Backpacking Laos – Dreaded bus trip from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang


  • Breakfast in Huay Xai
  • Huay Xai bus terminal
  • Day & night bus trip – Huay Xai to Luang Prabang
  • Arriving in Luang Prabang

Breakfast in Huay Xai

So I awoke in my little Laotian wooden guest hut to the sound of farm animals and workmen just outside the window to where I was sleeping. I showered under a cold-water shower that was very refreshing considering how ridiculously hot and humid it was. Once I got my bag packed and ready to leave I checked out and went to the same place where I had dinner the night before for some breakfast. I thought since I didn’t spend the night sitting on the toilet then the food I had for dinner must have been ok.

However, I am not too sure if the dinner was a lot better or if it was the effects of the Beer Lao but the breakfast was not quite as tasty as the dinner. I ate it nevertheless since I knew that I would be in for a long long bus ride to Luang Prabang.

I finished breakfast, with a little help from a couple of feral local cats that seemed to constantly hang around, and I then caught a tuk tuk to the main bus terminal. It was 10:30am and I was told that the bus would be leaving at 11am. Boy was I misinformed, no, no, no the bus actually didn’t arrive until 1pm.

Huay Xai bus terminal

So I was stuck at this dirty and dusty bus terminal in the middle of nowhere with not an English speaking soul in sight. The few locals that were present at the bus terminal were looking at me like I had two heads and a third arm protruding from my butt – needless to say I was receiving some odd stares from some of the locals.

I decided to take an edge off so I started to get drunk at about 11am in the morning on Beer Lao of course – God I love backpacking!!! So I ended up drinking three tall Beer Laos and pretty much just paced around the dusty terminal compound listening to David Chappelle’s live audio performance on my iPod.

Day & night bus trip – Huay Xai to Luang Prabang

As soon as the bus arrived at 1pm I jumped straight on and claimed the entire back row but that was short lived after 2 hours into the trip we picked up several locals and a few pommy backpackers. After a further 2 hours we dropped them off as they were traveling on to the Northern Province of Luang Nam Tha.

Ok so I thought that this wasn’t so bad I only had another 4 hours to go until we got to Luang Prabang.

SHIT – was I wrong! This ended up being the smelly and stinking hot bus trip from hell.

We stopped at Oudomxay Province in the town of Muang Xai and this is when it dawned on me that we had already been traveling for 10 hours and that we were only just over half way. Luckily for the first half of the trip it was an extremely slow and gut wrenching run due to the long and windy roads through the mountains of Northern Laos. At various points the bus had to slow down to approximately 40 km/her.

I was grateful to be able to get an extra seat next to me when a few people got off the buss at Muang Xai but that didn’t really help the bus was just so old an uncomfortable – but hey that’s cheap traveling for you as a backpacker in Asia. I guess the only good and interesting thing was that I got to see a lot of the countryside of Laos and the traditional way in which many of the locals live and work in their wooden huts.

Arriving in Luang Prabang

After 16 hours on the bloody thing (not included stops) we reached Luang Prabang. It was 3:45am and there were about 4 or 5 other weary backpackers getting off at the terminal. We retrieved our backpackers, which were strapped to the roof of the bus and grabbed a tuk-tuk into town. It seems like you can find a tuk-tuk anywhere in Asia regardless of the time and locations. We were all so tired and just wanted a decent shower and a soft surface to sleep on.

The tuk-tuk driver took us to the Sokdee Guesthouse that ended up being 60,000 kip for a room with a fan and 100,000 kip for a room with air conditioning. I took the 60,000 kip fan room, had a shower and literally crashed into bed.

Josh Boorman


Backpacking Addictz

Twitter: @backpackaddictz

Backpacking Addictz is a website set up by backpackers for the use of backpackers. On this site you will find a lot of very valuable information surrounding different destinations around the world and tips and advice on budget travel and backpacking. You will also find an enthusiastic and insightful backpacking blog which is regularly updated with new posts and article.

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Joshua Boorman

Joshua Boorman

Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
Joshua Boorman
About The Author

Joshua Boorman

Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.


  • Josh


    April 1, 2010

    Von – I generally try to post 2-3 per week, I am glad you enjoy them and I hope you keep coming back and Sign on for my FREE NEWSLETTER.

    Jonathon – I am glad my post was of some help for you.

    Casar – I am in the process of putting together a heap of information which I will probably put into an eBook. It will explain the best ways to create a successful travel blog and even how to profit from it. Keep a look out for it as I intend on publishing it in the coming months.

    Thanks for the kind comments guys, please sign on to my Free NEWSLETTER if you like the content on my site.

  • Backpacking Southeast Asia

    October 12, 2011

    One thing that really caught my attention when on these long bus journeys were the amount of local people who got travel sick. At first it made me fee quite queasy, watching and hearing them vomit into sandwich bags, but after 3 months of it I was pretty much used to it!

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