Vientiane Laos Night MarketA humble riverside market that can turn massive over major holidays!
Vientiane Laos Market Snapshot
The big selling point of the Night Market of Vientiane is its location. It lies opposite of Quai Fa Ngum – one of the liveliest roads in the city, in Chao Anuvong Park and alongside the river. However, during major holiday this market explodes in size and covers a significant area of town!
The Night Market typically opens from 6 PM to 12 PM every night year-round, although during the rainy days it’s not really worth going because few stallholders open shop.
What You'll Find
They have it all, clothes, shirts, shoes, wallets, what-have-you. Also, if you decide to get a SIM card here, it comes with a free beer!.
Laos fake Market Spree!
In this video we are in Vientiane, Laos exploring a massive night market where it seems you can find just about anything! We happened to visit during a major holiday, when the market exploded in size into a crazy chaotic sort of festival. We’re bargaining for fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Jordan, ASSC, Omega and much more. Check it out!
Everything to Know About the Vientiane Laos Night Market
How to Get to the Vientiane Laos Markets?
I recommend getting around Vientiane using tuk-tuks, taxis and scooters. It’s super cheap to rent a scooter for a day, just be careful as traffic within the city can be quite chaotic.
There are Actually 2 Markets in Vientiane
There are actually 2 major markets in Vientiane – the Morning Market and the Night Market. The Night Market is the vibrant outdoor street market along the river (the one I visited and filmed), while the Morning Market is actually an enormous indoor market nearby that’s really popular with wholesalers.
Both markets are located in the city center, a short distance from one another.
To get to these markets by public transport, you can take the A7 bus to the Nam Phu station, the B12 bus to the Joint Development Bank, or the A11 bus to Chaleunxay Hotel. The Central Bus Station is also located nearby.
If using public transport seems too complicated, you can take a tuk-tuk. But if your accommodation is located downtown, then you can simply walk to either one of these markets.
Shopping at the Vientiane Markets
Like I mentioned, there are actually 2 different markets in downtown Vientiane. And they are not very far from each other, but they are quite different. Even though my video is about the Night Market outside by the river, I wanted to give you some info about both markets in case you want to bargain at both.
Vientiane Night Market
This market pops up by the river nightly, but the size can vary depending on the day and if it’s a major holiday. I just happened to visit during one of those major holidays and the market had morphed into a massive market!
The majority of the stallholders sell clothes. The prices are generally fantastic, and you can find some great bargains. You can get T-shirts for as low as $1, and most of the prices aren’t fixed, so you can bargain if you’re good at it. You can also find a range of other items such as bags, sunglasses, shoes, and phone accessories, among many other types of products.
Vientiane Morning Market
The Morning Market is an indoor market not far from the river in Vientiane. It’s made up of two floors: the first one is where you’ll find mostly electronics, watches, and textiles, while on the second floor you can negotiate for some beautiful jewelry items made of gold. Always negotiate the prices as the sellers tend to overcharge.
There is also a food section at the Morning Market. You can find all sorts of traditional snacks and other food products. If you’re feeling courageous, you can also snack on some exotic delicacies such as worms, grasshoppers, and locusts.
This market can be a labyrinth to get around, but there’s a lot to find here and some good bargains to be had.
Where to Stay in Vientiane
Vientiane is a pretty low-key city. It’s crazy to think it’s the capital of all of Laos! the main thing to do in the city is hang out by the river and explore the markets, which is right downtown. So the most convenient area to stay is nearby the river in that downtown area.
You’ll find a lot of hostels in the area for budget backpackers, but there are some pretty decent budget hotel options too if you want your own room. A lot of hotels and hostels will offer breakfast too as a part of your stay.
There are also some really nice Airbnb options in Vientiane as well if you want more of a local experience with a private apartment.
Since Laos is an inexpensive country to visit, you can really score some budget deals. But it’s one of those places that you can splurge on something more luxurious for not all that much money. For example, the Crowne Plaza in Vientiane goes for around $100 a night. A steal compared to other major cities!
Places to Visit in Vientiane & Around Laos
Although it is a small city compared to other ones in Southeast Asia, Vientiane attracts many tourists with its multitude of temples and Buddhist monuments.
- That Luang. This temple is considered the most significant national monument in Laos. It’s a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa, assumed to have been initially established in the 3rd century.
- Haw Phra Kaew. This is another impressive temple, whose name translates to Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It was built in 1565 and is famous for its wood and stone carvings.
- Wat si Saket. Another famous temple in Vientiane, Wat si Saket is well-known for the wall that contains hundreds of seated Buddhist statues.
- Lao National Museum. If you want to learn about the Lao people from ancient times to more recent times, this is the place to visit. It is located in a beautiful French colonial building built in 1925.
- Buddha Park. Adjacent to the Mekong River lies an interesting collection of Buddhist and Hindu statues. There are more than 200 of them, including a 130-foot-high statue of a sleeping Buddha.
