Vientiane – Nongkhai – Bangkok: 15 hours ride, 190’000 LAK (about 20 US$)
The bus was a big coach and since I had the cheapest ticket I had to change into the night bus at Nongkhai. There were more expensive busses (250’000 LAK, about 25 US$) which went directly from Vientiane to Bangkok. Once the bus arrived at the border we had to leave the bus to get our passports stamped (and leave everything on the bus). Be sure to remember the bus number, I almost lost my bus! Once we exited Laos we drove towards the Thai border and there we had to take our bags though security (I was pretty scared about security since I had had to leave the backpack on the bus while exiting Laos). The whole procedure was very efficient and quick (nothing like the 3h cue I found entering Laos from Chiang Khong). Once I entered Thailand I looked for my bus and couldn’t find it. I nearly got a heart attack when I saw another bus with „Bangkok“ written on it drive away. Nobody seemed to speak english, but after a while I understood that I had to get onto the same bus which would take me to the Nongkhai bus station, where I would have to change to another coach towards Bangkok. The bus was already at the bus station, but left only 2 hours after I arrived (it was perfectly on time though!). I was the only foreigner at the bus station and in the bus. There was a small shop nearby so I bough some cup noodles for dinner and sat down in the waiting area.
The bus ride: warrior defeating cockroaches
The ticket contained a seat reservation (it was in Thai, so only the driver understood it). The double-decker bus had normal bus seats upstairs and more comfortable seats downstairs. From what I guessed the seats upstairs must have been even cheaper (although I got the cheapest ticket available as a tourist in Vientiane). The lower floor consisted in only 8 seat, and luckily only 3 other people were there. The seats were more reclinable then the ones you usually find on an airplane and very comfortable. There were soft pillows and blankets available on each seat. There was more than enough legroom. As if all this wasn’t enough – the driver was extremely friendly, even though we couldn’t really speak – his english was about as good as my thai („sabadee-kaa“ is all I know). He handed me a cardboard box with a water bottle, a juice, instant coffee & tea as well as crackers and a muffin!
It all seemed to good to be true until I saw more and more little brown cockroaches coming out of a hole from the drivers window and crawling towards me. I panicked a little and thought how I had survived sleeping in the same room as a HUGE cockroach in Luang Prabang, I closed the small window to the driver from which the „cockie“ had come from. The bus was very clean, but I guess cockroaches in Asia are treated like ants back in Europe – nothing really special, just a little annoying. I’ve always been scared of cockroaches since they are disgusting, can fly sometimes and move very quickly. At that point I realized that I still had to spend another 10 hours on that bus and that I was the only one who noticed (or cared?) about the cucarachas (sounds more fun in spanish!). I decided that it was wiser to try and get some rest since I’d arrive at 5am in Bangkok and would still have to look for a hostel. And so I did (wrapped in my own blanket and hoodie like a burrito) – courageous warrior Virginia, survived the cockroach infested ride all the way to Bangkok. I think this experience calls for a golden star! 🙂
The worse I had imagined (having cockroaches where I slept) had happened TWICE. Once I jumped out of the bus I though how everything could only get better. And that I didn’t want to take another bus in Asia for a while.