I have to say that Pakbeng was one of the worst places I have ever satyed in my life. Not the place itself nor the place I stayed (Bounmy Guest House - 150 baht a night and no rats with an excellent restaurant), but just the attitude. If one place gives an indication of what Laos might become, like many other South East Asian countries, this is it.
They have quickly learnt that you are either fresh off he boat from Chiang Khong and like a startled rabbit in a car's headlights or you have come from Luang Prabang and realise you are trapped for the night.
Everything is overpriced and of poor quality. You will be gone in the morning. The waiters and cooks double up as opium and dope dealers. End of Pakbeng rant.