Laos Travel & Tours

Offer all Travel Tours & Hotels information of Pakbeng Laos.

 

This small village lies half-way between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang on the banks of the Mekong river. You will likely be in Pakbeng because the two-day boat between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang has to stop for the night. It`s also the eastern end of Road 2, originating in Udom Xai. To call Pakbeng sleepy is an understatement. It's quiet to the point of being dead. Electricity goes out at 10.30pm, when the generator is shut down for the night.

Pakbeng is in the Golden Triangle, and in the midst of one of the world's drugs production areas. From the moment you set your foot in Pakbeng, you will be offered weed and opium, plus cocaine and amphetamines, the latter usually Burmese in origin. If you are stupid enough to buy anything, you are highly likely to soon be approached by a different guy with a more or less fake police badge, who apparently will give you in to the police if you don't pay, usually USD 20-50. It cannot be said often enough; when in Asia, stay away from drugs!!

Get in

Most visitors will have to stop here over-night on the slow-boat trip to/from Luang Prabang. It`s also possible to arrive by speedboat en route to the north. Much more uncomfortable than the slow boat, however you will arrive before the slowboat so you have the option of choosing a guesthouse and showering with no lines/queues. You also get to see the town as the only Westerner. Another possibility is to reach the place by bus-- this is a rough and long option.
By boat

The boat-landing is at the end of Road 2 on the Mekong. Slow boat leave in the morning in both directions. They depart when full but expect to start at around 9am. The dropping off boat normally arrives at about 5pm, but this is Laos, so bear in mind that this is a guideline. Laos transportation goes when the driver can be bothered. It's best just to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. And have a beer, of course.
By road

Pick-ups make the trip to Udom Xai around 7am and leave at the northern end of town on Road 2.
Get around

There are only a few streets, so walk around.
 See

There is nothing to see except the mighty Mekong and rural Laos life.
Do

Find a bed, eat something and sleep before power gets off (10pm) ... and prepare for another day on the boat

Recently a local guy [1] there started trekkings, with a sleepover in a hilltribe village . Can be nice before you get on that slowboat again.

Eat

Several guesthouses and some "restaurants" offer food, but don`t expect anything special. There's an Indian restaurant with decent curries along the main street, called "Hassan". The friendly manager will also package meals for consumption on the slow-boat. Be careful while paying though, he might tend to give you back too litle or hand you unusable (too old, broken) dollar-notes. (NEVER accept a dollar-note that's a little ripped, it's unusable!)

Locals set up small sandwich stands along the road to the waterfront each morning. You can buy basic sandwiches of bread and Laughing Cow cheese. If not, ask your guesthouse to provide you with a packed lunch, as you are going to be in for a 9 hour boat ride without meals. Some boats do have some food and drinks for sale too.
Drink

Standard beer options are available, at inflated prices. To insure a good nights sleep, try the local "lao-lao bong" -- water poured over fermented rice and slipped through a straw.

Drugs.. everyone's selling it in Pakbeng, and they happily double their profits by scamming you. After having sold you drugs, someone will appear with a police badge, and ask for a hefty bribe in exchange for not giving you in.

Sleep

Standards are low at this village near-the-end-of-the-world. Just look around as things change fast. A room with shared bathroom will cost about 3US$, while an own Bathroom will costs an extra 1-2US$. There might be places where you can get a room for 2 dollars (afther consulting 10 I found one), but you 'll have to search long and bargain. Electricity is available from around (5 or) 6pm to 10pm, while hot water seems to be non-existent. Touts are prevalent in Pakbeng, and you will be bothered. However, these touts are very laid back, especially after Thailand. If you are after a really cheap option, I was able to get a mattress and a Mosquito net under a veranda for about 0.50US$. Just watch out for monkeys.

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