Getting to know Pakbeng
The bucolic riverside town of Pakbeng is situated between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai, and can easily be accessed via traveling aboard the Luang Say Cruise which travels along the Mekong River many times a week.
For many years, the Mekong was the only mode of transport for cargo, and because of this Pakbeng was used as an overnight stop for ferries and cargo boats. It is a scenic route which makes it a popular choice of tourists to Laos keen on experiencing ‘river life’.
Situated in a scenic location, at the junction of the Mekong Rivers and Nam Bang (Beng is the name of the river, while Pak means mouth), recently quite a few restaurants and guesthouses have appeared to cater to an increasing number of tourists. Electricity has recently been installed and is somewhat inconsistent. The region is powered by a hydroelectric dam along the Beng River, which means that blackouts are quite frequent during the summer.
Early in the morning, as you go down to the Luang Say Port for your next trip, the restaurants that are open serve delicious Lao coffee and the streets are filled with stalls selling local pastries and sweets. Walk to the morning markets and observe the hustle and bustle as locals barter and sell their produce and wares from frogs on sticks to scorpions to buffalo skin – it’s a one of a kind experience. For tourists with more time, you can join one of the elephant treks in nearby Hongsa. Elephant trekking will require an extra night’s stay in Pakbeng.