The 5 Best Places for Shopping in Luang Prabang

Traveling to Luang Prabang, Laos, beside visiting temples, pagodas or tribes’ villages, another way to discover this town’s beauty is by shopping. The range of shops selling handicrafts, textiles or carves, and markets full of local products are ideal places to know more about Lao culture. However, you cannot visit all of them during your tour to Laos so the Luang Prabang shopping guide below may help you to some extent.

1. Luang Prabang Night Market

Opening hour: 5 pm - 11 pm

The night market which occurs between 5 pm – 11 pm begins at Wat Mai and runs along Sisavangvong Road to the town center. The popular items here includes embroidered bags and purses in various sizes and colors, screened ‘Beer Lao’ T-shirt, cotton pants and shirts, bed covers, woven carves, opium pipes and accessories, paper lanterns.

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In addition, the hill-tribe traders appear with their different apparels, ceramics, bamboo, lamps, blankets, handicraft and silk scarves. Beside, shop houses and hotels lining both sides of the road also sell many products such as handmade souvenirs, Lao coffee beans, homemade whiskeys, and books.

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Note: The vendors often quote higher prices than when buying from shops so you should shop around or haggle politely first.

2. Ock Pop Tok

Opening hour: 8 am – 6 pm

Ock Pop Tok is a weaving center which has two shops in Luang Prabang. Its products consisting of cushions, colorful cotton scarves, clothes, bedspreads, throws, shawls, beaded coasters and so on are very beautiful, made by hand on traditional wooden looms. Especially, there are many periodically organized events like workshops, exhibitions, or seminars that you can join in.

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After visiting Ock Pop Tock and buying its products as souvenirs, you ought to try a cup of worm-poo tea at a great riverside cafe also located within the center.

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3. Kopnoi

Address: Th Kingkitsarat, Luang Prabang, Laos

Opening hour: 8 am – 8 pm (Monday – Saturday); 10 am – 8 pm (Sunday)

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Kopnoi, which aims at promoting Lao traditions, skills and materials, is one of the most special shops in Luang Prabang. There is a wide selection of products such as silk and cotton clothes, accessories, decor elements, jewelry, and other goods. All the products are made by combining unusual materials like silver, wood, coconut shells, etc. The quality is good and there is no chance of you buying Chinese copies.

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4. Hmong Market

Shopping at Hmong Market (opposite the New Luang Prabang Hotel) is a must when visiting Luang Prabang. From the street, it may not look like much but when you walk inside, you will find lots of stalls selling all things embroidered, from weaved bags, hill-tribe bags, hats, underwear to bed covers, coin purses, etc.

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Many of the stalls opening during the day are still there when night falls, so that they can propose their products on the night market as well. Bargaining at the evening market is usually welcome but prices are lower than in any other markets or shops in Luang Prabang.

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5. L’Etranger Books and Tea

Address: Phousi Road, Ban Aphay, Luang Prabang, Laos

Opening hour: 7 am – 10 pm (Monday – Saturday), 10 am – 10 pm (Sunday)

Tel: +856 71 212 880

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This two-story wooden book cafe sells and trades second-hand books. The collection spans many languages and subjects, including travel, art, culture, novels, South Asia, Luang Prabang and much more. For those who are bookworms or just want to enjoy a relaxing and friendly atmosphere, this place is the number one choice. There are also a movie show beginning at 7 o’clock every evening but you should come early since the place can get packed.

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NOTES:

• Do not buy any antiques because the sale of these items is draining Laos of its history and heritage.

• Do not buy wildlife products, including snake, scorpion whiskey, tusks, teeth, horns and paws. Laos has a big difficulty with the trafficking and trade of wildlife and it has reached critical levels. If you still buy them, you will have committed a crime and the problem worse.

To sum up, shopping in Luang Prabang is an interesting experience since you will see a variety of items that reflect Lao culture. Additionally, you can also buy souvenirs that will remind you of this beautiful country and friendly people that you met during your tour.

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Brian Vu

Working for a travel company is a big chance for me to feel love with travel. Specially, leisure is not my style, riding motorbike to discover everywhere is really great for my trips. On each miles I reach, I get opportunity to learn more about the local culture, to see ... [View Details...]