Pakbeng (Pak means mouth – Beng means river), a small village on the Mekong, sits between the Thai border and Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Pakbeng developed as an overnight stop for cargo and passenger ferries on the Mekong. Set scenicly where the Nam Beng flows into the Mekong, Pakbeng has little to offer – a small ‘wat’ found in nearby village hills – a quaint example of a former Lanna Kingdom Buddhist temple. Several guesthouses have restaurants and saunas, while local hill tribes live nearby. For a more ‘Lao experience’, head to the early morning market to see local produce, dried buffalo skins, frogs-on-sticks, pigs-face and buffalo hooves. Sample Lao sweets like coconut jelly, fried bananas, sweet donuts.