Another night with little sleep (abed at 4:30am, awake at 8:00am) before rushing around packing everything, changing currency and scoffing some breakfast. I had to walk to another hostel where a tuk-tuk was to collect me to take me to the bus area on the old runway. In honesty, I’d have been as well walking to the bus – it was the same distance.
Just as the tuk-tuk departed, I remembered I still had my room key in my pocket. Whoops. I handed it to the guy at the hostel I was leaving from and asked him if he would return it to Babylon, which he agreed to do so. Then as we were approaching the bus, I looked out the back of the tuk-tuk to see Kam from Babylon bearing down on us on his motorbike! A rushed – noisy – conversation followed where I passed him the name of the hostel where I’d left the keys and he zoomed off to get them.
I’d been warned about this bus trip being a little rough, so I wasn’t too bothered about not having slept. I usually catch up quite well on these journeys. However, it didn’t work out that way.
The road up to Luang Prabang isn’t that bad as far as the surface goes. A little bumpy, but certainly better than it would have been 5-6 years ago. What hasn’t changed is the actual layout. The route follows old cow-tracks or something through the mountains and to say it meanders would be like saying a politician is ever so slightly dishonest. There were periods where the driver would turn the bus through 180 degree hairpin bends every 100m.
As such, sleep was difficult. It’s hard to relax enough to snooze when you have to cling onto your seat to avoid ending up in the aisle. Still, I managed maybe two hours’ shuteye on the six hour journey.
Finally in Luang Prabang, we were ripped off by the tuk-tuk at the bus depot (this always happens – it’s kind of expected as you’ve nowhere else to turn to) and got dropped off sort of in the right area. Ish.
I’d buddied up with the two Dutch girls I met in Vang Vieng, and we found the main road fairly easily. They opted for a guest house at $8 per room for the two of them. The joys of travelling on my own, I decided against the same cost for my single and looked along the street. I settled on the Bou Pha Guest House mainly as the old guy sat outside wasn’t hassling anyone to look at his lovely rooms. It was pleasant enough and $4 per night, which wasn’t going to break the bank.
After a much-needed shower, I headed out for dinner at a nearby restaurant I’d spotted while having a stroll. The food looked nice, the prices fairly keen and the wi-fi free. I’m such a sucker. I sat there for almost three hours and wasn’t hassled even once to order more than my main course and a drink. I did, however, have the same old man beg from me several times and more than one cute kid try to sell me trinkets. The staff were in no rush to shift them, but on the other hand a simple “no, sorry” and a wave sent them on their way. Thankfully they’re not as determined (or annoying) as their Indian cohorts.
Then, much too late again, to bed. I have two full days here so I need to make the most of them.