This small temple, I later found out, is one of two in the village. It was closed when I was walking around the village before the slowboat departed but there is another one called Wat Si Chome Chaeng that's higher up the hill. This one is located on your right, past the market as you walk out the village on the main road.
There's a small market in the village which you'll find on the left hand side as you walk out of the village. It's pretty basic and messy with chickens running around and a steam running through it. You may stumble upon some of the local tribal women shopping here dressed in traditional tribal clothes with baskets on their backs, like I did.
As the slowboat leaves at around 9-9.30 in the morning, you'll need to be up and about fairly early. Pak Beng is fairly high up which means you get some good views of the river below and these shots were taken in the early morning with the sun rising over the river in the distance.
The main reason for coming to Pak Beng is that it serves as an overnight stop during the slowboat to Luang Prabang trip along the Mekong River. The trip takes two days and originates from the small town of Huay Xai on the Thai border. It's very popular with western tourists but also caters for local people who ride between various villages that the boat calls at.
The boat I took left an hour late from Huay Xai at about 12pm but check the departure time when you book your ticket. The first day's trip passes by a few bamboo stilt villages but there was very little life on the river itself. The boat arrived in Pak Beng at 5.30pm and you can easier find accommodation for the night. Pak Beng is a small, simple, charming place with a few shops and restaurants. The boat leaves at around 9.45am on the second day but again check the departure time when you arrive in Pak Beng. The second day is better than the first as you see more life on the river, plus we saw some working elephants drag tree trunks down a hill to a waiting boat. The boat also stopped at some more villages to drop off goods and food plus people and even live chickens in cages which were on the roof of the boat. At one stop several 50kg bags of rice were delivered. The boat arrived in Luang Prabang at around 5.45pm just as the sun was setting over the river which made for a magical arrival.
The slowboat ferry dock in Huay Xia is located about a kilometre north of the immigration office/river crossing from Thailand dock. It's best to take some snacks for the trip but you can stock up at Pak Beng for the second day if you so wish. The boats have wooden seats with no cushions so it's best to buy a cushion for added comfort bearing in mind that you'll be sitting down for the best part of 2 days. You can buy them at a shop along the turn-off road that goes down to where the slowboats are docked in Huay Xai. I bought my ticket from the slowboat ferry office which is located at the dock and this cost me 950 baht - 220,000 kip/US$30.
After visiting the local market there isn't much to do. At the top of the hill is this modest wat. The monks are friendly,and the views are spectacular. The chedi is said to contain sacred buddha images.
One of my most cherished memories in Pak Beng was walking around late at night and having a family invite me into thier hut for some mekong wisky. Although their english was very poor i felt great warmth and hospitality coming from them and thier kindness i will never forget.
When going down to the port early in the morning to catch my slow boat, i was greeted with one of the most beautiful sites ive seen in my life. The look of the early morning fog and the sun glistening on the mekong river is something ill truly never forget.
Pakben is usually an overnight sto while travelling on the mekong, but it would be such a pity not to go for a little walk and see how charming this large village can be. The main street, and only street, is dotted with plenty of little thatched-roofed shops selling very little - lots of little small things that one does wonder who would ever buy them. At the end of the road there's also a nice veggie market, and there are some stalls from where local peopel sell cooked food, or eat it
I think this is the busliest part in this town. Good place for breakfast and buy some more for lunch in boat
There is have nothing to see.There is just a tiny town
I just walked along the road , looked around and also stopped talking with local a liltte they was look so shy