Shopping in Champasak
The best place in any Laotian city for fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and food ingredients is the Morning Market. As for souvenirs, you can find items like jewellery, woven silk, silverware and hill tribe products in the stalls clustered around tourist attractions in Champasak. Worth sampling and buying on any Champasak travel experience is the well-known Lao Arabica Coffee. The quality of the coffee is excellent because of the place where it is grown - the Boloven Plateau, east of Pakse and well worth a visit in itself..
Bargaining is a tradition in Champasak, just like the rest of South East Asia, so whether you want to buy some traditional Lao cotton fabric or Lao handicrafts, carvings or jewelry, don’t forget to bargain first.
Use this Champasak Shopping Guide to get an idea of some of the shops you may want to check out. They are all recommended, at the very least as somewhere to browse around in. More general information about souvenirs and handicrafts from Laos can be found in our Laos Shopping Guide. And don't forget to experience some authentic Laotian cuisine at one of the Champasak Restaurants.
Champasak Shopping Guide
Shopping in Champasak can sometimes be a challenge as vendors are not really familiar with English, but they are friendly and laidback so it is still an enjoyable experience and simply adds to the adventure.
The Morning Market in Pakse is less than a kilometre south of the town centre. Here you can buy vegetables and fruits grown by local inhabitants in their back yards. The market also sells crafts, clothing, household items and silverware. After your shopping in Pakse, you can relax and have the famous Lao coffee from one of the stalls in the area and a bite to eat from a food stall.
Dao Heuang (New Market)
Pakse may be diminutive, but its Dao Heuang market is massive. It is on Road 13, close to the Japanese bridge that straddles the Mekong. In the new market you can buy all sorts of things from metal objects to fresh food. This well organised market is your best choice for one-stop shopping in Champasak. It has various zones dedicated to different items such as food, clothes, accessories and silver. The market is around 2 km from town in the southeast direction.
Laos is considered as the best place for growing coffee in Southeast Asia. The coffee is often referred to as Pakxong because it is mostly grown around Pakxong, a town on the Boloven Plateau.
You will find both Laos Arabica and Robusta high quality in terms of consistency and flavour. Many stalls on the main streets of Savannakhet offer glasses of Arabica with condensed milk. As for Laotian coffee beans, the duty-free shop in Savannakhet has a wide variety to choose from.
In Laos, weaving cotton and silk has always been a thriving home industry and still is. Lao weavers are among the best in the world and live in small communities.
Each province has its own style of traditional patterns and designs. The intricately woven textiles cost much less when you buy them from the source, rather than from the markets, Champasak hotel shops and handicraft stores. You may come across antique woven pieces, but these are highly-priced and are becoming harder to find.
You'll find a wide range of beautiful objects carved from bone, stone and wood. These carvings can be commonplace and simple in nature or exquisite and spiritually inspired. The arts and crafts of Laos reflect the religious nature of its people. Carvings of religious images and masters like The Buddha abound.
You could buy an authentic opium pipe in Laos for its ornamental value, but steer clear of ivory carvings. These are illegal in most countries and can land you in trouble.
Lao's also excel in crafting silver and gold jewellery. Some of the finest pieces of silver jewellery in the country come from the hill tribes, for whom gold and silver is portable wealth and highly valued as inheritance. Most of the jewellery stores deal mainly in gold and silver and prices are much cheaper than in neighbouring Thailand. The gold in Laos is 99.99% pure. You can buy it at a standard price per gram. Laos is a great place for designing jewellery as it is rich in gold and silver as well as gemstones.