Luang Prabang to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) (Part 2)

Luang Prabang to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) (Part 2)

So for part one, my trip from Luang Prabang took me to Vientiane's Northern Bus Terminal, which was wayyyyyy out of the city. To take a bus to Pakse, the base for transferring to Si Phan Don by boat, I had to get to the Vientiane's Southern Bus Terminal. This involves a troublesome process of having to take 2 buses, one to the Central Bus Terminal, located right beside the Morning Market, another from the Central Bus Terminal to the Southern one.

Once you alight from the bus from Luang Prabang, you will be able to see a bus that states Central Bus Station (or something along that line) waiting to pick up passengers. Shoo off the couple of songthaew drivers waiting there to bring you into the city, and walk straight to the (big) bus with the most people on it, and it will take you straight to the Central Bus Station, also known as the Talad Sao  (Morning Market) Bus Station. The bus ride will cost you a meagre 5000 kips (S$0.70).

No photos as I was too busy figuring my way out of the sweltering heat that was bearing down on me.

Once you alight at the Central Bus Station, you'll be met with touts. A whole lot of touts. Fortunately they weren't too aggressive and let me go with me easy. Do not let them scam you by saying that no buses go to the Southern Bus Terminal.

Once there, get to the bus berth furthest away from the main road. or the one deepest into the terminal, whichever rocks your boat and help you find your way, to get onto another bus for 3000 kips (S$0.40), to get you to your destination. If it helps, you can ask the conductor or the bus driver of the buses that approach whether they go to the Southern Bus Terminal, known as Dong Dok in Lao (Pai-Dong Dok-Baw?) (Bye-Dong Dok-Bowl?).

No photos again because sweltering heat, guys.

Once at the Southern Bus Terminal, you will be able to see this HUGE board with different schedules and different types of buses that go to different places. Pretty helpful, I reckon.

Vientiane's Southern Bus Terminal

Schedules for different buses
After deciding which one to take, and to where, you can just head over to the counter, that has the locations labelled all over them, to buy a ticket. The ticket to Pakse, for a VIP bus was 170000 kips (S$22), pretty decent for such a long trip.

The bus was pretty comfortable except for the fact that it is a sleeper bus and you had to share a twin bed. Yes. the sleeper beds on the bus were all twin beds, and unless you buy two tickets or have a partner travelling with you, you'll be sharing the bed with a stranger, for my case, a elderly local, who wasn't too keen that I was quite broad sized, snored and smelly from all the sweat travelling from the Northern Bus Terminal.
Fancy neon lights decorated bus to Pakse
My side of the bed; the stranger was on my right
After a good 14 to 15 hours, I was in Pakse. Once you alight at the Pakse Bus Terminal, you will see privately owned taxis, meaning private cars acting like taxis, that will fetch you to your destination (First time I'm seeing taxis in Laos anyways). The car taxi ride was 20000 kips (S$2.50), not too expensive, coming from a tout.

Welcome to the Tourist Places or so they said
Pakse city centre
Once there, you can walk around town and find travel agencies that offers transfer to the jetty and the boat tickets to Si Phan Don. You'll be able to get your tickets at the jetty too, but yes, I was rather shackled from all that travelling and finding a way so I settled on one that gets me both the transfer and the boat tickets, for 55000 kips (S$7) (and since it was on promotion too!!)

Ticket prices to different parts of Southern Laos
Promotion for the tickets to Si Phan Don
I stayed a night in Pakse too, and like many have mentioned online, it wasn't too interesting of a town. Pretty dead in the day. pretty dead at night too. If it wasn't because I needed a break from all that journey-ing, then nope, not worth it staying here.

Jetty for boats to Si Phan Don
The boat to Don Det, the biggest island in Si Phan Don (as mentioned in my previous post), was literally a boat. Made entirely out of wooden planks, moved by a motor engine at the back. I didn't know wood could hold so much weight though. We had 12 people on the boat, with our baggages, and luckily for every single one of us, it managed to make the journey there safely in 30 minutes.
Boat ride to Si Phan Don. Humans at the back, bags at the front.
Stay tuned for adventures in Si Phan Don ...
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