Street Scene with Trucks and Scooters Laos Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch

Laos | Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Travel Photography   |   Laos   |   Vientiane >> Vang Vieng


Traveling on Road 13

After an early breakfast we jumped on a tuk-tuk, which took us to the public transport hub of Vientiane at the outskirts of the city. During the journey we had the chance to see Vientiane in the early hours of the day. We stopped at a couple of other hotels and backpackers to pick-up other travelers. At one such stop, a lady had cleverly invented remote carwash by spraying her vehicle from the shaded sidewalk. The petrol station looked like it isn’t meant to be used by trucks, due to the low ceiling.

The public transport hub itself was a rather barren lot, where we boarded a an overland bus. Destination: Vang Vieng. Somewhere out in the suburbs, we drove past an interesting shop, where I would most definitely have stopped to check it out: Moke Elite Lao SOLECo Ltd . By the looks of it they either have Moke replicas or Moke-inspired vehicles for sale. There are many reasons why I prefer to drive a rental car instead of taking a bus, the main one is being able to stop wherever I fancy.

Similar to what we experienced on our Philippines road trip, many people live along the main road. Many have set up a small shop, selling snacks and drinks to truckers and travelers. This somehow always reminds me of my childhood days in the 1980’s when we traveled through France on small roads.

The variety of vehicles on the road is very interesting. Old and often dilapidated Russian and Chinese trucks, late model Chinese trucks and the ubiquitous in south-east Asia Toyota Hilux pick-ups.

Roughly at the halfway point between Vientiane and Vang Vieng we stopped at a rest area in a town for a break and to buy refreshments. Back on the road, we headed into the mountains. Climbing up to the pass was pretty much uneventful, but a scene witnessed on the way day left me scratching my head. First we encountered a broken down semi truck. About a kilometer later, there was an unhitched trailer on a steep part of the road – painted in the same colour. Whether he lost it or left it there intentionally to limp the truck to a garage wasn’t clear.

School out time in the afternoon increased bicycle traffic and upon entering Vang Vieng, I spotted a Mercedes-Benz W201 from Austria. More on that in the next post.

Bearlin Bungalow

After sitting in a bus and driving over bumpy roads for a couple of hours, we quite enjoyed the walk from the station through Vang Vieng. On the other side of the bridge over Sam Nong River, our hosts from Bearlin Bungalow awaited us and took us to their property. We ordered a Pat Thai and cold drinks before settling into our bungalows. The place is very quiet and peaceful, with gorgeous views to the sourrounding mountains. Highly recommended if you want to stay a couple of minutes outside of Vang Vieng. The original Berlin style Currywurst is a must! So strange to taste something usually associated with Berlin sidewalk locations in such a beautiful and serene place.


The map below just shows the general direction. As the new motorway was far from completion in 2018, we took the old Road #13. Travel time from start to destination was just under four hours.


Sebastian Motsch   |   instagram @drivebysnapshots