Electricity runs from a hydroelectric dam in the Beng River (which joins the Mekong at Pak Beng), so when there is no water in the dry season, electricity may be scarce, but during the wet season it runs for 24 hours. Most guest houses and restaurants have generators running in the evening, and these are usually switched off at 22:00.
Pak Beng has no electricity in the town yet, except of one that is produced by generator in the evening. As each place has more or less its own generator, some will shut electricity around 11 pm and most of them at midnight. It's therefore not bad idea to bring your own torch or ask for candle in your guesthouse... finidng a toilet in the dark ain't that fun.
A girl came onto our boat when we stopped (not breaking down), presumably at the driver's village, as it was unscheduled, and did not coincide with a meal break at all. She was comically aggressive - best sales pitch! "You buy my bananas - they make your skin beautiful - you very nice"....................Why you not buy my bananas?..........here you buy!" (thrown in lap of passenger - waving her and her bananas away)........"Why you not buy my bananas?.........you hate me!!!!"
Repeated this distribe up and down the boat several times - and IT WORKED! People bought the b***** bananas!
I was laughing and videoing her - lucky to get out alive!!! - and with NO BANANAS! I don't have any pictures of her unfortunately - only the others!
Advice would be to keep your head down - or be assertive!
This place than other i felt had a slight problem with Opium. Although i was not there for to long, i found it somewhat disconcerting to be approached by several young children to buy opium and pot off them.
Although i myself didnt experience any rats, most of my travelling companions had rats in thier respective guesthouses, some of which ate through their backpacks.
I guess its just the luck of the draw really.