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Shopping in Luang Prabang

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Explore the night market ‘Thalat Sonpao or Thalat Dala' in the city of Luang Prabang, where the Northern ethnic groups sell good handicrafts and creative textiles such as hand-sewn bedding, bags and many other impressive souvenirs. Otherwise, drop into some of the numerous gift shops around Luang Prabang. Travel to the ‘Thalat Naviengkham' market for fresh goods like meat, vegetables, herbs and other household needs.

Like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, bargaining is a tradition, so whether you want to buy some traditional Lao cotton fabric or Lao handicrafts, carvings or jewelry, don't forget to bargain first.

Use this Luang Prabang Shopping Guide to get an idea of some of the shops you may want to check out. They are all recommended, at the very least as somewhere to browse around in on your Luang Prabang holiday.

You'll find you get hassled much less than in other places in Southeast Asia, and this can make the whole shopping experience much more enjoyable. And after a busy day of shopping around, why not relax in one of the Luang Prabang Restaurants, and enjoy a traditional Lao meal.

Luang Prabang Shopping Guide

Luang Prabang is a 40-minute flight away from Vientiane. The markets in both cities have a lot to offer. Handmade shirts, silk and silver jewellery are the recommended purchases here. Most of the Luang Prabang shops have fixed prices but bargaining is still accepted at stores selling art objects and antique pieces.

Weaving is one of the main sources of livelihood in the region and the weaving village is about 3 km outside Luang Prabang. Besides the Luang Prabang shops in the city, every one of which showcases the various local styles, you could visit the community market in the village to pick up some lovely pieces of fabric. You could even get a piece woven according to your choice of colours and pattern.

If you take a liking to the sihns worn by the local women, you could buy some fabric at the Phousi Market. Prices vary from $7 to $25 and can go up to $200 for the very intricately designed ones. Each fabric set includes the fabric and a border, and you could get your sihn tailored to your size at one of the tailoring shops in Luang Prabang. Tailors take a couple of days to complete the piece but if possible, you should try and get a fitting done in between.

Lampshades and interleaved photograph albums are other popular buys here while on a Luang Prabang holiday. The lampshades can be packed flat for ease of transportation though it is wise to check the wattage of the lamps, as they can be quite low. Bedspreads and duvet covers are made to size by the women in the Hmong market, which is located near the post office. They can complete the work overnight.

Mixay and Satri Lao are two shops in Luang Prabang that sell ready-made garments brought in from the surrounding areas. Both shops accept credit cards. A night market opens daily at the far end of the main street.