Vientiane, Laos



What to Buy

Look for the "Stay Another Day: Laos" booklet for a guide to non-profit handicraft shops, sustainable manufacturing and other NGO stuff in Vientiane and elsewhere in Laos. 
Above all, silk and cotton weaving are for sale at the Talat Sao (Morning Market) and in many shops along Thanons Setthathirat and Samsenthai, and in several of their side roads. In the Morning Market you should bargain, while in the other shops you may try to get a discount but don't count on it.

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Talat Sao (Morning Market) by Tevaprapas Makklay

Some of the better shops are:

  • Mixay Boutic, Thanon Nokeo Kumman - They have some women weaving fabrics from the shop's own design on the premises - you are welcome to watch. Beautiful wall hangings, not the cheapest in town but well worth the price. Also on sale are shirts, skirts, scarves, cushion covers and anything made of textiles.
  • Laha Boutique, Thanon Francois Ngin - Naturally dyed textiles (made mainly from cotton) from southwestern Laos (Savannakhet).
  • Kanchana, off Thanon Samsenthai on Thanon Chantha Kumman (road to That Dam) - Traditional Lao silk weaving, hand-woven fabrics, textiles and clothing using natural dyes. 
  • Lao Textiles, Thanon Nokeo Kumman - Offers modern cotton weaving using traditional motifs and some of their works have been exhibited in international museums. They are not particularly welcoming to visitors, including a locked front door, a bell that needs to be rung to request entry and "no photography" signs.
  • Mulberries Lao Sericulture Company, Thanon Nokeo Kumman - The sales outlet of a nonprofit organisation that operates in about five hundred villages in Northern Laos, seeking to create income generating opportunities. Offers naturally-dyed handmade Lao silk products.
  • TShop Lai, Vat Inpeng Street - Operated by Les Artisans Lao and sells oils, shampoos and soaps as well as honey and some nice handicrafts. Les Artisans Lao is a social venture allowing disadvantaged, uneducated and marginalised people to receive an apprenticeship.

Silk threads from Talat Sao by Adam Jones

Several shops around Vientiane offer book buy/sell/exchange services. Some of the them on the shelves look as if they have been on a long, long trip in a back-pack but you can find interesting reading materials here. Monument Books (at Thanon Nokeo Kumman and next to the Vayakorn Guesthouse) offers a good selection of English and French language books and magazines.

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