Whilst on Dondet Ben was reading through the Lonely Planet book on Asia that David gave to us back in Vietnam, he saw that there is a cave a bit further north of us. Not a lot of people had mentioned it but the people that had say it was worth it, so we agreed to give it a go even though it was a bit out of the way of our next planned destination of Vientiane.
We asked the woman at the bus station where would be best place to get a bus to and stay to see the cave and she said Lak Sao, then you would get a Tuk Tuk to the cave. So we booked a bus to Lak Sao which had a few hour stop off in a place called Pakse. It turned out that two German girls who were on our last bus were on the same bus again to Pakse, so we just chilled with them for the stop over and got some dinner in a nice hotel. The first bus was so over crowded, the bags hardly fit in the under carriage, and there were a couple of people sitting in plastic chairs in the isle of the bus, Ben was one of them, there was also a cycle in the isle that didn't help. Our bus to Lak Sao was the best bus we had so far, complete with Winnie the Pooh graphics, neon lights but most important of all comfy beds. We also got free food which was a first. It was all going so well.
At around 4am we were woken by the bus conductor telling us we were in Lak Sao, problem was we hadn't booked anywhere to stay. We were the only people that got off the bus as it was going somewhere else after. So we were on our own in pitch darkness with all of our stuff and nowhere to stay. We walked along the main road and the third place we asked in had a double bed for us to stay in together so that had to do.
We woke up at 9ish and asked the lady at the hostel how to get to Lak Sao town centre as we knew we were kind of in the middle of nowhere as there was nothing about. She pointed up the road, so we started walking with all of our stuff again. After about 5 minutes a small truck came past with a few locals in the back, 'Lak Sao?' the driver said out the window. We all looked at each other. and thought yeah might as well as we don't really know how far it is to the town centre. Ninety Six kilometres and two hours of bumpy mountainous roads later we finally arrived in Lak Sao. So basically the night bus had dropped us in completely the wrong town! Great! Luckily the truck driver only wanted 30000kip which is just over two quid, so that didn't cost us too much.
While we were on the truck going through all the mountains we just caught a glimpses of a motor bike in a ditch and a bloke next to it who looked in a lot of pain. The truck driver must have seen as well and pulled over. Everyone jumped out and ran the small way down the hill to see if he was ok. The bloke was Spanish but spoke really good English, and we were the only people on the truck that could speak English. So we had to talk to him make sure he was ok before moving him and stuff. He seemed fine just a bit shook up with a graze on his arm and knee. After getting him out of the ditch he just sat by the road and insisted that he just needs to get himself together and he will be fine. This didn't turn out to be the case, as later on in the day we saw him again, turns out he had done all of the ligaments in his knee and he has to fly back to Spain. Was gutted for him.
When we arrived in the town we set about finding out how to get to the cave, in the end we found out that it was still another 3 hours away, and our bus to Vientiane we thought was at 5pm (I say thought as no one there spoke any English so that's what we thought they were saying). So there was no hope of getting to the cave and getting back to the bus in time, and it would have meant sitting in the back of another uncomfortable, bumpy truck for hours. So we found some food and just chilled in a hotel lobby with WiFi for a few hours until we got the bus to Vientiane.
So basically today was a massive disaster and a bit of a waste, but we live and learn, I'm sure one day out of a year won't matter to much.