Local Markets in Luang Prabang
Local market is the best place to observe authentic life of local people in any destination and Luang Prabang is no different. Although it is the tourist hot spot these days, it still retains its sleepy Laos charm. Luang Prabang markets are fascinating and packed with interesting street food to try. There are several markets worth checking out and this article aims to give you an idea of what you can expect at each.
1. Morning Market
The Morning Market is a simple outdoor market where most of the vendors display their wares on the ground. Only A butcher and some of the more touristy stalls have tables for their wares. It starts in early morning and over by mid – morning. As Luang Prabang is also the largest town in Northern Laos, people from surrounding villages, come here to sell their products. They can be fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, dried buffalo meat, banana chips, deep-fried bamboo shoots and anything else that might be the day’s catch from nearly river or jungle.
Local people in town come to the market every day to buy fresh food for their family. There is also an abundance of snacks for breakfast.
It sets up along a couple of side-streets near Royal Palace. So, it is easy for tourists to walk from hotels at centre.
Location: near Royal Palace
Opening hours: 5.00AM – 11.00AM
2. Night Market
Night market is the most well – known one in Luang Prabang which no travelers want to miss. It offers the most extensive collection of handicrafts in Laos. Before the dark comes, many vendors come from the nearby ethnic villages to sell their hand-made handicraft products. Travelers can find many types of textiles, exquisite ceramics, antiques, paintings, coffee and tea, quilts, shoes, souvenir t-shirts, handbags, paper umbrellas, lamps, fridge magnets, jewelry and cutlery made from recycled bombs. There are a lot of interesting items on display at the night market that are hard to find elsewhere.
The Market opens along Sisavangvong Road from the Tourism office, towards the Royal Palace Museum Roads in the town centre. From 5PM, the entire length of the street is closed off to vehicles and turned into a walking and shopping street. Shops and hotels lining both sides of the road are also opened for business, selling handmade souvenirs, Lao coffee beans, homemade whiskys, and books. At the end of the market, you can see food stalls selling Laotian street food at affordable prices. Popular dishes include grilled meat, Lao noodle soup, pho, meat-filled baguettes, and ready-to-eat meals. Some big stalls have long wooden tables and benches. In the market, sellers often quote higher prices, so you can bargain politely or walk around for reference.
Location: on Sisavangvong Road
Opening hours: 05 – 10PM
This market sells a similar range of goods to Phosi but the scale is smaller. There are many fresh fruit sellers at the entrance, so you can pick up some mangoes, bananas or papayas when riding pass. You can also pick up a range of clothing items – from flip flops, to frilly tops.
Location: on the 13th North Road close to LTC company.
Opening hours: 11.AM – 6.00PM
4. Phosi Market
It is the largest market in Luang Prabang which supplies goods to entire town. It includes both outdoor and indoor area. You can find all things you need for daily life in this market, from fresh products (live animals, meats, vegetables) to cooked food, clothing, furniture, kitchenware, bedding….
The Phosi Market is not located within walking distance from the main street. To get there, you had better take a tuk-tuk or ride a bicycle. As it is on the road to Kuang Si Waterfall, it’s a good idea to visit the market on the same day you visit the Waterfall
Phousi market should definitely be on your list if you’re more interested in Lao culture than actually shopping. As it can get very crowded, please take good care of your belongings.
Location: on the way to Kuang Si Waterfall
Opening hours: 5.00AM to 5.00PM
5. Dara Market
This is an indoor market located a block away from the tourism office. The major product which is sold in this market is sinhs, the traditional skirts worn by Laos women made from very colourful material. They also sell traditional Lao blouses and men’s shirts. Besides, you can find shops selling trekking sandals, sneakers, hats, backpacks as well as electronics (selfie sticks, WIFI dongles and phone accessories). You can buy credit for your phone in this part of the market. There is a big air-conditioned supermarket at the back which is a very handy place to go for supplies. They sell everything from sunglasses and shampoo – to fresh vegetables and cooking utensils.
Location: at Kitsalat and Kingkitsarath Roads, the southest foot of Mount Phousi.
Opening hours: 8.00AM – 5.00PM