15 hours

took took > night(mare) bus > took took > feet

Huay Xai > Luang Prabang

Huay Xai left little to be desired and we had made such good friends at the Gibbon Experience that we decided to skip the typical 2 day slow boat ride down the Mekong to Luang Prabang and take the night bus with the others that were headed that way. Seemed like a great idea at the time - trade about 48 hours of traveling (by boat) for 12 (by night bus).  Until…

The “VIP” night bus bed-style lay down bunks seemed like a great alternative to our usual overnight bus sitting up seats - until the 5 of us realized we got stuck in the back and that the bunks were made to fit a local - read: if I was too tall, Mik and our new friend Matt (6’ 5”) did not stand a chance.  Matt ended up squeezing in on his side on the floor (as he was even to wide to lay flat in the aisle).  A normal greyhound size bus had 3 rows of bunks (one on each side and one down the middle) in two layers.  In the bottom back it felt almost like a coffin.  The first few hours we stopped every hour… and just before midnight we got a flat tire (the one directly below me blew out).  Hitting a bump was like being body slammed, our entire bodies got that much air and I even hit my head on the bunk above me one of the (many) times it happened.  

We literally dubbed it the “nightmare bus.”  But we survived, and if bonding in a treehouse with strangers didn’t bring us close, this certainly did.