Laos is a peaceful and beautiful country, an underrated destination as well as a hidden gem in Southeast Asia. This destination has captivated many tourists by its lyrical and poetic natural beauty, unique architectural works of temples and pagodas along with friendly and hospitable people. During your journey to Laos, an extremely interesting experience that cannot be missed is shopping. If you still do not know what to buy when traveling to Laos, please refer to the article below for a list of must-buy souvenirs in Laos. So, what is famous in Laos and what to buy in Laos? Let’s check out our suggested top 27+ best souvenirs from Laos, best things to buy in Laos, top gifts from Laos, what to buy in Vientiane Laos as well as where to find them to find out the answer!
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What to buy in Laos: Pottery
The talented and skillful hands of Laos women are the main factors contributing to the creation of sophisticated ceramic products in Laos. On the list of souvenirs to buy, pottery is an ideal suggestion for lovers of traditional art. Because of many stages including mixing, molding, and drying, biscuit fire pottery, these ceramic products have good quality and long service life. Visitors can find ceramic jars, vases, bowls, plates, or floor tiles.
Many villages in Laos focus on preserving and developing pottery traditions. Unlike other cultures, women are the main workforce to create traditional pottery. The techniques are passed down from mother to daughter through generations.
Laos ceramic products are produced for daily use such as plates, pots, jars, vases, roofing sheets and floor tiles and small decorative items such as lamps, statues… Because the process of making ceramic products takes a long and meticulous process from mixing, molding, dry, bisque… so even the most popular ceramic items in Laos are surprisingly high quality.
You can visit Ban Chan Pottery Village in Luang Prabang to learn about the process of creating traditional ceramic products in Laos, create your own ceramic products, and most importantly, buy ceramic items here as gifts for relatives and friends.
Best souvenirs from Laos: Antiques
In the major cities of Laos such as Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, you will encounter many antique shops. You can also find antique replicas or models such as carvings, coins, or clothes, etc. This is sure to be an interesting souvenir.
What is famous in Laos: Traditional costumes
If you love the Laotian traditional costumes of the ethnic people in Laos, why not buy handmade costumes with many unique brocade patterns? Originally as a typical culture of Muslims, the brocade costumes of the Laos ethnic group with motifs of temples, pagodas, statues, elephants or swastikas are interesting souvenirs you can only buy in Laos.
Best gifts from Laos: Phaa sin (tubular skirt)
The fourth souvenir on the list of souvenirs to buy in Laos is the phaa sin – the unique traditional costume of Laotian women. You can easily find them in local markets, or many shops on the streets. It is a woman’s dress that was worn with a cloth belt.
Best things to buy in Laos: Jewelry
As one of the high-class souvenirs for your loved ones and relatives, Laotian jewelry is also an ideal choice for you. Jewelry in Laos is mainly made from gold or silver. Visitors can choose from the available jewelry, or design their own according to their liking and wishes.
It’s great to bring home a piece of Laotian silver jewelry with a traditional dok pi-khune design (originally created for the Lao Royal Family. You can find many silver belts, silver earrings, chains and bracelets… in many shapes, sizes and high quality in Laos.
You can buy handmade traditional dok pi-khune jewelry products including earrings, bracelets and necklaces at Saoban, Vientiane. In addition to the dok pi-khune designs, Saoban’s artisans also create beautiful modern silver jewelry pieces.
What to buy in Laos: Vintage Rattan Woven Baskets
Do you remember the woven baskets used to containing sticky rice and Lao food? These baskets are cylindrical, about 15-20cm high, 10-15cm in diameter, woven with bamboo and rattan. The baskets are woven from skillful and delicate artisan hands. You can buy it as a container or home decoration or store food.
Lao people often use baskets made of bamboo and rattan to store rice or main food for meals. Today, when traveling to Laos, many tourists also look to buy these beautiful small rattan woven baskets to bring back as gifts, because of their compact and easy-to-transport characteristics. Especially, if you want to make your own beautiful baskets, there are many craft classes in Luang Prabang or Vientiane that can help.
