This is boring stuff but we're posting this to provide information.
We have noted bus schedules and rates during our traipse around Pakse so we could share them with fellow travelers who need to have an idea about travel distances and duration of trips, bus schedules, and more importantly, rates of such trips from Pakse to domestic and foreign destinations. The bigger terminal is located south of Champasak Palace Hotel and hosts most domestic travels. The one posted above is the VIP Bus Terminal, a small parcel of land off Route 13. This is the destination and departure point of most VIP Bus Rides to and from Ubon Ratchthani in Thailand. There are 4 counters, two of them operational. There's a left luggage that charges 5,000 kip per bag - although it seems unwise to use it considering how unsealed it is. The doors from both sides are open and no one tends to the bags which are just placed down the floor.
Tuktuks and jumbos usually wait (for "victims") from this terminal that's mostly a "ghost place" between scheduled trips, unlike the bigger, main domestic terminal which is surrounded by a day market. The Kriang Krai Bus services the Ubon-Pakse-Ubon trips, but - like their Thai counterpart, don't allow reservations. You have to purchase them an hour or two before the departure - so it's wise to ask around before your schedule.
I am sharing the other schedules. Please note that items from these trips may have changed by the time you get to read this. My point here is, this information will give you an insight on the possibilities of travel to towns like Kratie in Cambodia, Hue in Vietnam, or Bangkok in Thailand just by merely taking a bus from Pakse. It will also give you an idea of how much it would cost you - more or less.
Finally, check that your passport's ready (the counters will require it when you purchase international rides) and have a safe and pleasurable trip.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
|Left Luggage room: see how easily things can disappear in such untended room.|
|Bus Station, the backyard - where buses usually park and wait.|
|More schedule from Kriang Rai VIP Buses|
|Tuktuk waits beside the small canteen by the gate.|
|My bus from Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse|
|My bus from Pakse back to Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand. Now you have to remember your Bus Number because you need to write the number on your Immigration Forms at the border.|
|One of the few beautiful sights found at the VIP Bus Terminal but people mostly ignore this bas relief.|
|Map of Laos and its contiguous areas care of Magellan Geographix and www.maps.com.|
BUSES AND BORDER CROSSINGS
To answer a question posted below, here are a couple of maps showing the two most common routes and border crossings if you're headed to Pakse (South Laos) from Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon (Vietnam).
Owing to the geographic location of HCMC (at the southern end of Vietnam), a traveler has to cross the Khmer border, pass through Phnom Penh and get to Siem Reap up north. From SR, you can book for another bus that will cross the Lao border to get to Champasak. Then from Champasak, take another bus that travels to Pakse. I'd say this itinerary is 3 buses worth and would take roughly 48 hours or more.
The other route would be to travel to Hue, north of Saigon. From Hue, there are buses that cross the Lao border and on to Savannakhet, north of Pakse. From Savannakhet, you take another bus for Pakse. That's another 3 buses worth of travels and would, again, roughly take more than 48 hours - if you get continuous trips, which is highly unlikely. Cross-country buses are limited and usually travel either very early in the day or late in the evening, except for the Saigon-Phnom Penh (there should be plenty because this is an easy 2-3 hour journey), but Siem Reap is far from PP.
|HCMC to Hue. Then Hue to Savannakhet. Take another bus from Savannakhet to Pakse.|
|HCMC crosses the border to get to Phnom Penh then travels onward to Siem Reap. Take another bus from SR to Champasak, then another to Pakse.|