Crossing the Laos-Vietnam Border: The Bus From Savannakhet to Hue
We took a bus from Vientiane to Savannakhet which was a killer nine-hour ride. Our butts were sore but we headed to Leena Guest House for the night.The next day we were up early to catch the 9am bus going from Savannakhet to Hue, Vietnam. It was a sleeper bus. A new experience for us. We had middle seats; not the best. I had the coffin-like bottom bunk, but Ryan was pretty comfortable on the top rack.
After an hour I was cramped and uncomfortable. For some inexplicable reason there is a nifty tray placed perfectly at shin level, and the seat was far too short to stretch your legs out. I’m 5’10” but you would have to be under 5’5″ to fit comfortably in one of those seats, especially if you were planning on getting any sleep. The hinge of the seat sits at the level of your tailbone allowing about 10 minutes of comfortable sitting time before you have to fidget some more. Having all you weight on your tailbone is not the best way to travel. Thinking that this couldn’t get any worse, cramped into a coffin with not enough headroom to sit up straight for ten hours, the bus stopped to pile on a bunch of passengers who didn’t have seats and they proceeded to sit on the floor surrounding me. Some of them laid down and went to sleep on the floor, others decided to lay their heads on my seat or use me as a general foot/arm/back rest. There was a gross meal included though!We got to the Lao Bao/Dansavanh border crossing at about 3pm. Crossing the border was a breeze. We had got our Vietnamese visas ahead of time (in Sihanoukville, Cambodia — a 15 minute process). The bus drops you off at Laos immigration to get your exit stamp, then you walk five minutes down the road to Vietnam, show your Vietnamese visa, and pay US$1 for the privilege of entering the country, then back on the bus. The entire process took 45-60 minutes.We arrived in Hue, Vietnam around 7:30pm (10 hours after our departure) stiff and tired and hungry.