Cool souvenirs from Laos: Beer Lao T-Shirts
As a souvenir that many tourists love to buy, beer Lao t-shirts are also an equally interesting suggestion. You can find it in many Lao clothing stores or souvenir shops. These t-shirts are suitable for most people of all ages, both men and women with many designs and sizes for you to choose from.
What to buy in Vientiane Laos: Wood Carvings
The sophisticated and meticulous wood carving products are also great souvenirs you should not miss to bring back. Visitors can find many wood carvings in Lao cities such as Vientiane, Pakse, or Luang Prabang. In particular, the wooden carvings of Buddha statues are the most sought-after gifts. In addition, visitors can visit many ancient villages, traditional wooden workshops, meet artisans and watch them work as well as buy their craft products.
Best souvenirs from Laos: Silk fabrics, textiles products
If you are looking to buy high-quality silk fabrics, eye-catching colors, exquisite and sophisticated patterns for your beloved women, then don’t miss this silk fabric gift. The elegant and luxurious beauty of the silk made from the skillful craftsmanship of the artisans will surely satisfy the most demanding ladies.
Woven fabrics in Laos are made from very natural materials such as cotton, hemp, silkworm fabrics. Made entirely by hand in each stage. During the production process, Lao women always skillfully dye the fibers to weave, dye the fabric with colors derived from nature.
Products made from traditional handmade Lao fabrics include sinh (traditional Lao dresses mentioned above), scarves, shawls, cushion covers, blankets, tablecloths, bags, wallets, embroideries, etc. All crafted with expert skill, a souvenir from Lao traditional textiles is special because it bring an unique beauty that cannot find anywhere else. With unique patterns combined from motifs such as elephants, monkeys, naga (snake), butterflies, nature landscape, temples, tourist sites and deer…
To be able to choose from a wide variety of handmade textile products, you can go to Saoban handicraft village in Vientiane (Address: Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 9AM–8PM; Sunday: Closed)with a wide variety of scarves, clothes, handmade bags, jewelry or Lao household items. If you like designer items, head to Carol Cassidy Lao Textiles (Address: 19 Rue Hengbounnoy, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 8AM–12PM, 2–5PM; Sunday: Closed) or Houey Hong Center skill development for women (Address: 2JF8+H8H, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 8:30AM–12PM, 1:30–4:30PM; Sunday: Closed) for stunning designs.
In Luang Prabang, don’t forget to visit Ock Pop Tok, a famous traditional weaving village, buy a product made of silk and learn about silk production, how to design and preserve silk products.
Like any other country in the world, Laos’ handicrafts are also a strong product to promote the heritage abroad. Lao handicrafts are carefully and meticulously crafted by artisans and are sold in most markets and tourist areas in this country.
Must buy in Laos: Sinh traditional costume
Sinh is a Laos traditional dress just like Ao Dai is a traditional dress of Vietnam. This type of traditional costume was worn by Lao women many years ago and has become an indispensable clothing in their daily life and even on important occasions such as holidays, weddings…
Basically, this type of skirt is a loose, medium-length piece of fabric that when worn is wrapped around the body like a dress and fastened with a fabric belt with hook. These traditional Lao dresses are meticulously hand-woven with beautiful motifs, patterns and diverse colors at the bottom of the skirt.
If you want to buy a completely handmade Lao dress, you should stay away from the night markets – where there are mass-produced industrial dresses at cheap prices, instead you can go to Talat Sao (a morning market in Vientiane) or Talat Khua Din (adjacent to Vientiane central bus station) or Kanchana Boutique, Houey Hong (mentioned above, where you can see firsthand the process of weaving these traditional dresses…
Good things to buy in Laos: Saa Paper
Saa paper is a famous product from Xieng Khouang and Luang Prabang provinces. Handcrafted from the bark of the Saa tree (mulberry tree), the paper was originally created as a way to wrap and store opium products. Today, saa paper is decorated with colorful flowers and leaves. And used as wrapping paper for gifts, notebooks, bags, cards and even lanterns.
