When planning our trip, we came across numerous blogs and reviews of the trip from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, labelling the transport as ‘The Nightmare Bus’. So we thought, why not have a crack at it!
After our last encounter with overnight buses, how bad could this really be? I mean, the roads were meant to be in a lot better condition than last time. The buses looked nicer online too. What could be so bad about this one that earns it such a title?
Our hostel organised a tuk tuk for us to take us to the Bus Station, and after an initial scare that this bus was once again a bunk bed bus (thankfully it was not) we climbed on to find reclining seats.
Already this was much better than the Thailand-Laos expedition. The roads were smoother, there was slightly more space to put our luggage and more space to spread out a bit. However, I soon realised how this trip earned it’s ominois title.
All in all, we spent a solid 24 hours on this bus. What is initally a comfy ride becomes a serious test of patience. 24 hours is a long time, with only one stop for food at a restaurant that looks like it spawned Salmonella Patient Zero.
A quick hop across the vietnamese border, and a few hours later we we were transferred to a 25 seat minibus. 25 seats means 25 passengers right? Nope. Not in Vietnam! The conductor started pulling out stools to sit people in the aisle to accomodate more passengers. I think at one point I counted 37 passengers! I found myself squished into the back corner with the air conditioning unit poking me in the head and my knees being crushed against the back of the chair in front. Two hours later, we arrived in the centre of Hanoi. Tired, bedraggled and no longer knowing what day it was, but in Hanoi.