Shopping in Luang Prabang can be as enjoyable as shopping in the finer shopping districts of the world. With the many one-of-a-kind handicrafts, impressive quality and variety of silks, exquisite souvenirs, hand-sewn goodies, locally made furnishings, elaborately woven crafts, detailed carvings, work of arts and night markets offering everything from soap to gadgets-well, let’s just say it’s a haven for the shopping fanatics.
The items mentioned above, in fact, are some of the best products unique to the country that you’ll find in Luang Prabang. And because the main source of income of many people in Luang Prabang comes from weaving local materials, there’s never a shortage of delicate crafts you can bring home with you. In addition, ethnic minorities living in the mountain regions are also regular masters of their own craft, producing traditional Laotian embroideries of quilts, curtains and many others you’ll find delightful and unique.
Luang Prabang is such a small city and you’ll find lots of places where you can buy whatever you need in the downtown area. So if you’re ready to shop, here’s a quick guide on places you can go to for things you might want to have.
The Dara Market
You’ll find this market near Wat Phousi. There are shops selling jewelry, clothes, shoes, bags, textiles and all kinds of fabrics. There are also stalls selling perfume, soaps, toiletries and many others. Bargaining is OK but most shops accept cash payment only. Be sure to check for damages as well before you pay and leave with your merchandise. This market is open from 8A.M. to 5 P.M.
The Night Market
What most tourists find very enjoyable and thoroughly exhilarating is the night market experience. When the clock ticks 6:00 in the evening, most shops from other stores move to the night market area to sell their goods until 9:00 P.M. You’ll find this famous night market at the end of the Sisavangvong Road to Setthathirath Road and the Royal Palace Museum. The roads are closed to accommodate the numerous stalls selling textiles, silk fabrics, clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, work crafts, wall hangings, ceramics and all kinds of knick-knacks. Haggling is OK although you’ll find the prices cheap enough, which makes bargaining with the vendors a bit hard. The atmosphere is quiet and with candle lights all over the place, it makes the surroundings romantic too.
The Hmong Market
This flea market in Hmong village sells local arts and crafts, colorful jewelry, hand bags, sling bags, curtains, blankets, bed sheets, coasters, lamps, shirts, blouses and many others. You’ll also find lots of colorful weaved bags, paintings and sculptures here. And when you’re done looking around, you can snack on the numerous food and drinks being sold in the area as well.
Shopping in Luang Prabang is truly an extraordinary experience. Shopping in the night markets alone is as exquisite as the products being sold. Walking along the shop-filled streets, through the merchandise lining the streets, the brightly colored goods all around, all contribute to a wonderful feeling everyone feels when shopping abroad.