Pak Beng takes about 7-8 hours (approx. 150 km) to reach by passenger boat from Houay Xay, with optional stops at ethnic villages along the way. The small port town is where most 2-day Luang Prabang-Houay Xay cruises overnight. The pier consists of a few concrete stairways and paths from the bank to the village on a steep hill. During the high tourist season, rooms are difficult to find, though some tour agents and cruise operators offer pre-booked rooms or on-board accommodation.
Rather than rush off to Luang Prabang, stay another day in Pak Beng, and check out the area’s natural and cultural attractions, including caves, forest hikes, ancient temples, handicraft villages, and an elephant camp. A small visitor centre at the landing offers some tourist information.
The compact tourism enclave offers a modest choice of eateries, bakeries, and shops. A 45-km local passenger boat ride from Pak Beng lands at tiny Tha Xouang Pier – for adventurers seeking an off-the-beaten trail to Hongsa in Sayabouly Province –before sailing off to Luang Prabang.