Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

What’s a Korean bus doing in Savannakhet?

Korean bus in SavannakhetAt least, what’s a bus that was probably once used by a bus company in Korea now being used by a bus company in Laos? 

That is what I thought last summer when I noticed the Hangul lettering cha-dongmun or main entrance written on the door of the bus that On and I took from Savannakhet to Mukdahan, Thailand.

The only thing that I could think of at the time is that some bus company sold these buses to a bus company in Laos.

It’s the only thing that makes sense with the Korean lettering still visible on the bus door.  

Well, I noticed the same Korean lettering for “main entrance” on the bus On and I took from Vientiane to Paksong this time. Obviously some company in Korea sold a lot of used buses to a bus company in Laos. 

And then, I noticed more Korean lettering on the bus we took from Luang Prabang back to Vientiane as well as other buses at the Nanluang Bus Terminal (in fact, one bus still had the name of the bus company in Hangul written on the outside of the bus).

I am surprised that a lot of the Korean lettering and signs have not been removed inside of the buses or for the lettering on the sides of the buses painted over.


  1. That kind of stuff happens a lot in the Philippines as well. It’s really just a case of richer Asian countries tossing their hand me downs to the poorer ones (at a bargain, but still at some cost of course).

    I would ride jeeps in Manila that had Japanese and Chinese lettering on them, as the owners didn’t even bother to clean it up proper.

  2. There are old chinese, russian, korean, Japanese and thai bus all over the street in Vientiane 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2019 Jeffrey Miller

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