of my bad experience with transportation in Laos. 9.30 am came around and a chubby guy yelling “Vang Vieng” walked into our hostel. I double-checked with the receptionist to make sure that we are going with the right person as I understand there are many agents, buses and other forms of transportations that are being used. We were ushered into a truck-like vehicle….I know that a limousine is out of the question but a truck?!! (I later found out that it is called songthaew, a ubiquitous passenger vehicle in Laos and Thailand adapted from a pick-up or a larger truck and used as a shared taxi.)
Together with 3 good friends, I visited Laos for 10 days. Our entry point was Wattay International Airport, Vientiane and it was just 2.5 hours’ flight away from Kuala Lumpur. Immigration took slightly longer than expected as the officers took time to check the visa documents and passports. We were met by our driver sent from our hotel in Vientiane which costs us USD9 for the transfer. The distance from the airport to our hotel took merely 15 minutes.