sleepy, sleepy town
Favorite thing: Pakbeng is a very small town, a large village to be more precise, between Luang Phabang and Huay Xay. it sits at the juncion of the Mekong and Beng River, which is one of its tributaries . It is a very delightful and sleepy place: there's not much to see but it's a nice place to stop on your way somewhere.
Fondest memory: Watching local people during a spell of heavy rain: everyone took the the streets and started to wash their hair in the main street. What was simply annoying rain for me, for them it was a joy and a blessing.
The Mekong River
Favorite thing: Pak Beng as much of Laos revolves around this amazing river. Its amazing to wake up in the early morning and see the fisherman go out onto the river and to see the almost endless procession of boats which causually float down the river. Its inspiring in a way to see life as it has been for probabaly hundreds of years.
Favorite thing: Dont expect to much comfort because this place is all about simplicity. It basically gives you a good indication as to how many laotians live. The infrastructure is basically non existant but if this stuff doesnt bother you then it might be an interesting experience.
if this is your first stop in Laos
Favorite thing: Pak Beng is expensive little town comparing to other Lao places and the prices can compete those in central Vientiane and Luang Prabang. There are probably few reasons for it: its remoteness and steady influx of foreign tourist on slow boat from Huay Xay who have to spend a night here before they continue towards Luang Prabang as it's not possible for boats to float in the dark. We came here from Oudomxay and wanted to cross the Mekong in Pak Beng and then continue by road. However, we soon realised there is no such road from there on as the map promised and the only way of public transport to go on in Sayabuli province was the slow boat. Having realising that we had no choice but to book a room and only later when first boat arrived we saw streets really got crowded and there were more foreigner than Lao in the town. I was somehow glad there's no electricity after midnight there.
Fondest memory: In a daytime Pak Beng is sleepy town, no guests in restaurants and almost no poeple on the street. If you want to get out of town in Oudomxay direction (not difficult, it's the only road there) you will be revarded for nice views over very beautiful landscape and villages. It's pity many people don't know what they've missed.
- Budget Travel
Mixed with currencies
Favorite thing: The most difficult issue to me in Laos was the currencies. At home I spend euros, Laos has kip as currency, but mostly prices are in US dollars and they accept (in every place I was) Thai Bahts also. So I need to think in four currencies. And the system goes so the if you pay out for example in bahts, you can get back dollars, kips and bahts.
Think about restaurant bill. Lets say it is 7 dollars (quite normal price of dinner for 2 persons), but you don't have any. You pay by 1000 baht bill and get back one dollar, 400 bahts and 60000 kips. Fine! You allways have a taught that you were cheated. I tried to calculate this example by Excel but was not good enough (and I have studied maths in university), so take that as an not-checked-and-not-real-example.
I think that they never cheated (or I didn't catch'em :)
(I didn't have photo of Kips and I had some Thai bats left.)