Saa paper is made from the bark of the mulberry tree, which naturally falls off as the tree grows. The bark is finely ground before being spread on a wooden frame and then left in the sun to dry. Saa paper will be a beautiful souvenir to give to friends. You will easily find products made from saa paper for sale at the Vientiane night market and the Luang Prabang night market.
Vientiane Night Market: Address: XJ64+X7M, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 6–10PM
Luang Prabang Night Market: Address: 16 Chaofa Ngum Rd, Luang Prabang, Laos/Hours: 5–11PM
Most popular souvenirs from Laos: Bags and wallets
Canvas bags, hemp bags, bamboo bags with colorful patterns embroidered on the bag are probably the most popular souvenirs in Laos. Hand-made, embroidered and dyed in natural colors with a variety of designs, shapes and sizes for you to choose from large bags to small bags, handbags and crossbody bags to small wallets to store money, glasses, and other belongings… visit Saoban (as mentioned above) or Her Works (Address: Rue Nokeokoummane, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 9AM–9PM) for a variety of beautiful bags and purses made from natural fibers (bamboo, yarn…).
Best gifts from Laos: Art paintings
If you are looking to buy souvenirs after your trip to Laos, art paintings are definitely indispensable in that list of items to buy. You can buy paintings in many of Laos’ night markets, however, if you want to buy higher-end, more valuable paintings, looking for them in galleries or exhibitions.
What is famous in Laos: Souvenirs from Champa flower
Considered one of the symbols of Laos, the champa flower appears in many products and services representing the “Land of a Million Elephants”. You can find products that use champa flowers as creative ideas, such as t-shirts embroidered with Champa flowers, jewelry carved with Champa flowers, or Champagne flavored with Champa flower scent and even essential oils of Champa flowers.
The national flower of Laos is the Champa flower. You will easily see items with this flower shape such as shirts, or towels… It is also the main motif on many models of jewelry, costumes, handicrafts, and even the scent of this flower is also found in perfumery, etc.
What to buy in Laos: Organic beauty products
A great souvenir indispensable after your Laos trip is organic skin care products. Thanks to the variety and abundance of herbs and spices, and a variety of tropical fruits, Laos is considered a paradise for user-friendly and environmentally friendly organic skin care products. You can find to buy soap, lotion, lip balm, shampoo… or other organic herbal tea products.
With an abundance of pungent herbs and spices, tropical fruits and fragrant flowers, Laos has produced a number of natural organic beauty products that are safe for health as well as the environment.
You should buy great organic essential oils, soaps, lip balms, shampoos, and other useful skin care products. You should also purchase soy candles, lacquered coconut bowls, contemporary accessories plus a range of organic herbal teas.
Gifts for family and friends indispensable to take home from Laos are great products from T’Shop Lai Gallery (Address: XJ83+82Q, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 8AM–8PM;Sunday: 10AM–6PM). The minimalist but highly touristic T’Shop Lai showroom in Vientiane is geared towards sophisticated and environmentally responsible natural products. Here you will be immersed yourself in the scent of wonderful organic essential oils, soaps, lip balms, shampoos and other lovely souvenirs including soy candles, lacquered coconut bowls, contemporary accessories along with a range of organic herbal teas.
You’ll also fall in love with the absolutely natural products at Mulberries Organic Silk Farm (Address: F58G+FR9, Phonsavan, Laos/Hours: 8AM–4PM; Sunday: Closed). Loofah washcloth, shampoo and soap with mulberry extract or organic herbal teas like caffeine-free red mulberry tea packed in a cute little bamboo box… are what you will get it when you come to Mulberries.
Unique Souvenirs from Laos: Khaen Instrument
If you are looking for a unique souvenir from Laos, this is what you are looking for! Khaen is a traditional and favorite Lao musical instrument made from long bamboo reeds and has a playing style similar to that of an organ. Khaen encourages participants to get involved and sing and dance rather than simply listening to music. Why don’t you buy one of Laos’ traditional musical instruments to take home?
