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northbound in laos

Leaving Don Det by "ferry boat"
     After a relaxing 2 nights in Si Phan Don (1000 Islands), I headed northbound to Vientaine with a 5 hour stopover in Pakse, where I waited for my 12 hour night bus to the capital. Pakse was a lovely little town but after a half-day of travel by ferry boat, minivan, and bus, I was exhausted when I got there. I grabbed some 7,000kp soup at the local market and walked around town, hanging out with some monks at Wat Luang and passing time before my sleeper bus. Twelve (brutal) hours later, I arrived in Vientiane with a bad case of diarrhea.  

[NOTE ON THE SLEEPER BUS: I absolutely don't recommend getting a sleeper to Vientiane if you're planning on getting any rest - the roads are SUPER ruggedy, especially when you're literally trying your hardest not to poop your pants. Also, the bus is fairly tight. I'm 5"2 and I fit in perfectly, but if you're any taller you are probably not going to fit. The roof is too low to sit up, so you've got to stay lying down the entire 12 hours, and if you're travelling solo there's a 99% chance you'll have a stranger sleeping up against you at night]
     I was warned not to go to Sabaidee Guesthouse due to bed bugs, so I easily found the Funky Monkey Hostel instead, where I payed 4.50USD for a 18-bed mixed dorm and spent the day napping and crapping. For 40000kp in a 18-mixed dorm, the hostel provided wifi (albeit a little glitchy), free breakfast (choice of baguette with either omelette or with butter and jam, plus a drink), and loud music & pool until about 3AM in the common area. The staff spoke very little English, and it's impossible to sleep at night (due to the noise), especially if you're in the dorm room directly above the entrance. 
     I didn't get to see much of Vientiane at all, but managed to get Carbon (charcoal) and Berberin at a local pharmacy. The drugs didn't help, but thankfully a fellow traveler was able to pass me some Immodium the next day on our way to Luang Prabang.
Wat Luang in Pakse

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