Ban Houayxay, Bokèo, Laos at 3:18pm ICT.
tagged as laos tag leader Michele
After the long wait in the heat, we were all cleared to go. Unfortunately, only one large bus and two minibuses arrived to take us all to our destinations in Cambodia. Ignoring our protests and complaints, they told us we had no choice but to all pile into the bus. If we didn't like it, we could go back to Laos. The bus was so full, there wasn't enough room in the cargo area to hold all of our luggage. The people that got on last had to hold theirs in their laps as they sat on the floor of the aisle in a bus without ac.
It was a miserable ride, but thankfully I was getting out in Stung Treng to catch another bus so the ride was only one hour for me.
The second scam of the day came when we were all walking across the border. They told everyone we needed to get our temperature checked at the neck. Once some people were checked, they were told they needed to pay a $1 fee for the service. This is all BS. There's no quarantine, health check, or fee at the border. This is just a scam to get free money from tourist that don't know any better. I just walked and ignored the people telling me I needed to pay.
After this, we sat at the crossing for about two hours, waiting for everyone to get their passports back.
When the buses arrived at the border, we all had to met off since they don't continue into Cambodia. We were told after we had all cleared immigration and crossed the border, we would get new buses. Off we all trudged, leaving Laos.See the trip: Round the World: Part 2 (the second 28 days)
Around 9:30, the passport guy marched us all to the buses. There were two large buses and one minibus to take everyone to the border, and there still weren't enough seats for everyone. Luckily, it's a short drive so those that were standing didn't have to do so for long.See the trip: Round the World: Part 2 (the second 28 days)
Once at the mainland, I was directed to the bus stop area, where this guy has a desk set up. He gave me the forms for Cambodia and then said I need to give him $25 for the visa and $5 for a fee, which was the first scam of the day. While the visa does cost $25, the fee should only be $2. However, I was told if I didn't give him my passport and there was any hold up at the border, then bus would leave without me. Since everyone else was giving him their passport and the $30, I did the same. I wish I had stuck to my guns because the two people who did and went through immigration themselves only paid the $25 for the visa and the $2 fee.See the trip: Round the World: Part 2 (the second 28 days)
After the long, hot walk with little to no shade, I went for a swim in the Mekong at "the beach." The current was pretty strong since it was just below the falls I had seen the day before. I didn't think about that as I got in and tried to swim across to where there were a few people lazing about on the other side. I was quickly caught up in the current, but managed to make it to the other side. Two very nice gentlemen asked if I was only and joked with me about my lack of swimming skills. After hanging out with them for a half hour or so, I decided to head back. They formed a support team for me and made sure I made it back to the other side safely instead of heading to Cambodia via the Mekong.See the trip: Round the World: Part 2 (the second 28 days)
My butt was still sore from the bumpy bike ride in Vang Vieng so I decide to walk to Khone Pa Soi waterfall instead of riding a bike since the road looked just as bad. It was significantly further than the previous day's walk and incredibly hot. The falls were not as impressive but the fishing village was interesting to see since they use traditional fishing methods.See the trip: Round the World: Part 2 (the second 28 days)