Muang Sing to Oudomxay

Luang Prabang today?

May 31, 2005

Today we hoped to make it to Luang Prabang. We started the day by waking up at 6:00 AM so the guest house could take us into to town at 7:00 AM. Their white board reads, Rides to Muang Sing at 7AM and 11AM 5000 Kip all other times 15,000 Kip. A few minutes before 7:00 we were waiting at the front desk. At 7:00 AM the old man, who doesn't speak any English, comes out and we think he is going to give us a ride into town. Next thing we know he is pointing to the road which is 200 yards away shoeing us away saying, "sawngthaew." We were not sure what to do but thought he had a tuk tuk or sawngthaew waiting for us at the road.

We walked the 200 yards, which included wadding through a stream in the road that was created from the last 2 days of rain, to find nobody waiting for us on the main road. Frustrated, we decided to start walking towards town. We only walked two minutes before I saw a flat bed mini-truck, similar to a sawngthaew. I waved it down and said, "Muang Sing." The driver nodded his head.

We jumped in the back with two 10 year old girls wearing uniforms for school. We traveled only 5 minutes when I heard, "Wobble wobble, wobble wobble." We had a flat tire. I thought great how long is this going to take. We jumped out; the driver had a spare tire laying in the bed of the truck I hadn't seen. He changed the tire in record time and we were on our way again.

As we drove into town I sat in back of the truck with the cool morning air blowing by looking out to the rice paddy fields thinking, "I'm so lucky to be doing this." I never imagined doing anything like this in my entire life.

We got to town, jumped off the truck, paid the guy 10,000 Kip and started asking the other sawngthaew and bus drivers, "Luang Namtha?" We finally found a woman who nodded yes to our question and we think she said it was leaving at 9:00AM. She pointed to the 9 on her watch, or at least it looked that way, so we were not sure.

Better then nothing, we decided to go get some breakfast. I had fried rice and took some pictures during breakfast.

We left the restaurant at 8:45AM to find the sawngthaew. As we walked we saw a bus with a sign in the window, "Luang Namtha." The driver confirmed it was going to Luang Namtha and said it was leaving at 9:30 AM, we jumped on right away.

We got to Luang Namtha at 11:20 AM and the 11:30 AM bus to Oudomxay was already full. We had to wait until 2:30 PM for the next bus. During our wait we met Sebastian from Holland. He just crossed over from China where he spent the last five and half weeks.

The bus ride to Oudomxay was uneventful and we got there at 7:00 PM. The next bus out of Oudomxay to Luang Pragang was not until 8 AM the next day. We found a place to stay, got some dinner, and went to sleep early.

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