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 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.