Best Markets in Vientiane

What are the best markets in Vientiane? In this article we highlight the best markets in Vientiane.

Vientiane, the serene capital of Laos, offers a unique blend of traditional Lao culture and French colonial heritage, which is vividly reflected in its vibrant market scene. Expats and digital nomads will find that the markets in Vientiane are not just places to shop but are also hubs of local life and culture. From bustling morning markets selling fresh produce to night markets with an array of handicrafts and street food, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best markets in Vientiane that you should not miss.

Talat Sao (Morning Market)

Location: Lane Xang Avenue
Type of Market: Traditional Market
Open: Daily, 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Talat Sao, also known as the Morning Market, is a two-story complex that is a must-visit for anyone living in or passing through Vientiane. It’s a combination of an indoor mall and an open-air market, where you can find everything from traditional Lao textiles and electronics to gold jewelry and local handicrafts. The market is a bustling hub of activity in the morning, making it the perfect place to experience the local way of life.

We Recommend: Exploring the section dedicated to Lao silk and textiles, where you can find beautiful handmade scarves and traditional Lao skirts (sinhs).

Vientiane Night Market

Location: Mekong Riverfront, Chao Anouvong Park
Type of Market: Night Market
Open: Daily, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The Vientiane Night Market is an evening affair that lights up the Mekong Riverfront with rows of red-roofed stalls. It’s a great place for expats and digital nomads to unwind after a day’s work, offering a relaxed atmosphere to shop for souvenirs, clothes, and accessories. The market is also a fantastic spot to enjoy the cool evening breeze by the river and indulge in some local street food.

We Recommend: Trying the delicious Lao-style barbecue sticks and fresh fruit shakes that are popular among locals and visitors alike.

Khou Din Market

Location: Khouvieng Road
Type of Market: Local Market
Open: Daily, early morning until late afternoon

Khou Din Market is a bustling local market known for its fresh produce, meats, and seafood. It’s a place where many locals go for their daily shopping, and it offers a more authentic Lao market experience. The market is also a good spot to find local snacks and street food, making it a perfect place for expats and digital nomads to sample traditional Lao cuisine.

We Recommend: Sampling some of the local Lao sweets and snacks, such as sticky rice with mango or coconut pancakes.

Ban Anou Night Market

Location: Chao Anou Road
Type of Market: Night Market
Open: Daily, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The Ban Anou Night Market is a smaller and more intimate alternative to the larger night market on the Mekong. It’s a great place to find street food, second-hand clothes, and a variety of local goods. The market has a friendly atmosphere, and it’s a good spot to mingle with locals and other expats while enjoying some shopping and dining under the stars.

We Recommend: Indulging in some grilled fish or meat skewers, which are a local favorite and perfect for a casual dinner.

That Luang Market

Location: Near That Luang Stupa
Type of Market: Local Market
Open: Daily, early morning until late afternoon

Located near the iconic That Luang Stupa, this market is a hub for those looking to buy fresh food, clothing, and household items. It’s particularly busy during the That Luang Festival, but on regular days, it offers a glimpse into the everyday life of Vientiane residents. The market is also a good place to find traditional Lao herbal medicines and remedies.

We Recommend: Picking up some Lao spices and herbs, which are essential ingredients in many local dishes and can add an authentic touch to your cooking.

Sikhottabong Market

Location: Thadeua Road
Type of Market: Local Market
Open: Daily, early morning until late afternoon

Sikhottabong Market is a traditional market that offers a wide range of products, from fresh vegetables and fruits to clothing and household goods. It’s less frequented by tourists, making it a great spot for expats and digital nomads to practice their Lao language skills and engage with the local community.

We Recommend: Trying the freshly made Lao coffee, which is strong, sweet, and often served with condensed milk – a real treat to kickstart your day.

Pha Khao Lao Market

Location: Setthathirath Road
Type of Market: Food Market
Open: Daily, 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Pha Khao Lao Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of Lao dishes, snacks, and ingredients. It’s a great place to explore the culinary delights of Laos, with vendors selling everything from grilled meats and fish to exotic fruits and traditional desserts.

We Recommend: Sampling the Lao papaya salad (tam mak hoong), which is a spicy and refreshing dish that’s perfect for the tropical climate.

These markets in Vientiane are not just shopping destinations; they are cultural experiences that offer a taste of the local lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for fresh food, traditional crafts, or just a place to mingle with the locals, Vientiane’s markets have something to offer for every expat and digital nomad.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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