This small town set on the stunning Nam Kading river is known throughout the province for its fish.
The town is nothing more than a lunchtime stop for most visitors, although if you have the time and inclination, it's possible to rent a boat to take you upriver to the town on Phonsy, observing traditional Lao riverine life along the way.
Unfortunately it is no longer possible to enter the Nam Kading NBCA – the government effectively prohibits entrance. We met numerous people who had planned a trip up the river but decided to head elsewhere after learning about how difficult (read impossible) it was to get to the NBCA.
The same situation exists in the town of Phonsy, 18 kilometres to the east, where boatmen are unwilling to transport passengers upriver, despite there being a big blue English-language sign indicating hour-long boat trips run upriver into the NBCA.
There is just one place to stay, at least that we were able to find, in Pak Kading. The Vilada Guesthouse is decent enough with optional air-con, rock hard beds, clean tiled floors and hot water bathrooms with bucket flush toilets. All things considered, it’s expensive for what you get at 70,000 kip for a fan room and 100,000 kip for an air-con room. T: (020) 2255 5508. The owner can’t speak English, but hand signals seem to work.
If you’re riding a bike, this is a good town to stop in overnight as it is more or less half way between Tha Khaek and Vientiane.
By Stuart McDonald.