Vientiane has a number of great shopping areas; however, the city's shopping prospects tend to be dwarfed by those available at Luang Prabang's Night Market. Shopping in Laos generally revolves around silk and textile products.
The main shopping area in Laos' capital is the Morning Market on Thanon Lane Xang and Xang Khu Vieng. This indoor market is best seen early, before the day gets too hot. The stalls sell a variety of products ranging from Laos textiles and Laos silks through to electronics, jewellery and curios. The market generally operates from 9am until 3pm.
The touristy area near the Mekong River has a number of small boutiques and tourist shops selling silk, fabrics, weaves, handicrafts and jewellery. Carol Cassidy's Lao Textiles offers hand-woven Laos motifs of the highest standard. The shop can be found on Thanon Nokeo Kumman. Nearby, on the same street, you will find Mulberries Laos Sericulture Company, which is a non-profit organisation operating throughout Laos and providing income for many unemployed locals. Mulberries sells naturally-dyed silk products while teaching locals about sericulture.
Around the corner, the Lao Women's Union runs a shop called The Art of Silk on Thanon Manthatulat. This shop stocks a great selection of cotton and silk weaves in a variety of designs. Another great shop is Tshop Lai, which runs apprenticeship programmes for socially marginalised and uneducated people in Laos, teaching them to make soaps, shampoos and oil extracts which are available for sale at the shop.
The Stay Another Day Laos booklet is an initiative by the International Finance Corporation's Mekong sector, and aims to promote sustainable tourism and development. The booklet is available in Vientiane and lists tour agencies, local businesses and shops that help to further sustainable tourism. Many of the boutiques and shops listed in the book are non-profit organisations helping to uplift communities.
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