On Tuesday afternoon, Ryan and I left Ban Phe for Laos in a hurry after depositing our final paychecks. We lugged much of Annie's stuff onto a songthaew in Ban Phe, which took us to Rayong where we found the bus station. As we approached the bus station, there was one bus getting ready to leave. It had seats available but no toilet. The other option was to wait until tomorrow. Of course we got on the bus!
The trip to Nong Khai is about 16 hours overnight. I can't complain that my seat didn't recline and I dozed for maybe two hours on the whole trip, because at the fourth or fifth stop (well after dark,) the center aisle of the bus filled with small plastic stools. The unlucky folks who boarded at later stops had to squat on stools all night. I cherished my upright vinyl seat.
In the morning, we arrived at Nong Khai at about 10:00 am and took a tuk-tuk to the border. Here are Ryan and I, unwashed and under-slept on our way to immigration.
The border was painless. It was much quicker than my only other Southeast Asian land crossing into Cambodia. There were no sneaky touts trying to sell us visas, just a woman with a big basket of delicious fried beignet-things greeting us on the Laos side.
Shortly thereafter, Annie!
Annie is so happy and colorful here. I can see why she loves Vientiane.