The following is meant to be a humorous and therapeutic account of taking the overnight bus for the first time from a couple of admittedly well-to-do travelers. After all was said and done, for being a very different and unique experience than we had originally imagined, we all simply adored the gorgeous country of Laos, its amazing food and more importantly the welcoming locals!


1. Your definition of the word “VIP” is very open to interpretation.

The waiting area of the Huay Xai bus station of our own personal hell.
The waiting area of the Huay Xai bus station.

2. The soothing sound of hocking up loogies all night puts you right to sleep.

3. You enjoy spooning with complete strangers in a 5×3 feet wide bunk.

Stop. Don't touch me there. This is my private square.
Stop. Don’t touch me there. This is my private square.

4. You prefer the constant and sudden stop-and-go throughout your evening voyage.

5. The presence of live poultry on board relaxes you.

6. You prefer loud karaoke lullabies sung at the top of the driver’s lungs at 2am in the morning.

Just remember: we did this to ourselves...
After my picture fades and darkness has turned to gray, watching through windows, you’re wondering if I’m OK…

7. The sub-zero AC temperature is a perfect match for your cold, dead heart.

Dead. Dying. Death.
Dead. Dying. Death.

8. Your nightly ritual involves brushing your teeth outside a quaint and rustic rest stop in the middle of nowhere with the constant fear of being left behind.

Nowheresville, Population: You.
Nowheresville, Population: You.

9. You are a social butterfly and are comforted by the company of an overstuffed bus with people crowding the aisle.

Is this what dying feels like?
Is this what dying feels like?

10. You have a slight foot fetish and enjoy random people gently grazing your extremities as they pass by like two ships in the night.

11. You place complete and utter trust in the hands of teen drivers along the windy and treacherous roads leading to Luang Prabang.

12. You are a sadomasochist and wish to inflict as much physical, emotional and psychological pain as humanly possible on yourself while backpacking through South East Asia.

Why did we do this? Because we hate ourselves.
What have we done to ourselves?

This joint post has been brought to you by the crushed hopes and dreams of Western travelers: The Passive Observer, Josh and Becky– bunk mates in overnight buses and single bed hotel partners in life.