We investigate experimentally the transition to turbulence of a yield stress shear-thinning fluid in Hagen-Poiseuille flow. By combining direct high-speed imaging of the flow structures with Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), we provide a systematic description of the different flow regimes from laminar to fully turbulent. Each flow regime is characterized by measurements of the radial velocity, Velocity fluctuations and turbulence Intensity profiles. In addition we estimate the autocorrelation, the probability distribution and the structure functions in an attempt to further characterize transition. For all cases tested, our results indicate that transition occurs only when the Reynolds stresses of the flow equal or exceed the yield stress of the fluid, i.e. the plug is broken before transition commences. Once in transition and when turbulent, the behaviour of the yield stress fluid is somewhat similar to a (simpler) shear-thinning fluid. Finally, we have observed the shape of slugs during transition and found their leading edges to be highly elongated and located off the central axis of the pipe, for the non-Newtonian fluids examined.