Cool gifts from Laos: Akha Dolls
An ideal gift for your adorable kids, these colorful dolls are handmade by Akha women in Phonsaly province, Northern Laos. They made from cotton and decorated with hand embroidery and appliques, these vibrant soft dolls make an unusual souvenir from Laos. The designs of Akha dolls are very diverse in both colors and shapes including figures such as frogs, geckos, bats, caterpillars, dragons, mice, turtles, elephants… These dolls are available in shops in Vientiane, such as at Saoban or Le Comptoir de Vientiane (Address: Rue Setthathilath, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 1–6:30PM; Monday, Sunday: Closed).
What to buy in Laos: Alms bowl
Walking around collecting alms is a unique traditional ritual, the quintessence and a longstanding tradition in Laos Buddhist culture that still preserved to this day. If tourists have had the opportunity to attend the alms-giving ceremony in Laos, why don’t you buy alms bowls as souvenirs, or simply remind of a religious ritual of Laos? The alms bowl can be made of silver or gold, decorated with many delicate reliefs. If not used for the purpose of collecting alms, the alms bowl is also bought by many tourists as a decoration in the house.
Pha Khan Mon
Small scarves woven with traditional Lao fabric are given as a sign of love or a symbol of good luck to travelers. Young girls weave these small pieces of fabric to give to young men they want to get attention. You can buy a framed scarf Pha Khan Mon as a beautiful work of art to hang on the wall or give as a gift.
Best gifts from Laos: Coffee bean
If you or your relatives and friends are coffee lovers, you will can not help but buy some organic Lao coffee as a gift. As Laos has one of the best coffee beans in the world, it proves the outstanding quality of coffee products in Laos.
About 95% of the coffee grown in Laos comes from the Bolaven Plateau — the highlands of Champasak province. Cool temperatures, abundant rainfall and elevations reaching 4,200 feet (1,300 meters) make the region become an ideal location for coffee growing. In this “Land of a Million Elephants”, coffee is widely sold on the streets and shops with reasonable prices.
There is a kind of coffee that is loved by many locals as well as tourists, which is Le Trio Coffee (Address: Rue Setthathirat near Nam Phu, Postal BOX 1730, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 7AM–5PM), the leading roasted coffee bean brand in Vientiane. Le Trio works closely with Lao coffee producers to bring you the best coffee beans in Laos. It offers both delicious cups of coffee served on-site for guests and bags of pure coffee. So, after enjoying a delicious cup of coffee, pick up a few bags of coffee to take home for your loved onse, friends and family.
Chocolate Dream by Mikaël
Chocolate Dream by Mikaël is the first handmade chocolate made in Laos. Handcrafted with all local organic ingredients, these chocolate bars are not only delicious, but also wrapped in beautiful, simple packaging. This will be a delicious and beautiful Lao gift for your loved ones in your family.
What to buy in Laos: Jeow bong
Jaew bong is a Lao chili sauce, this is the “divine” sauce of the Lao people. Lao people use this sauce every day, in every meal, to dip it with all kinds of food. Currently, this sauce has been conveniently packaged, so you can buy it so that your family and friends at home can still enjoy the taste of Lao cuisine.
Laotian Beef Jerky (Sin Savanh)
Laotian beef jerky called sien savanh has a very rich, spicy, salty flavor and is often served with alcoholic drinks in Laos. Beef is marinated with spices and sauces such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic, chili, palm sugar, sprinkled with sesame seeds … and then dry in the sun to make beef jerky. Usually, if you eat it at a restaurant, this beef jerky will be grilled to have a smoky, chewy, delicious taste. Because it has been dried, this food also keeps for a long time and is easy to store, so you can buy it as a gift for everyone at home after your trip to Laos.
Best things to buy in Laos: Sai Oua (Lao Sausage)
Sai oua is a type of Lao sausage. Sai oua has a great combination between the main ingredient is minced pork, marinated with different spices such as lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, add a little chili and then stuffed into the pork intestines. Wandering through the streets of Laos, you will not be too hard to find sausages hanging from the crossbar of a street food vendor, with the aroma emanating from Sai Oua sizzling over hot charcoal. Enjoying a hot and fragrant sai oua right in Laos is an indispensable thing when coming to this country, but don’t forget to buy some prepackaged and vacuumed sai oua to take home to eat or as a gift after the trip.
