Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

What’s an AK-47 doing on a VIP bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane?

AK-47 on VIP bus in Laos

Good question. 

First I asked, “What’s a Korean bus doing in Savannakhet?” 

Then, I asked, “What’s up with more Korean buses in Laos?” 

Now, I want to know what’s an AK-47 doing on the VIP bus On and I took from Luang Prabang to Vientiane? 

I didn’t notice at first when On and I got on the bus, but later, when the bus stopped for everyone to get something to eat, that is when I noticed it. 

AK-47 on a VIP bus in Laos

From what I have read and heard from some people, some robbers have held up some buses from the Hmong hill tribes that you pass along the way from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. And in the past, there have also been a few murders.

That’s probably why there was an AK-47 behind the bus driver’s seat.


  1. You are right. The gun is on every bus for the security reason.
    You may sometime find guard carrying AK-47 and walk along the street on the way from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. They are just a village guard to take care the travellers.

    I used to drive from Vientiane to Luang prabang, and on the way, my family told me to buy a pack of cigarrete to give to the guard to thank them for their work hard…or maybe hardly work…

  2. That’s what I thought. Thanks so much for your comments again and for regularly visiting my blog.

  3. Wow. That’s kinda cool and a little scary. I didn’t notice any extra security on the buses in Laos, but I did notice it in Cambodia. You can never be too careful when you’re traveling long distances in a country that’s been through so much upheaval and chaos.

  4. It’s not for robbers. It’s because there is a 30 year insurgency between the Hmong and the Lao government. It’s been a few years since they have shot up a bus, but people still worry. Only on route 13 past Kasi and route 7 headed east from Phou Khoun. The rest of the country no need for a guard.

    Try googling the words “Hmong and Laos” and “bus attack” or look at the web site of the US embassy and look at topics like human rights. It’s all there and it doesn’t make pretty reading.

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