Luang Prabang night market is something not to be missed when visiting this charming city. It's an amazing sight and offers the most extensive collection of handicrafts in the country.
The market is open daily from 5pm to about 10pm. It is located along Sisavangvong Road from the Royal Palace Museum. See location maps (Google). Every evening a kilometre-long stretch of road is closed to vehicle traffic and turned into a walking and shopping street while the market takes place.
More than 300 handicraft vendors sell their hand-made products here every night. The market showcases an extensive variety of handicrafts made by local ethnic groups. On display are many types of textiles, exquisite ceramics, antiques, paintings, coffee and tea, quilts, shoes, silver, bags, bamboo lamps of different shades and sizes, and even rare spices.
There are a lot of interesting items on display at the night market that are hard to find elsewhere. Best of all they are cheap. The traders quote quite low prices considering most of the items are hand made. So even if you're not good at bargaining, you can be sure that you will get good value. But if you enjoy or want to practice your bargaining skill you can do so, though don't expect huge discounts.
Shopping fans will be pleased to know that they are also helping the local people when they spend their money. Buying stuff here will not only help the traders to earn a living, but it will also empower the local families who produce goods to further develop their skills and help them get out of poverty.
For those who are not into shopping, just wandering around chatting with the vendors will enrich your Lao cultural experience. What most shoppers like about the traders here (as well as in Laos as a whole) is that they don't force people to buy anything. If you ask about their merchandise most will be cheerfully accommodate your query. Most local traders in the Luang Prabang night market speak little English.
The market is also filled with T-shirts bearing Luang Prabang iconography, and prints and paintings that capture the town’s characters. Food and drinks are also available. If you want to taste local food, there is a large variety of Lao food ranging from BBQ chicken and sticky rice to a well stocked vegetarian buffet for you to choose from.
Taking a leisurely walk through the night market is an enjoyable experience in itself. It is not unusual to lose track of time while you stroll amongst the stalls. In fact if you look around, you will see many tourists moving slowly, seemingly transfixed while enjoying their shopping.
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