Luang Prabang | Markets & Shopping


luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doI enjoy shopping on trips, less because I want to buy stuff and more because I like exploring local markets (like Khan El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo and the Merliot Vegetable Market in San Salvador). Our R&R to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia was no exception — especially in Luang Prabang.luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doWe got to do some good shopping in Luang Prabang, which has a night market with fabrics, handicrafts and other tourist merchandise, a morning vegetable market where locals do all their shopping and lots of boutiques and shops selling beautiful silk tapestries, wood carvings and other items.luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doThe morning market in Luang Prabang is open everyday from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. It’s where our hotel and a lot of the restaurants (including the place where we took our cooking class — more on that next week) buy their daily vegetables and meats.luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doIt’s also where many locals buy their sticky rice and other offerings to give to the monks during the morning almsgiving tradition. Kail and I took a spin through the morning vegetable market on our last day in Luang Prabang, after observing the monks’ processional to collect alms.luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doWe obviously didn’t buy anything since we were heading to the airport in a couple hours, but it would have been neat to be able to buy our own fresh ingredients and cook, had we been staying in an airbnb or VRBO rental with a kitchen. (It’s nice to think that, anyway, but in reality there are so many good restaurants in Luang Prabang and why cook on vacation?)luan prabang, laos, morning vegetable market, shopping, things to doSo we didn’t buy any fresh produce, noodles or meats, but we did buy a few items from the night market and a couple boutique shops. I’ll start with the night market, which opens daily from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and spans a few blocks just past the Grand Palace and National Museum.luan prabang, laos, night market, shopping, things to doA lot of the vendors sell the same things; it’s stall after stall of embroidered pillowcases and purses, watercolor paintings on elephant dung paper, beaded jewelry and Beer Lao t-shirts. We bought a couple t-shirts, little embroidered bags that can be used as travel toiletry kits or makeup bags, some elephant dung paper journals and a couple pairs of printed shorts styled after the harem pants so popular among tourists in Southeast Asia.luan prabang, laos, night market, shopping, things to doSpoiler alert: We bought a mix of items for ourselves and gifts for our families. The night market is a bit crowded, what with its narrow walkways between vendors and groups of backpackers and tourists. We visited the market all three nights we were in Luang Prabang, but we didn’t spend that long there any given visit. Also, I’m terrible at bargaining and prefer to just end the transaction as soon as possible so I can get away.luan prabang, laos, night market, shopping, things to doThe night market also has street food vendors selling everything from crepes and smoothies to sandwiches and noodle soups. We got Nutella and banana crepes one night. More on Lao food in a future post!luan prabang, laos, shopping, things to doAll along the main street of Luang Prabang, there are boutiques and shops selling a mix of tourist souvenirs and really nice silks, bags, clothing and artwork. We bought some carved wood wall mounts and a woven cotton tapestry for home decor (a less expensive alternative to silk). We also bought a wrap dress (for me) and personalized name stamps (for Kail) and of course, postcards and magnets.There was a lot of pretty jewelry, artwork and other items that we weren’t really in the market for. Overall, very good shopping (and people-watching) in Luang Prabang.What kinds of things do you buy when you go shopping on vacation?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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