Silk and other textiles are a very good buy in Vientiane. Work from other parts of the country are also available here.
For small items – purses, simple scarves, the best place to buy is the morning market. The prices are lower than the established shops in the shopping areas. Bargaining is expected, but don’t be unreasonable and don’t sweat a few thousand kip and remember ‘how important is 5,000 kip to you’
For more selection and not unreasonable prices there are 5 shops in Vientiane worth looking out for. There are countless other also, check them out and you will find some lovely pieces.
(most addresses below do not have a street address, merely a reference to the location – most street names are not used in Vientiane)
View Vientiane Shopping in a larger map
Between the river and the main road on the street which has both Wat Ong Teu & Wat Chan – there is a good map on their website.
Designed on fair trade principles. Saoban teaches villagers about the process of producing silk and all that it entails – building capacity and empowering communities. Saoban is a member of the Fair Trade Laos
Gorgeous scarves can be found here in muted and vibrant colours. They also have bamboo products, jewellery and bags
Open 1-8pm, closed Sunday
Behind Wat Mixay and on the same street as Mulberries (see below)
Gorgeous high quality textiles, much of it silk. Bright vibrant colours. They also have a very nice selection of readymade clothing and can arrange for alterations and custom made items if you have time.
A little more expensive than the others, but still not unreasonable is Mulberries. http://www.mulberries.org/ Mulberries specialise in naturally dyed and handmade silk. This silk is then made into scarves, shirts, home decorating items such as placemats etc.
Mulberries is a not for profit organisation and aims to give communities income making opportunities
Small gifts to look out for here are the Christmas tree ornaments and sewing kits – they make gifts which are easy to transport home.
Nikone was one of the 1st entrants into the silk markets in the 1990s. Teaching staff techniques and designing new patterns.
Products are hand-woven and naturally dyed.
Situated beside Mulberries on the street with the French bakeries.
If you have money to spare and are prepared to pay effectively Western prices there are two places worth visiting. Both have beautiful, beautiful examples of silk work
Lao Textiles – Carol Cassidy
Opposite Monument Bookshop behind the large Cultural Hall
Carol Cassidy has been credited with reviving the Laos weaving industry in helping people have a commercial outlet for their work and highlighting it on the international stage. In her Vientiane location is a showroom and out the back weavers work away a looms. A weaver may only produce 2cm a day on some of the more intricate pieces.
The work for sale is both stunning and pricey
While textiles are only a small part of the range here they are still stunning.
The wood work and metal trimmed bowls here are gorgeous.
Down by the Mekong riverside, past the Mahsot Hospital