Pakbeng is a tranquil village along the Mekong, lying halfway between the Thai and Lao border crossing at Huay Xai and Luang Prabang, which is regarded by many as the cultural centre of Laos. Most visit Pakbeng as part of a two-day scenic boat journey along the Mekong river in either direction. This village is the perfect introduction to the quiet and slow rhythm of Laos, with beautiful sunset views and a number of good restaurants. Like much of the less populated parts of the country, it is a sleepy village with most places closing around 10pm, meaning that you are sure to have a restful night's sleep with no disturbance from pedestrian or road traffic during the night.
Accommodation comes in the form of basic yet well-equipped bungalows, and one is never far from the flowing Mekong river. Its scenic banks are a wonderful place to sit and take in the landscape and atmosphere of Laos, especially when just arriving from over the border in Thailand. The local restaurants will offer a lovely introduction to sumptuous Lao food for the first-time visitor. We recommend trying Som Tam (a spicy papaya salad) and freshly grilled fish from the Mekong river.
If you are an early riser, why not get up for sunrise and visit the local market. While here, you can wake up with a strong Lao coffee – this is a great way to start the day as the hot glow of the tropical sun burns in the distance through lush green vegetation, before continuing your journey up or down the Mekong river.
Visit Pakbeng on your tailor-made tour of Laos to combine this country with northern Thailand and admire the similarities and differences between the two countries. For an ideal start of a holiday in Laos, we suggest travelling to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in northern Thailand before crossing into Laos, and having a two-day boat journey down to Luang Prabang, via Pakbeng.
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