If you decide to travel from Thailand to Laos via the Mekong, you’re gonna be stuck on a long boat for 2 days with an overnight stay at the little charming town Pakbeng. A lot of travellers don’t pay any attention to Pakbeng, but we quite enjoyed the atmosphere there. You meet all the travellers you were on the boat with, everybody seems to be excited to spend their first night in Laos…and you get to eat a good dinner.
But first things first. The boat was scheduled to leave Houayxay at 11 am but didn’t leave until almost noon. Normality in Asia. As already mentioned, try to get seats in the front because you don’t want to have a roaring engine beside you for the next 7 hours or so. There is a little bar on bord with Beer Lao, soda and instant noodles but we didn’t buy anything (the prices are tripled) as we already stocked up in Houayxay.
Don’t worry, the days on the Mekong were one of the best experiences we had in Asia. Yes, it is exhausting and it can be boring at times but it’s a tranquil way of travelling, away from all the hustle and bustle of the cities in Asia. It’s only you, other travellers and the Mekong. We simply enjoyed the scenery, read a book and slept.
Once in Pakbeng, the city between Houayxay and Luang Prabang, you’re gonna be surrounded by many people, trying to sell a room in their guesthouse. We prebooked a guesthouse because we didn’t want to participate in the run for the best room that is left. We highly recommend DP Guesthouse . It is a little bit more expensive (about 20Euros) than the other rooms but man, did we have a good night’s sleep! The bed is one of the most comfortable beds we had in Asia and the room is spotlessly clean. There is even a small raindance shower. And it’s in prime location. If you walk up the street (basically the only street in Pakbeng) it’s the first house on the left. Opposite DP Guesthouse is an Indian restaurant that serves excellent Indian food. The majority of the travellers can be found there in the evening. We enjoyed a delicious meal, chatted with other travellers and went to bed early to be one of the first in the morning to get good seats on the boat.
In the morning, we highly recommend Monsavan Bakery. They have croissants, sandwiches, banana cupcakes, cofffe, apple pies etc. Yummy! We bought some croissants and sandwiches for a packed lunch on bord the long boat.
Concluding, Pakbeng is a lovely small town with good restaurants and if you spend a little bit more money, this stop is not a must, but a pleasure.