On the second night of my arrival in Vientiane, I had to take the bus to meet my Grand-Mama in Pakse. My cousin Bay took the VIP bus from Pakse to meet me at Wattay Airport and convinced all of us to go back with her the same way. I wanted to fly to Pakse and was not sure if I want to endure the long journey overnight. I asked whether or not there is a VIP bus during the day that we can take instead of the night one. However there was none available and the only type of bus you can take is the regular one with no AC.

I was told that Aunt Kian gets sick whenever she is in a vehicle with AC. We had to pick up my Grand-Papa’s ex-wife along the way and since she can’t afford to pay for the bus fare, she has no vote on the matter. The relatives told me I had to make the decision since I was the one paying for the bus fares. I chose to take the VIP bus with Kiang Khai because it is a one deck type and not the double deck one. My aunt was too afraid to ride in the higher bus.

Normally the fare would be about 130,000 kips per person one way ($13 – $15) but my cousin Bay got a dollar discount per ticket. She took this bus each time she comes to Vientiane and have gotten to know the drivers quite well. She also trusts their driving skills. Bay told us the two drivers are not speeders and are careful drivers. She is quite right about that because I saw the other buses passed our bus along the route. At times I thought one of the buses might tip over to the side around the curves.

The VIP bus only makes a stop at a bus station. The regular bus would make many stops along the way, picking up passengers along the road. For peace of mind it is better to take the VIP bus if you are worried about safety issues. When you get on the bus, you’ll get a bottle of water, blanket, and some snack. It is somewhat cold inside the bus so make sure you have a sweater and a thick pair of socks.

Don’t be afraid to use the restroom at the bus station though. This is something that tourists have to get used to when there is no flush toilet available. Make sure you carry toilet paper with you because it can come in handy. They charge a fee of 1,000 kips for using the facility.

I didn’t sleep much during the ride because Aunt Kian kept throwing up and I had to take care of her. I gave her a motion sickness pill but it didn’t seem to work. I felt really bad for her and told myself that on the way back we will take the economy bus so my aunt won’t have to suffer like she did.

After 9 hours we arrived in Pakse safe and sound. If I was by myself and have to take a bus through Laos, I will take the VIP bus again.