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Vang Vieng Express

Vang Vieng ExpressAfter a long, lazy breakfast the following morning, we decided to head north to Vang Vieng, which we'd been hearing lots of good things about, to do some trekking. Vientiene bus station was a crazed, hectic, concrete square of a place, with hundreds of people carting sacks and parcels around, shouting and yelling to each other.

After hunting around and asking a few people, we found the old, dirty, wreck of a bus for Vang Vieng, and clambered aboard over sacks of rice and garlic - the employees joking they were there to keep the vampires away. The bus slowly filled with happy Laotians speaking an alien language and piling ever more sacks between the seats, but apart from a few Thais, we were strangely the only backpackers on the bus. Vendors walked up and down outside the buses, trying to sell the most bizarre products through the open windows to passengers; calendars, posters, and all the things you need least on a bus journey through the country.

Finally the bus left, and after a long grind as it found it's way out of Vientiene's expanding sprawl, we were at last going through the Laos countryside, passing villages of bamboo huts, green fields, and climbing up into the steep hills. I was delighted to be looking out through an open window as new places slipped by, and the atmosphere on the bus was lovely as the happy locals headed back to their villages after a morning of buying and selling in the capital.

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