The medium sized village of Pak Tha is set at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Tha rivers and is a comfortable place to break the journey between Huay Xai and Pakbeng. It is also the place from where to embark on the fabulous trip up the Nam Tha river to Luang Nam Tha.
Set atop the bank of the Mekong, Pak Tha also marks the region from where Laos sits on both sides of the Mekong River. Not much happens in Pak Tha, making it an ideal spot to rest and recharge.
A lot happens in the late afternoon (by Pak Tha's standards) when the river is low and a good football games kicks off near the Nam Tha riverbank. A daily market in the centre of town seems to be the focal point of most activity in town and it's also where you will be able to get a bowl of noodle soup.
Also when the river is lower there are some great rapids which some of the particularly crazy kids throw themselves into.
The village is basically made up of three main roads which run parallel to the river and have numerous smaller paths linking them together. Boats tend to stop at the northern end of town at the mouth of the Nam Tha which is then a two-kilometre walk into the centre of town.
The customs and immigration office is located at the boat dock, but this will be of little use to anyone unless coming through the scrub across the river from Thailand.
The few accommodation options in Pak Tha offer only rudimentary facilities. Supaphon and Suphany are the pick of the guesthouses and are located in the centre of town. Just ask at the market for directions. Suphany has two types of rooms and those downstairs are some of the worst we have seen. If you can manage it, tell the owner you'd like to stay with her son, Bounmee, where he has a few basic rooms in his house. They're the best bet, and although still basic, you will at least not feel dirty. Cold water and squat toilets are the norm around these parts.
Food in Pak Tha is a makeshift affair. Near the boat dock there are two noodle shops worth checking out. The meat is a bit gristly, but it does fill the spot. Suphany also can put on meals and if you're staying with Bounmee on the boat dock side of the Nam Tha, he will lend you his bike to get to his mother's house for a feed.
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Text and/or map last updated on 22nd March, 2013.
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