Luang Prabang City Centre Shopping
Luang Prabang has much to offer the shopper in terms of local handicrafts, textiles, art and jewellery. Many Luang Prabang city centre hotels will have tips on what to buy and where.
Exploring the night markets of Thalat Dalat or Thalat Sonpao is not only an interesting way to experience local life, but is also a chance to buy some distinctive souvenirs, including local handicrafts, creative textiles such as hand-sewn bags and bedding, t-shirts, woodcarvings and other items. The market is largely lit by candles and has a pleasant atmosphere.
Dara Market is the main central market. It used to be a slightly rough market, selling everything from motorcycle parts to flip-flops, but it in recent years it has been cleaned up and the tiled market sells clothes, jewellery, and fabrics as well as practical items such as coffee, shoes, bags and shampoo.
Luang Prabang has many gift shops where tourists can purchase quaint household objects or couture-style textiles. Fresh produce such as vegetables, herbs and meat are sold at the Thalat Naviengkham market. Visitors may find the markets of Laos more relaxing than those of Thailand, where the hard sell is much more common.
Two interesting places to visit are Ban Lao Natural Products and CAMA Crafts. Ban Lao Natural Products sells hand-made silks, clothing, handicrafts, and natural soap and beauty products. All merchandise is fair trade. CAMA Crafts is a non-profit project that sells handicrafts made by local Lao artisans. All the products are handmade using traditional techniques and patterns. The aim of both these projects is to preserve the traditional skills of Hmong and Lao women, and provide locals with a sustainable income.
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