If you wander down the Mekong you can stop and find Hmong People.
The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. A number of Hmong people fought against the communist Pathet Lao during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Many of them have been returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs.
It doesn't take much walking to get off the beaten path - especially due the fact that most tourists come to Pak Beng in late afternoon by boat, hungry and looking for accomodation as soon as they put feet on the ground. Most visitors never go beyond the cluster of guesthouses and restaurants in the main street but if you bother to stay a day longer there is nice landscape of deep river valley and steep mountains, covered with lush vegetation. If you walk or drive few kilometers further you'll reach broader plains by the river and fields with lower hills as a background. Villages dot the landscape every now and then, but in general the area beyond Pak Beng is scarcely populated and it is home of various ethnic minorities. There is an office in Pak Beng that can arrange trekking to Hmong village in the nearby hills with possible homestay by the family.