VIP is not what it sounds like. Rider beware! And we got scammed by our guesthouse on the price. 200,000 Kip, which is like $25 US. It was supposed to be on an overnight sleeper bus, with a toilet and food provided. Yes it had tiny little sleeper cabin that short asian folks could cram into, but for us larger Farang ( foreigner ), it provides quite the conundrum- especially since its an overnight 12 hour trip. There was even a man who was from Laos- he now lived in Texas, but was visiting, and he refused to sleep in the sleeper. Instead he stood guard by the stinky foul bathroom all night. Poor guy. The joke of the hole thing was that there are 4 sleeper buses that go to Pakse from Vientiene and somehow we got stuck with the bum ride. The other 3 buses were actually quite luxurious and would have been a great overnight ride....ah shucks, luck of the draw I guess... Good story making material though.
12 hours later, and very little sleep, although because the other guy opted to stand all night, anthea and I actually ended up with the best seats on the bus.
We slept next to a man and his wife who were headed back home to Pakse. He was great. Very friendly. He showed us pictures of his family and gave us his name and number in Pakse. Only thing is he had a cold, and I ended up catching it. Oh well. He was really cool so in a way it was worth it.
Anyways, we survived the evil night bus and made it to the south of Laos where it is stinking hot! 35plus.... and its going to get hotter the further south we go. Got to love it.
We arrived in Pakse around 7am and headed to get some grub. Anthea was set to get us a room so she venture off an booked the first room she could get us with hot water. $80,000 kip which is about $10 US. Cheap. It turned out to be good for the night. We were able to recover from the bus ride and explore the new location with a renewed sense of curiousity.
Pakse is a beautiful spot. Less crowded and busy than Vientiene or Luang Prabang, it was a welcome retreat from those city experiences of the north- wonderful as they were. Although there are less colonial buildings, the people are just so relaxed. And there is a wonderful walkway along the Mekong River.
Pakse- 5 Star sunsets.