There are no many organized tourism related activites in Pak Lay yet and some visitor will find it boring here. On the other hand, Pak Lay is nice provincial town to stay for a day or two and walk around if not too hot. It is rural district capital. In the main streets there are several colonial buildings left in typical Inodchina style, large...more
Unfortunatelly I was always passing by these rice terraces by 'public' transport without taking any photos but they looked really nice with hills and forests covering slopes around and farmers taking care of the fields. They're about 15-20 km from Pak Lay towards Thongmyxay district and are best visited by bycicle or motorbike or whatever you can...more
There are several restaurants scattered around the town - if you can't without some 'western oriented' dishes you may try those near or attached to guesthouses although your choice will be more or less very limited (remember the remoteness and difficulty to supply goods). Most of other will serve Lao and ofthen Thai and sometimes Vietnamese dishes but usually they will not have English menues. Best local restaurants are to be found near the market and football ground. In the midday, however, these won't be full of visitors but will have livelier atmosphere in the evenings (or in the mornings). Restaurants upon the Mekong are nice and have views, larger menues and cold beer but are bit more expensive and obviously for foreigners with some western foods on the menu - but you might find thier atmosphere a bit dull.
Favorite Dish: Try local noodle soups and afford yourself a cup of Lao coffee with milk and ice. It's both cheap and delicious.
Since Pak Lay is small town and doesn't yet have many vistiors there aren't many places to hang out untill very late. Streets get dark after sunset since they don't use public light and most smaller restaurants will be closed in afternoon. However, you can dine or drink beer with friends by some restaurants or guesthouses with terrace over Mekong - these are probably the best place to spend an evening outside. Another place to look for some atmosphere (though... with just a few people usually listening music or watching TV) would be West of Market where you'll find a few smaller restaurants that remain open until quite late and are favoured with Lao working in the district. In general streets after dark get very quiet and uninhabited.
Slow boat will be the best and most comfortable option for you to get to Vientiane, however keep in mind that it leaves only a few times a week at about 9.30 and it takes min. 8 hrs of travelling. Boats leave from the port (built with Australian help) in the middle of Pak Lay and you'll land at Kao Liew boat/ferry station which is in suburb,...more
To travel by speed boat to Kaoliew you'll need to go to speed boat station by tuk-tuk or walking but it's bit far from the main districts - it's in the Southern part of the town. Before boarding you'll need to go through some kind of 'immigration' (and the same procedure if you're landing) where they take your name and address in the notebook....more
If you want to go to Sayabouly capital you'll need to take pick up or songthaew from the pick up station. It's 2 km from the town to the North, by the main road to Saya. The price is 45000 KIP (in 2009) per person and it takes between 4 - 6 hours to get there. The road is not paved and you'll be covered by dust in matter of minutes or seconds, so...more
Pak Lay main shopping place is the market. Probably you won't really do a lot of shopping there unless you need to buy foods and things for household. There aren't handicrafts and souvenir shops in Pak Lay so far, but you can buy some silver, gold, coins at good prices there. If you know how to use, there are some villagers who sell traditional medicine.
What to buy: coins, foods, herbal traditional medicine
What to pay: some bargain is always possible.
If you desire to walk around the town after the sunset it's good to have torch with you. There are no public lights yet and roads aren't paved - watch your step or help yourself with your own source of light.
Pak Lay doesn't see much tourists due remoteness... However, you'll meet some in town probably. You won't need to go far to be alone with Lao, take any road and any direction, you'd see scarcer villages and more forests, birds, clean rivers.
You can take a pick up by the market and it will take you towards Thai border. Go on toward Thongmyxay district, you'll see elephants, rice fields, forests and huge deforested areas. Go towards Sayabouly capital, you'll see some nice villages again. No accomodation alomost, no tour guides, almost nobody speaks English but there are very friendly locals. No paved road.... is that enough to take you off the beaten path?