However, the Night Market I visited is situated alongside the river and is quite possibly the most (and only) notable place to go in Vientiane. Even though there are some temples and a few other sites around town, just hanging out and relaxing by the river is where it seems all the action is.
If you’re looking to get out into nature, Vang Vieng, Laos is where it’s at!
Popular Tourist Sights Around Laos
Vientiane is pretty small relative to other capital cities in Asia, or elsewhere in the world. It’s pretty quiet and laid back, with not a ton of things to do. Outside of Vientiane, you can find other awesome things to do such as:
- The Pak Ou Caves. Located north of Luang Prabang on the Mekong River, the caves are popular for their miniature Buddha sculptures that are laid out over the wall shelves.
- Wat Phu. This is a ruined Khmer complex of temples located at the base of mount Phu Kao. The structures date back from the 11th to the 13th centuries and the complex is still in use as a Buddhist site today.
- Plain of Jars. This peculiar site contains hundreds of stone jars which are believed to have been used in prehistoric burial practices.
- Vang Vieng. An awesome riverside town, Vang Vieng is located in a scenic area with limestone mountains and the Nam Song river. Tourists can participate in a number of outdoor activities such as rock climbing or river-tubing. It has a reputation for being a party town (which it can be) but you can also just chill, tube the river, and enjoy the spectacular natural scenery.
Food in Laos
In Laos, I enjoyed just grabbing street food that consisted of just random skewers of meats. But there are some other types of food you might like in Laos.
What Is Laos Cuisine?
Laotian cuisine is very similar to Thai and Vietnamese cuisines in terms of flavor and ingredients. The dishes often consist of rice, noodles, herbs, and spices. Remnants of the country’s colonial-era are the excellent French restaurants and cafés. Eating is a communal activity, and the dishes are shared by everyone at the table.
Best Foods in Vientiane to Try
The staple food is steamed sticky rice, known as khao niao in the local language. Lao people reportedly eat more sticky rice than any other people worldwide. It is believed that this dish is the glue that holds the Lao communities together regardless of where they are in the world.
Are There Any Street Markets for Food in Vientiane?
It’s easy to find tasty street food in Vientiane. If you walk along Lane Xang – the city’s widest boulevard, you will come across many individual food stalls that sell a range of national dishes. You can also find a less touristy food market up near the Pha That Luang monument. At the junction of Rue
About the Vientiane Laos Markets
Markets are my favorite places to visit when I travel to bargain for souvenirs, clothes and accessories, etc. And the Vientiane markets did not disappoint!
Vientiane Night Market
The Night Market by the Mekong River comes alive after dark with a variety of merchandise, goods, and services. The businesses are lit up, so you can’t miss it. Plus, the place is huge; you could easily spend a couple of hours exploring it.
And if you happen to visit during a major holiday, like I did, then the market will be even bigger than normal with all sorts of food, games, and other madness!
Vientiane Morning Market
The Vientiane Morning Market is both a morning market and a shopping mall. It is located in the Talat Sao Shopping Mall on Ave Lane Xang, in the city center. The outdoor part has narrow walkways lined with stalls, while the mall has regular shops. The Morning Market operates daily from 6 AM to 6 PM.
Also known as the Talat Sao, is actually the largest indoor market in town. It’s another great place to find bargains and goods to take home with you. There multiple floors of indoor stalls that sell virtually any product you can think of.
Introduction to Laos
The Lao people were a tribe from Yunnan, China, who emigrated south to the border of the Khmer empire. Laos first emerged in the 14th century, and back then it was called Lan Xang, or the “Kingdom of a Million Elephants.” It was one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia and under successive kings, it expanded its sphere of influence over other areas which are now part of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Southern China.
Beginning in 1707, Lan Xang was separated into the regional kingdoms of Luang Prabang (in the north), Vientiane (in the center), and Champasak (in the south). The territories of Lan Xang were ceded to French Indochina and the French reunited the three kingdoms and called the new protectorate “Laos,” which derives from les Laos, the plural form of Lao people. After the French rule, Laos gained its independence in 1949.
Set on a bend in the Mekong River, Vientiane is the largest city of Laos and has always been under the spotlight. It became the capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom in 1578 and was also the administrative capital during the French rule. Today, it is the economic center of Laos and attracts many visitors with some of the most popular tourist attractions of the country.
Trade & Producing Goods in Laos
Laos is mainly an agricultural country, but since the introduction of the New Economic Mechanism (NEM) economic reform program, growth in the industrial sector (such as manufacturing) and services (such as wholesale and retail trade) has outpaced growth in agriculture.
Laos exports mostly to Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, India, the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Germany.
More than half of Laos’s imports are from neighboring Thailand while only around 20% of its export go to Thailand. In contrast, about 40% of the country’s exports go to Vietnam while only around 3% of Laos’ imports are from Vietnam.
Some of the main export product groups include electrical machinery and equipment, rubber and rubber articles, clothing and accessories, wood, salt, stone, cement, and vegetables. While Laos still imports significantly more than it exports, it’s worth mentioning that the ratio of exports to imports has steadily improved over the years.