Vieng Thong is a village about midway between Sam Neua and Nong Khiaw (my actual destination that would have been a twelve hours bus journey). By staying overnight in Vieng Thong, I split the journey over two days.

At Sam Neua's bus station, this is the local transport to Vieng Thong (before the driver changes the sign). It seems to double as a delivery van. The driver securing cargo that will later include my backpack.

Driver atop his minivan at Sam Neua bus station

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From Luang Prabang to Phonsavan, the choice is normally bus or mini-van. A bus takes longer but is more steady on the winding roads. Like many travelers, I choose the mini-van. Bad idea! The narrow roads are very winding. In a vehicle filled to maximum capacity, it becomes nauseating. Fortunately, I happen to sit beside the only open window. With the wind in my face, I retain a semblance of civility.

Phonsavan (pronounced with a silent ‘h’) is a town with an exceptional fresh food market located off the main road. It sells a variety of food including meat, fruits and vegetables. In the meat section, ladies repel flies with plastic bags tied to canes.

Fresh food market at Phonsavan

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