Talat Sao (Morning Market)
Talat Sao © yeowatzup
Sometimes when you're travelling it's nice to take a break from visiting the usual tourist attractions and to experience the country as the locals do. Vientiane's Talat Sao (Morning Market) offers visitors the chance to do just this, with a bustling market-place that, despite its name, is open from 7am to 6pm every day. A wonderful place to do most of your holiday shopping in Laos, the Morning Market is housed over four floors in two Lao-style buildings, whose construction was largely paid for by the market vendors themselves. Although the market mainly caters to the local population (you can buy electric rice cookers and have your shoes re-soled here), there are still plenty of authentic Lao products for tourists to snap up for a bargain. Be on the lookout for hand-woven fabrics, silver jewellery and local handicrafts. If you can wait a few hours you can get a skirt or something made up to your measurements in fabric you choose. Bargaining is expected and generally very good-natured so keep a smile on your face but don't be shy to beat down a price. There are also food stalls located right outside the buildings, allowing you to refuel between shopping expeditions. If you have experienced the sprawling markets of places like Thailand and Malaysia, this one may seem small and unimpressive, but for the uninitiated it is exciting.