Kaipen (Fried Seaweed)
Kaipen is a popular Laotian snack, made from a type of freshwater seaweed that grows in the Mekong region. After harvesting, seaweed will be washed and pounded with some spices, then spread thinly on a tray sprinkled with sesame and dried in the sun. When eating, it is deep fried with cooking oil, this dish will be more delicious when dipped with jeow bong. This snack is so delicious and nutritious that both children and adults will love it.
Best gifts from Laos: Laodi Rum
Laodi Rhum is the first rum produced in Laos. This wine is made from pure organic sugarcane juice and other local organic ingredients such as coconut, coffee, lemon, apricot, Xieng Khouang plum, raspberries… and is carefully distilled in-house at Laodi company in the outskirts of Vientiane, so the taste is excellent. Laodi Rhum would be the perfect souvenir for those who appreciate originality, as Laodi Rhum is extremely difficult to buy outside of Laos.
Note that if you travel to Laos by road, you can bring these bottles of fragrant rhum back to Vietnam as a gift quite easily, but if you go by plane, it will be more difficult to bring back, you should find understand carefully before buying.
Laos shopping guide: Where to buy gifts in Laos?
Above, we also introduced some specific places to buy the gifts that we introduced above.
In addition, Lao gifts and souvenirs are also available all over the country from the capital Vientiane, to Luang Prabang, Phonsavan, Champasak, Savannakhet or Pakse… You can always find local markets and shops, stores to find many products made in Laos.
It is also great to buy directly from artisans or from local production facilities that you know or come across by chance, as this way you can know exactly what your product is, where it comes from and who made it, this also makes your shopping process more enjoyable, the gifts you buy are also more special and maybe you will find something cool that we have not mentioned above.
Some famous places to buy specialties, souvenirs in Laos include:
- Talat Sao morning market in Vientiane (Address: Talat Sao 1 (Unit A1), Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 8AM–5:30PM), called the morning market, is of course because the market is open from early morning. There are many diverse goods sold here such as crafts, fashion, food… Remember to bring a decent amount of money here because there are many Lao specialties for you to choose from.
- Luang Prabang night market (Address: 16 Chaofa Ngum Rd, Luang Prabang, Laos/Hours: 5–11PM), Kopnoi market, Lisa Regale market in Luang Prabang are very bustling and full of products such as textiles, brocade, jewelry, paper paintings, food… especially, you will have countless choices to buy traditional Lao clothes and silks are widely sold from Wat Khily to Wat Xieng Thong at Lisa Regale market.
- Monument Books (Address: 124/1 Rue Nokeokoummane, Vientiane, Laos) is the largest bookstore located in the city center of Vientiane. Here you can choose for your friends and relatives postcards or pictures of famous places in Laos…
- Vangthong Evening Food Market (Ban Anou Local’s night food market, Address: Rue Phai Nam, Vientiane, Laos/Hours: 5–11PM), located opposite Laos National Stadium, is a place to shop for Lao specialties at reasonable prices. You can choose for yourself rich Laotian specialties as gifts such as sticky rice, sien savanh (beef jerky), kaipen fried seaweed, bing gai, jeow bong, sai oua…
Some notes when buying gifts in Laos
In addition to worrying about great shopping places, you should also refer to some notes for travel and shopping in Laos as follows:
- Currency: The most important issue when shopping in Laos. In Laos, Kip currency is used, so you should pay attention to exchange money before you go for the easiest and most convenient shopping, you should also exchange it into Kip with different denominations for payment and buying is easier.
- You should prepare yourself neat and convenient clothes to go shopping. Do not carry too many belongings, bulky luggage to avoid being stolen or lost, and also not convenient for shopping.
- In most markets or shopping places in Laos, you should bargain and consult prices from several different stores before buying because in some places, sellers will charge quite high prices, especially for tourists.
- The goods may be fake, you need to carefully check the quality of the goods before buying.
- You should visit markets and duty-free shops at border gates and airports because the prices here are quite cheap and the goods are abundant and especially do not worry about counterfeiting.
Read more Laos travel guide here.