Vientiane Morning Market (Talat Sao)
There’s no fee to enter Vientiane's Morning Market and you don’t need a guide—although local help may come in handy when it comes to bargaining. Morning Market shopping trips typically focus on classic Lao souvenirs such as affordably priced silk scarves, medicinal snake whiskey, and jewelry, but it’s also a good place to enjoy a slice of local Vientiane life. Beware of the electronics in the air-conditioned mall, which are typically fakes from factories in nearby China.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Morning Market is a good spot for souvenir hunters.
Haggling is essential at the Morning Market. Start at half the quoted price and aim to meet the vendor at two-thirds.
Be careful to establish what currency you are using: It could be dollars, baht, or Lao kip.
How to Get There
The Morning Market is located in downtown Vientiane, about half a mile (750 meters) south of Patuxai (Victory Monument). It’s easy to visit on foot or by bicycle from other downtown attractions, although travelers who are pressed for time may prefer the speed and convenience of a private driver/guide.
When to Get There
Despite the name, the Vientiane Morning Market is open from morning to afternoon seven days a week, although some stalls go unattended over the lunch period and others shut in the afternoon. To beat the (mainly local) crowds and ensure stalls are open, it’s worth visiting early in the morning.
Fabric Shopping at the Morning Market
Particularly if you’re traveling on after Vientiane, fabric is one of the most practical souvenirs to buy from Laos—and one of the nicest. The Morning Market sells the traditional Lao tube skirts known as sinh, pretty embroidered textile bags, and a range of silk scarves, both real and synthetic.
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