The Vientiane Night Market is a quieter and cleaner version of other tourist markets found in South East Asia. Inexpensive clothes and souvenirs take up most of the stalls.
The Vientiane Night market has a lot in common with other night markets in Asia. The items for sale are consistent with what you find throughout region: T-shirts, local crafts, electronic gadgets, phone covers and underwear. What’s missing from this particular market is counterfeit DVDs and food stalls. Set on a promenade in front of the Mekong River, this is a great place to stroll around before the sun sets. Shopping or browsing can be combined with eating out, going to the park, or watching the sun set over the Mekong.
In true Lao style, the market is very laid back. The sellers are not very pushy and leave you alone to browse their stalls. Foreigners are also more likely to find clothes that fit here than other markets in Vientiane.
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- The market is open from 6pm to 10pm every evening.
- There are no food stalls at the market.
A Little Different
Travellers in South East Asia often gravitate towards night markets in search of cheap and authentic street food. The Vientiane Night Market does not have food stalls like you find in other Asian cities. In fact, there is almost nothing to eat here. The upside is this is one of the cleanest night markets you are going to find. The market comes to life every evening on the grounds of Chao Anouvong Park, which adds a nice ambience to the stalls. Walking on a flat, clean surface instead of an uneven roadway makes the experience all the more pleasant.
A Little More of the Same
The Vientiane Night Market is aimed at tourists and can feel a little crowded at times. Still, this is the place to find souvenirs, t-shirts and other mementos of your time in Laos.
Like most markets, a little friendly bargaining is customary. You won’t need to bargain too aggressively, though. The price mark ups are not huge and you’ll be quoted close to the actual price from the start. A lot vendors sell similar items so feel free to walk around and compare prices.
A Little Exercise
Chao Anuovong park is open all day, but generally deserted in the daytime heat. Around 5:00 pm the sellers begin setting up their stalls directly on the riverside promenade. As the sun sinks the market gets into full swing and becomes a focal point for backpackers, tour groups and locals of all ages. The main road along the Mekong is closed to traffic starting at 5:30pm and the promenade quickly fills up with joggers, cyclists and dog-walkers. After visiting the night market you can get some exercise (or enjoy watching others exercise) in the cooler temperatures as the sun sets over the Mekong.
Bring the Little Ones
Right in the middle of the market is a children’s playground with swings, slides and monkey bars. Although generally crowded, it’s a good place to let children burn of a little steam at the end of the day – before heading to the Dairy Queen across the street.
Although there are no food stalls in the market itself, there is no shortage of restaurants just across the road. You can find Lao, Chinese, Indian, Korean, and Italian restaurants all all within a short walking distance of the market. A busy Pad Thai stall is located right outside the nearest M-Point convenience store. And you may run into some of South East Asia’s funniest roti vendors nearby. There are a few bars to choose from as well, with the Belgian Beer Bar and Bor Pen Yang being two of the most popular.
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