En Route: Vang Vieng to Pakse, Laos

Spending a week in Vang Vieng left us numb, in a very good way. We’re heading towards the southern part of Laos with no clue on what to expect. 

During our two-month backpacking trip around Southeast Asia, we didn’t have much time to research on where-tos and what-tos. It became a trend of just-book-this-flight and we’ll see what we’re going to do there. We pointed out some key cities on the itinerary and determined how long are we staying there during the course of the trip which suited us fine.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Vang Vieng
Travel agencies that offer bus trips to and fro Vang Vieng scattered around town. We scored a good deal and got a bus ride from Vang Vieng to Vientiane and a Vientiane to Pakse sleeper bus for 180,000 Kip each (US$ 22.30).

At around twelve noon, we were picked up from our hotel and were dropped at the bus station. There are regular bus trips to Hanoi, Bangkok and Hue to name a few frim Vang Vieng’s bus station. With other tourists and some locals, we waited for the bus that would bring us to Vientiane (check here for discounted tours and activities in Luang Prabang).

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Vang Vieng Bus Terminal
Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Mini vans heading to domestic and international destinations
As the VIP bus arrived, the crowd gathered on its doors. There were no seat numbers so we scrambled to get a good seat. At around 1:30 in the afternoon, we left Vang Vieng.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
"VIP Bus" from Vang Vieng to Vientiane
The supposedly VIP bus was an old one with its air-con functioning as a blower. Everyone opened their windows to get some air. The seat was comfy and the ride was, well, as smooth as it can get in Laos standards. The four-hour ride was fine with one toilet stop on the way.

We arrived at Vientiane’s Northern Bus Station before sundown. Domestic and International buses are available here on a regular basis.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Vientiane's Northern Bus Station
We needed to get our tickets validated for an allocation for the sleeper bus; it only took us a minute to do so. Afterwards, we looked for a decent meal while waiting for our 8:30 pm departure. We had some hot noodles on an eatery inside the terminal.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Our sleeper bus to Pakse
Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog

We were allowed to get inside the bus at around 8:00 pm. We were assigned on the second level of the bus where some tourists were figuring out on how to comfortably position themselves on the shared bunk for two. We had no problem; we perfectly fit in this Asian-sized bunk beds.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Shared bunk beds
Pillows, blankets, drinking water and snacks were provided. My buddy worked on some writing gigs while I dozed off right before the bus rolled off.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Free snacks and drinking water
Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
We fit in perfectly
There’s an onboard toilet that was small that, again, tourists were complaining about it. I didn’t get to use it so I dunno how it felt.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
I can sleep in strangest positions
I came back to the world when I was stirred to wake by a stunning sunrise from my side of the window. I knew that we’re nearing our destination when a young man handed us wet towels.

Vang Vieng to Pakse Laos Bus Blog
Good morning, Pakse!
We arrived at Chitpasong Bus Terminal next to Sedone River at around seven in the morning. The cool breeze was brushing my face as we climbed down the bus. Tuk tuks flocked around tourists while me and my buddy settled on a bench near the river and relished the early morning scene. We’re in Pakse after almost a day of traveling, we’re ready for another week of adventures. Or so we thought.


  1. I spent more than 6 months in SE Asia and I had no idea that there's something like 'sleeping buses' in there ;).
    They look awesome!

  2. HI there, thanks for your post. I will be doing this trip in a few days so I find it very helpful! Do you know the name of the agency where you got your tickets from? Or where in Vang Vieng it was situated? Looks like a good experience and not that expensive (on Laos standards). Do you know if it would be cheaper to do it on my own?

    1. Hi Sol. We just checked out each and every travel agency around Vang Vieng town and haggled with the fare. Doing it DIY will be fine but the fares from the agencies are quite competitive as well. Plus, you'll be sure that seats/bunkbeds will be provided on your way to Pakse :

  3. Thank you, travelling in Laos in January 2017, and researching how to travel from Vientiane to pakse. More fodder to the 'anti-fly' (and miss all the fun) brigade.


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