Dien Bien Phu border crossing (Vietnam-Laos)
I'm going to Sapa tomorrow and plan on going from there (via Lai Chai?) to Dien Bien Phu independently by bus, and from Dien Bien Phu into Laos. Some say it may be difficult, others say that it will be no problem. I'm getting my Lao visa from Hanoi today.
Does anyone have any experience with this crossing they would like to share?
It was no problem crossing the border.
From Sapa to Dien Bien Phu, I rode in a mini-van with about ten other tourists and some locals, and it was cramped. My knees were sticking into the seat in front of me, and they played the horrible music all the way for 8 hours. The scenery was amazing. Beware of the guesthouses in DBP, some of my friends got their camera stolen from their room while out eating. The guesthouse had no namesign on it, just "Guesthouse".
From DBP to Muang Khua in Laos, a local bus in the most extreme sense of the word. The bus was filled to the roof with rice sacks (the roof as well), noodles and loads of other stuff, and it had two times more passengers than seats. The scenery was even more amazing than the ride from Sapa. If you want to get a sense of how fragile life really is, sit on the right side and look into the abyss when the bus is balancing on the cliff edges on these narrow mountain roads.
The actual border crossing was no problem, you can get visa for Laos on arrival there.
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