Vientiane’s Morning Market (Talat Sao) is the best place to begin a shopping tour of the capital. Outside, there are still covered shop stalls selling Chinese electronics and cheap consumer goods, but most of these have been swallowed up by the ugly new Talat Sao Mall, which houses a variety of shops, restaurants and cafés. The “real” market round the back of the mall is a good place to start when it comes to homespun cotton clothing and handicrafts. Most of the other textile, souvenir and antique shops are found on Samsenthai and Setthathilat roads and along the lanes running between them.

Vientiane’s other markets are either “wet” markets selling produce, “dry” markets selling manufactured goods, or, more commonly, a mixture of both. Other significant markets close to the centre include Talat Khouadin, Talat Dong Palane, Talat Nongduang and Talat Thong Khan Kham.

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