What to Buy in Laos
One thing that is most worth buying in Laos is handmade Lao silk, which can be tailor-made into traditional Lao dresses. Silk products like table runners, bedspreads, and scarf are also popular souvenirs with visitors. They are cheap to get at a price of only some dollars.
Most hill-tribe people living in Laos make a living by creating outstanding handicrafts that are sold for local and foreign markets. That’s why it is suggested purchase their work to support their family. Famous handicrafts include textiles, baskets, handmade incense, wood and stone sculptures, and natural papers, all of which can be found either in local markets or the remote villages you visit.
You might notice the silver belt, silver earrings, and bracelets worn by Lao women, including school students and government officers. Accessories made of silver are common to see in Laos, which produces genuine silver as Thailand does. Figures and animal images are hammered into large silver bowels, which were once used for religious ceremonies. Now for visitors, they are delicate gifts for relatives and friends.
Paintings made by local artists are worth buying when you are doing Laos tours. They are easy to pick up at night markets and often sold by the river. If you wish to meet something of higher quality, go to the local galleries, where works by better-known painters are on display. The exhibition held at the Art School of the National University is also a good place to find talented paintings.
It goes a little different from the one you find in Vietnam. The truth that Laos is the best place to grow coffee among Southeast Asian countries proves the excellent quality of its coffee products. In streets and duty-free shops, Lao coffee is sold like hotcakes. So why not try it and bring the flavor home?
Replica of Antiques
Since Laos is an ancient country with a long history, antiques are inevitably hot articles that collectors are chasing after. For visitors, Lao antiques and Buddhist artifacts are prohibited brought out of the country or they’ll be fined ruthlessly. Our suggestion is to buy a replica of antiques, such as clothes, carvings, pottery, and coins.
Tips for Shopping in Laos
1. The best shopping place for visitors in Luang Prabang would be the daily night market along the street of the Royal Palace Museum in the center of town.
2. While in Vientiane, the morning market is where you can begin a shopping tour of the capital.
3. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
4. Avoid buying antiques or cultural relics even Buddha images since they are not allowed to be taken out of the nation. If you have purchased such items from neighboring countries, they should be declared to Customs upon your arrival in Laos.
5. Examine valuable items like gemstones and high-value carpets in case they are fake.
6. Good bargains can be made when buying souvenirs in markets but not in shopping malls that usually have price tags on commodities.
7. Best silverwork can be found in Luang Prabang. Nevertheless, they are less qualified with international standards. Low your expectation since they are traditionally handmade works.
Take a look at our staff-pick Laos sample itinerary down below or drop us a line for tailor-made Indochina tours.