4/12/18: 4 Hours On A Plastic Chair (Local Bus From Pakse to Thakhek)

I woke up at 5:30 to run— I wanted to get some exercise early in the day since I knew I would be sitting on a bus the rest of the day.

Mountains around Pakse


I grabbed some breakfast to eat at the hostel: a baguette, some bananas, and coffee to go.
A truck picked Kevin and I up around 8 am to take us to the bus station.

Once we were there, we waited an hour and a half for the bus.
Random Asian tourists kept coming up to me, asking which bus station we were at, where I was going, where I stayed in Pakse, and where to go after. I was just a random girl at a bus station but they somehow thought I would be helpful to them.
When the bus finally arrived, we climbed aboard and soon realized that it was full— there were no more seats for us.

So many people & so much stuff
But no worries, they had plastic chairs!! To set up in the center aisle of the bus!! Thank god I paid full price for this bus. Definitely got my money’s worth.
Kevin and all his friends
We stopped every 30 minutes or so. It seemed the bus didn’t have any real stops. It would just let people off whenever someone yelled at the driver to pull over.
There were also a bunch of ladies who would periodically get on the bus to sell big sticks of meat and eggs. It was pretty disgusting, but it was also quite interesting to be immersed in the local culture. Everyone was sitting in their seats, huge sticks of meat in one hand, handful of sticky rice in the other, snacking away.

Just a bit of meat
About four hours into the ride, a bunch of people got off and I finally got a real seat.
I tried to get some sleep, but wasn’t so successful as I would wake up every time the bus stopped.
We got to Savannakhet, a major bus stop, around 3. We stopped there for about an hour. I used the toilet, ate some bananas, and waited.
Once we got moving again, we rode on for 30 minutes before taking another random 30 minute break.

We finally got to Thakhek around 7 pm and were immediately bombarded by tuk-tuk drivers.
One driver was asking for 60,000 kip (about $7), but we managed to negotiate it down to 20,000 kip (about $2.50).
We checked into our guest house, Thakhek Travel Lodge, where we saw Roos, a girl we met in Don Det (aka 4 Thousand Islands). She had just completed the Thakhek loop, which we would be starting tomorrow. Kevin and I had dinner with Roos and her Thakhek loop travel buddies at the hotel restaurant.
Sweet & sour veggies + rice
After food we played some cards and then went to bed around midnight.

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