Journey from Hue in Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos
Documenting our Day of Travel with an iPhone Camera
We’re now in Vientiane, capital city of Laos! New country, new adventure. Those of you who follow on us on Twitter (or indeed Facebook or the little Twitter widget on the front page here) may have seen me attempting to tweet our journey here. Unfortunately, I got carried away and drained the battery in my phone too quickly. So, I’m here to cover it properly.
After my long, wordy last post I thought I give our readers a little break from processing so much text, here is a photo based post about our day travelling between Hue in central Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos All the pics were taken on my phone, hence the patchy quality.
We booked and paid for the bus journey several days earlier with a local agent; cost 80,000 VND each (£2.49/person) The agent told us it would take 4 hours.
We then finally arrived in Da Nang, the bus dropping us off in the city centre. It had taken just under 4 hours. We hailed a taxi and headed straight to the airport in air-conditioned comfort. (Taxi cost: 70,000 VND including 15,00 airport surcharge, £2.18)
We queued up and made it through security. We have never yet been asked to separate our liquids in any airport in India or south east Asia and Da Nang was no different. We are always ready to be asked (1 litre plastic bags at the ready) and at this check point I was ready for us to have several things confiscated. They were not. We got through with an oversize toothpaste and aerosol deodorant without a peep from the scanner operators.
Da Nang airport had been fresh modern and easy to navigate; Hanoi was the complete opposite. On arrival we struggled to navigate to the right desk and found the building very busy, dark and depressing.
After rushing to check in (our bags, again, were not weighed), queueing for rather a long time at immigration where I had to have a word in my teacher voice with a man trying to push in and then making it through security with contraband items for the second time that day we made it to the dingy departure hall where all items of food cost a ridiculous amount of money and there were no foreign exchange booths. We needed some US dollars to pay for our visa on arrival in Laos and, thanks to my paid-in-cash wages we had plenty of Dong but no Dollars. After asking in a few shops we eventually did an exchange at a duty free perfume and chocolate shop, at not quite as good a rate as a booth would have provided. Judging from the reaction of the staff it was not an uncommon request.
After landing we made our way through to immigration and had our 30 day (full page) visas added to our passports for the sum of $35 each. At the immigration point we had the novel experience of an immigration officer who smiled and made small talk with us – a first in all our experiences so far. We made our way outside expecting to be besieged by taxi drivers but nothing of the sort happened. We stood and watched enormous 4x4s pull up and drop people off and nobody approached us at all. In the end we had to go hunting back inside the terminal and arranged a taxi into town with a pre-paid voucher. The shiny, silent taxi took us into town and we eventually found a reasonably priced place to lay our heads for the night.
So, after 1 bus, 2 taxis, 2 flights and some walking we were in a new country. We’ve had to get used to a new currency (Laotian Kip) and a new language and so far, quite a bit of rain. More on Vientiane in my next post.
Hue, Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos – 20th June 2013