Luang Prabang’s Morning Market

Southeast Asia's morning markets are much more interesting than the night markets. Luang Prabang's morning market is no exception.
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Southeast Asia’s morning markets are much more interesting than the night markets. The night markets are mainly for tourists. Sure, you can find cheap t-shirts, knock-off backpacks, colorful paintings, and pretty lights. But you haven’t really come all this way for those, have you?

It’s at the morning markets that locals do their shopping. And it’s there that you get a real flavor of the local culture. Unless you’re in a major city, supermarkets are few and far between through much of the region. Which is a good thing. Markets are much, much better.

The morning market in Luang Prabang, lining a couple of quiet streets near the Royal Palace, starts early and is over by mid-morning. It sets up along a couple of side-streets next to one of the city’s many Wats. A butcher and some of the more touristy stalls have actual tables for their wares. But most of the vendors, selling anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground. It’s an elegant solution–cheap, simple, and effective.

If you’re heading up to the Plain of Jars, the morning market in Phonsavan is well worth a visit.

Vendors stream in before dawn by foot. Others come from across the Mekong by riverboat, hauling their wares up the steep, muddy riverbank. By mid- to late-morning, they’re gone again until tomorrow.

If you’re after fresh fruit and vegetables, Mekong river fish, seaweed sheets, rice and grains, or fish wrapped in banana leaf ready to throw on the steamer, this is the place. And if you happen to have a craving for barbecued bamboo rat, you’re in luck!

Photos of Luang Prabang’s Morning Market

Luang Prabang Morning Market
A small shrine overlooking the market. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang Morning Market Fish
Fish in bamboo steamers. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Dried and salted fish and squid. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Chilis at the Luang Prabang Morning Market
Small chili peppers known as Prik Ki Nu (Thailand) or Mak Pet Ki Nuu (Laos). [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Fish wrapped in banana leaves for steaming to make Mok Pa. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang Morning market
Sacks of rice. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang Morning Market
Vendors up against the gate of the monastery. [license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang Morning Market Buying
[license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang morning market
[license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang morning market
[license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]
Luang Prabang morning market
[license topic=”Luang Prabang Morning Market”]

What to Know Before You Go

  • Go early.
  • It’s not primarily catering to tourists. There are a handful of stalls with souvenirs like woven bags, but it’s mostly a food market.
  • There’s no refrigeration for meat and fish. If you’re planning to buy anything perishable, know what you’re buying.
  • No, the vendors do not take credit cards–just cash.

License Photos of Luang Prabang Morning Market

If you’d like to download any of my photos from Luang Prabang Morning Market, you can license them directly from Alamy here. It includes most of the photos displayed on this page, as well as others. Pricing depends on the type of use, and there are licenses for various types of uses, including personal use and editorial publication.

Where to Next?

Travel Advice for Laos

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Laos (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Laos here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Laos here.

Guidebooks for Laos

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Laos. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Lonely Planet Laos 10 (Country Guide)
  • Bush, Austin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand 5 (Multi Country...
  • Lonely Planet Vietnam Cambodia Laos Northern Thailand
  • Tang, Phillip (Author)

Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Laos

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Laos :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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