Sunday, August 17, 2014

From Van gia and onto Pleiku, Vietnam

Few days left for my visa, and it's not a good idea to be too faraway from the border.
I was looking for some town in Vietnam that's close to Laos (as I did not want to go back to Cambodia), and Pleiku and Kon Tum where what I found; From either towns, I can catch a bus going to Attapu in Laos; And Pleiku is just 50kms to Kontum, and there are regular buses too, so visiting both isn't a problem.

From Van Gia, I was being told by the locals that, to get to Pleiku, I will have to take a 100K Dong bus to Quy Nhon, and from there, take another 80K Dong bus to Pleiku. Looking at the map though, it seems it is actually better to just take the direct bus from Nah Trang.

From Van Gia, there was the public bus that go to Nah trang for only 25K. It took us only about an hour and a half to get there.

Then, upon reaching Nah Trang, the bus stoped at what seemed to be the same bus station i took on my way to Van Gia. The maps isn't telling me the same thing, but, from the look of the bus station, and the nearby establishments, it seemed it is. The bus has moved further, and haven't really confirmed to myself if it is the same bus station indeed. I got off at the next stop, and walked back... it was around 500m recourse.
As I enter the bus station, the situation doesn't exactly look like it is.. not as much bus and not as much people. It almost looked like a garage.

Then I walked to what I thought was a booking office. I asked if there is where I can book a ticket to Pleiku, and they said yes; I asked for the timing, and was told the bus arrives at 1pm; I asked what time it arrives in Pleiku, and was told it shall be around 7pm.

I haven't booked any accomodation yet as the least one available from either booking, hostelworld, and hostelbookers is more than $10, which is expensive and unnecessary. Since I am expecting to arrive at 7pm, i thought I will have enough time to look around.

I bought the ticket 10mins before 1pm, but the bus arrived only an hour after scheduled.  I was also expecting it to be at the level, or at least close to what I have taken from Ha tien to Ho Chi Minh; Surprisingly, it was a coaster, with smaller seats, and space for luggage.

Well, luckily, I did not really get the worst seat in the bus. There were passengers we picked up along the way who had to settle on the makeshift seats in the aisle. The only trouble with mine was that, I am at the far end, and I think the shocks of the bus were broken, so, every hump was a rocker.

7 pm came, and looking at the map, we were just midway thru. The road has also gone worse, and I by this time, I knew it won't be as easy to get a room.

It was already past 10pm when I arrived in Pleiku, starving, tired, sticky, and homeless.
While in the bus, I did a google search for guesthouses in Pleiku, and found a positively reviewed Bus Station guesthouse for (as posted) 50,000VND (which I'm expecting to be lower than interim since the article was written years ago); However, it did not seem like this is the same bus station where my bus will go, so had to get off past the roundabout between QL19 and AH17.

I walked into the receptions of every guesthouse I passed by along Nguyen Tat Thanh, but everyone is full occupancy. I walked further towards the direction of the Bus Station Guesthouse, which is central to a block, so I thought, it would most likely have a vacancy compared to these very accessible (highway side) acccomodations. Then again, I continued on asking every guesthouse I passed by. 

The streets are getting even more dark and quiet as I I enter the smaller street in the block for the Bus Station Guesthouse. I was telling myself its too remote.

I walked back into one (out of 7) guesthouses that I walked into, that had an available room; (though it costs 130,000VND which is about 80K VND more than what I was expecting from the Bus Station Guesthouse) I thought it will do for a night..

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee link for more stories, detailed expenses and itinerary

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