Pakbeng is in Bakeo Province, Northern Laos.


This small village lies half-way between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang, perched high 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, and a number of guesthouses have been set up to cater for the passing tourists. 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. Still there are sufficient restaurants for one pleasant night.

24 hour electricity arrived relatively recently in Pakbeng, but you'll still experience regular power outages (bring a torch or mobile) and find most of the town is shut down by 22:00. What Pakbeng does have to offer is a good night's sleep and sunset views over a particularly scenic stretch of the Mekong.

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 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 Rd 2 on the Mekong. Slow boats leave in the morning in both directions. They depart when full but expect to start at around 09:00. Arrive early to get one of the better seats (as far away from the loud engine as possible). The dropping off boat normally arrives at about 17:00, but this is Laos, so bear in mind that this is a guideline. Laos transportation departs 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 bus

Pick-ups make the trip to Udom Xai around 07:00 and leave at the northern end of town on Rd 2.

A bus Leaves at 12:00 from Muang Ngeun (near the Thai-Lao border ) and takes 1.5 hours.