I arrived at the bus station in Vientiane, Laos, bound for Pakse in the southern part of the country via an overnight bus. In the dark parking lot the sign on the double-decker bus brilliantly declared: “Sleeping Bus.” I expected seats that reclined but was surprised by a triple tier of double beds stretching down either side of the narrow aisle.
My “bed”was all the way at the top; I climbed up and introduced myself to my bunkmate for the evening, thankfully another woman. By wedging myself against the window and tucking my backpack behind my head I was just able to straighten my legs and I was fast asleep before we had gotten a few miles down the road. My bunkmate wasn’t quite so lucky. The metal railing on the outside of the bed wasn’t high enough and she spent the night hanging onto the rail to keep from falling into the aisle each time the bus rounded a corner. I woke up only once – to the sound of banging as the driver and crew changed a flat tire in the middle of nowhere sometime during the night. The Lao Sleeping Bus has to qualify as the craziest bus in the world.