Pak Lay | Sanakham / Laos



Pak Lay

A little stopover in the countryside on the way from Sainyabuli to Vientiane is Pak Lay. Pak Lay lies at the banks of the Mekong River. It seems to have some growth, for a number of new buildings was to see.

'The Mekong River at Pak Lay' by Asienreisender

The Mekong River at Pak Lay. Image by Asienreisender, 12/2011

The place is very small and absolutely off the beaten track. It lies along national road 4 which comes from Luang Prabang via Sainyabuli and continues further to the Laotian capital. The reason I stopped here was that I was curious to have a look and come anyhow a little bit in touch with these little country-towns, for normally one never makes the experience. There is practically no Western tourism here and the very few guesthouses available are designed for Laotian travellers, probably mostly businessmen.

There is not much to say about this place. The unusual issue was that it was the first time after Luang Prabang that I personally met another Westerner. He was an Australian traveller who was also on the way to Vientiane, where we spent some days together.

Another happening was at the bus station, where I was asked for my name at the ticket counter. I always find it peculiar if the tickets come with the passenger's name. I told the officer then that I was Khao Pad (fried rice), a common dish in Laos. He asked me again and I repeated in a serious way. Suddenly he started laughing and laughing and asked me if he should really note that on the ticket. Later, when I was sitting in the crowded bus already, he told the little event the other passengers and there was much more laughing.

Pak Lay Bus Station
'Pak Lay Bus Station' by Asienreisender

Image by Asienreisender, 7/2011



Another small nest in the northwestern region of Laos is Sanakham, south of Pak Lay, where the Mekong already makes the border to Loei Province in Isan / Thailand.

'Sanakham' by Asienreisender

Inside Sanakham. Image by Asienreisender, 7/2011

This place stretches about three kilometers from the small bus station parallel to the river. The houses to the right and left of the dirt road have much free space around them. There are only a few small family shops in Sanakham and a very limited choice of restaurants who are practically almost without guests. One may have to wake up the waitress respectively owner to get some food. One of them is an old, rotten, wooden building with a wooden terrace at the river banks. It's a good place to spend time, for it's quiet and the surroundings, the river landscapes are picturesque. One can see the hilly landscapes in Loei Province behind the river.

There was just one guesthouse in the village, a simple place which suited me fine. The main temple is decorated with many of these Buddhist temple paintings, who were of some interest for me at the time, because I was comparing them with those I saw in north Thailand.

The Mekong River at Sanakham
'The Mekong River at Sanakham' by Asienreisender

The grand river is here the border to Thailand's Isan region. On the other side it's hilly Loei Province. Image by Asienreisender, 7/2011