Celebrating a Quiet New Year in Pakbeng, Laos

Raine Wanders @wanderein
· 22 days ago · 2 min read · Laos · #video

Just dropping by to greet everyone a happy new decade! I also want to share my New Year’s Eve experience in Pakbeng, Laos. It’s not a place you travel to for a New Year’s countdown, Luang Prabang would have a bigger event that would cater to tourists.

We intended to get to Luang Prabang for the celebration as we wanted to see fireworks, however, we didn’t have enough time to travel from Pai. It took us 4 days to get to Luang Prabang as the buses in Chiang Mai were full going to the Laos border. Two days on a slow boat - over 5 hours on the first slow boat and over 8 hours on the second day of slow boat. We arrived here in Luang Prabang on the 1st.

Slow boat from Huay Xai to Pakbeng
Slow boat from Huay Xai to Pakbeng

For New Year’s Eve, we have to stop over at Pakbeng, Laos as the slow boat takes 2 days and they only operate during the day time. We didn’t expect much as it’s a small village that only serves as a transit hub for travelers going to Luang Prabang.

We walked at night and found a restaurant that offered a hot pot. On our way we found scattered groups having a drink and singing karaoke. It reminds me of small towns in the Philippines but without the fireworks.

New Year’s Eve Dinner Hotpot for 19,000 kip
New Year’s Eve Dinner Hotpot for 19,000 kip

A local recommended us Hive Bar but they were already closing an hour before midnight so we went to the only other bar called Happy Bar. Most travelers, about 10 or less, were here. We got some free shots and got a Beer Lao. The atmosphere wasn’t so festive and unfriendly so we decided to go somwehere else.

We joined a group of locals celebrating at one of the few still open restaurants. They were happy to see us and were merrily celebrating the new year with songs and beer.

We took the slow boat the following day to Luang Prabang the following day. We ended 2019 on a slow boat and started 2020 on one again. Guess it will be a decade of memorable and scenic travels!

Slow boat from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang
Slow boat from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang

I compiled the video clips in Pakbeng, Laos on a New Year. Lots of locals singing. Happy New Year! :)


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