Luang Prabang has two daily markets. The morning market is located down and alley off Sisavangvong Road starting at 6:00am. The night market is along Sisavangvong Road, where the street is shut down to car traffic starting at 5:00pm and is then lined with local vendors selling their loot. Both markets are great, and a must do while in Luang Prabang.
The morning market opens at 6 am and is where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood. Along with all the fresh items, you’ll also find dried spices, buffalo jerky (try it!), rice, and dehydrated insects. Occasionally, you can even catch some vendors selling live frogs! Most of the “stalls” are on the ground where they spread out what they are offering on blankets and cardboard. Early morning, you’ll find mostly locals here buying ingredients for their restaurant or fruit for tenants staying at their guesthouse.
Early risers will also get the treat of witnessing Almsgiving. This is where the monks come down from the temples to receive offerings of sticky rice and chant prayers with the local people. Almsgiving starts around 6 am and lasts about 30-45 minutes. It’s beautiful to watch and highly recommend waking up early to witness this daily ritual and walk the market afterward.
In the evening, starting at 5 pm, Sisavangvong Road turns into a market filled with handicrafts of beautiful quilts, handbags, clothes, tea, coffee, bowls, shoes, lampshades and spices. You can also ask for “special discount” to get a better price.
The best part of the evening market are the food buffets! Down the alley are about ten different vegetarian buffets selling “all you can stuff on your plate” for 15,000 Kip (~$2). You’ll see tourists piling their plate as high as they can without it falling over. It’s a delicious way to stuff yourself silly for cheap. The buffet food is room temperature, but if you ask, they’ll be happy to heat up your food in the wok.
There are also a couple BBQ stalls selling fish, chicken, and beef. Most of the stalls will also offer local Beer Lao to enjoy with your dinner. Don’t miss out on the Luang Prabang markets when you’re in Laos!