The bus was on-time (actually got to Luang Prabang early), but the conditions were pretty bad. The shuttle that takes you to the bus station at 18:00 didn't mention that you have to wait 2.5 hours at the station (food stalls close by the time you arrive). Also, the bus operators have no idea what assigned seats mean. It's mostly first-come first-serve and everyone ignores their ticket's seat number. It was a hassle finding a bed and the sheets smelled terrible.
Communication on what bus to get was poor, we got told to stay on transport which was going to Paksa when we were going to Luang Prabang. The driving was crazy and my partner was unable to sleep more than 2hrs. Air conditioning was good and bed wasn’t too bad.
We travelled with overnight bus from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. On the plus side - we arrived early (just in time for the sunrise alms-giving ceremony) and managed to get some sleep on the way. There was AC and we got blankets. On the minus side - we had to arrive at 18:00 in the Soutchai office, while the bus leaves at 20:30 from the Northern bus station. We first waited for the transfer from the office to the bus terminal. Our vouchers were changed into tickets there and we had to wait nearly 2 hours at the dirty station. The bus was there, but they would not let us in before the 20:15. The price of the ticket at the station was 150.000 kip, we paid twice the price (over 30$) per person through 12GoAsia. The reclining seats allows you to sleep if you are less than 170 cm. There is no toilet and no toilet stops on the way. Instead of 8:00am stated on the tickets we arrived at 5:20am. Also we arrived to Southern station in Luang Prabang, while our tickets stated that we will arrive at the Northern one. Still this trip was more restful than the other way round.
I bought the ticket via 12go and I am aware that they are only selling the ticket and are not operating the buses. The bus had 12-15 passengers, give or take, during the tour. The trip between Vientiane and Luang Prabang was interesting and I can summarize it as:
- We made it all the way without any incidents . That said there was several near-misses and some serious incidents observed on the way (see below)
- The driver of the bus was politely and friendly
- The air-con was not to cold (which is often a problem on this buses)
- Plenty of stops en-route (might be annoying for some) ensured that the engine - and most importantly - the brakes could cool down before continue the ride.
- We observed a truck involved in a "front to front" collision with another heavy vehicle. This caused some delays both southbound and northbound.
- We observed an incident involving two motorcycles with at least two fatalities. Shocking!
- I showed up the 1 hour before pick up (as instructed on the ticket) just to experience that I had to wait for 1 hour and 20 minutes for the pick-up.
- At the bus station there was some confusion about which bus to take, wen it was leaving etc, but it was sorted out in the end.
- The bus was old, noisy and had seen better days. But remember- this is Laos
- The roads was bumpy, and to some extent, unpaved. But remember- this is Laos
Overall we managed to reach the destination safely and on time.
However, we booked a sleeper van but we got a sleeper bus where the aircon broke down.
厢型车 14 座区域厢型车, PTS Transit Service (คุณเป๋อ บริการ ขนส่ง), 2019年4月10日
The driver who picked me up was very helpful and kind. The bus left 45 minutes late, and we got to Luang Prabang 3 hours late. The bus smelled very moldy and made me cough. The bathroom was closed, which was very inconvenient for me because I was sick. Thankfully the driver stopped many times so we could use the bathroom. The bus service was kind about letting me have my own bed since I am bigger than most Asian people.
厢型车 14 座区域厢型车, PTS Transit Service (คุณเป๋อ บริการ ขนส่ง), 2019年4月4日
Long and hard on the butt. All okay. Thanks!
厢型车 14 座区域厢型车, PTS Transit Service (คุณเป๋อ บริการ ขนส่ง), 2019年2月20日