I’ve spent more time in China than I intended. In fact i plan to spend even more time, as I hope to loop around in March to attend the wedding of one of the Banna View women. In the meantime, I’m getting around to my original plan of heading south to Laos. I’m not sure why international bus information is so out of date, so I’m going to post my experiences. I had two options, a three hour ride from Jinghong to Mengla and then a thirteen hour ride to Luang Prabang or an eight hour ride from Jinghong to Luang Namtha and then another eight to ten hour ride to Luang Prabang. I’ve had enough of China and cities so I’ve opted to go to Luang Namtha. It seems to be an outdoorsy place that I might spend more time at than I thought. We passed through Mengla for lunch, it was a particularly polluted and dirty Chinese city and I’m glad I did not stay there. Like my sleeper bus, the travel times were overstated, perhaps due to how empty the bus was making for fast immigration lines. I’ll gladly take that extra hour.
Random fun fact, it’s way cheaper to pay for a visa on arrival in Laos in US dollars than either RMB or kip. It’s about a ten dollar difference in fact. I guess they really like their dollar at the border. I also fortunately didn’t have to pay a bribe or that’s already built into the price sheet of $37.