Silk and Stones Travel

Laos Shopping, Restaurants, Reading, Activities


Traditional Silk Weaver in Vientiane

Laos Resources

Review the restaurants, hotels, shops, books, articles,and activities to help you find just the right spot on your trip for the perfect dinner or activity.  For an introduction to the cuisine, browse the recipes and menus in Lao Cuisine.  Read about the history, traditions and culture of the country in Laos Country Information and check the Laos Photo Gallery.

Weather:  During the fall and early winter temperatures are between 63 - 75 F during the day on the Mekong and also in Luang Prabang and Vientiane.  It is much cooler in the mountains.  The fall and early winter are also typically dry, but rain showers can occur in any month.

Tipping:  A 10% service charge is frequently included in restaurants and bars.  If not, add an approximate 10%.  For outstanding service, leave a bit more.  For baggage handling, US norms are appropriate, especially in the four and five star hotels.  Hotel housekeeping staff are paid little, and a small amount left on the nightstand each day is greatly appreciated.  For sightseeing guides and drivers, an average tip for a small group (2-6) is $15-20/day for a guide and $25-30 if the group is larger.  An average tip for a daily driver is $10-15/day for a small group and $20-25/day for larger groups.  For unusual or exceptional service, $30-35/day for guides and $20/day for drivers. 

Visa:  Complete the Laos Visa Application and mail with your passport to the Lao PDF Embassy or, if arriving at either Luang Prabang or Vientiane, fill out the visa application upon arrival with a fee of $35 at the airport.  Have an extra passport photo with your visa application.

Luang Prabang Shopping:

  1. 1.Ock Pop Tok -- Social Enterprise with shops in town and weaving center for classes, workshops etc out of town, Vat Khily, 020 777 1972.  Owned by Joanna Smith an dVeomanee Duangdala

  2. 2.Lisa Regale - contemporary silk clothing, jewelry, textiles on a side street.

  3. 3.  Montagne - Beautiful jewelry shop at 14/6 Sisavangvong Road,

  4. 4.  Pathana Boupha Antique House – reliable, quality antiques.  071/212262

  5. 5.Blue House – Xiang thong Rd, near Le café ban Vat Sene, display room and gallery for handicraft artists

  6. 6.Thithpeng Maniphone – quality silversmith near Wat That

  7. 7.Pavillion de Jade at Ban That Luang for silver and natural dye silks, 071 260 157

  8. 8.Lao Antique Textiles Collection on Sisavang Vong – includes weaving tools as well as quality new and antique textiles, 011 856 71 253 267

  9. 9.Hmong Market – for new but beautiful textiles, etc.

  10. 10.Caruso Lao Home Craft at 60 Sakaline Rd, 011 856 71 254 574

  11. 11.Saaifone contemporary Gallery next to the Maison du Patrimoine

  12. 12. Sa Paper Handicraft – shop at village outside of LP in Ban Zang Khong, Manager is Tanh Manipoun, (020) 570 250

  13. 13. Lisa Regale Fusion Gallery for hand woven silk and cotton textiles, uphill from Saynamkhan Guesthouse

  14. 14.Silver Smith - Phothisack Tattanakone, most notable silversmith, at Ban Xieng Mouane Td. 856-71/212-654

  15. 15.Patta Textile Gallery - handmade scarves, skirts and home ware in Ban Zieng Leck handicraft village with natural palattes using fine cotton and silk, 07121 3047

  16. 16. Van Xang Kong - paper and silk weaving village near the airport

  17. 17. Tam Lay Lao at the Dara Market #632-33

  18. 18. Tribal Design - silver jewelry from the golden triangle at Dara Market, G16 020 5569 8882

  19. 19. Cama Crafts - hand made products with traditional patterns made by Lao and Hmong women

Luang Prabang Restaurants:

  1. 20. Saffron Coffee Cafe along the east end of the Mekong peninsula where local Lao coffee beans are roasted.  Learn about the new social enterprise for coffee in Laos.

  2. 21. Le Petit Nid (Biblio Bar)a favorite, just past the night market where the three women chefs work in the open to create excellent, fresh, Lao/French dishes 98/5, Sakrine Rd, Ban Wat Nong, (+856..71_ 260.686

  3. 22. Blue Lagoon—another favorite on the street by the National Museum, Ben Chooumkhongm +856 (71) 253 698,

  4. 23. Joma Bakery Café – Th Chao Fa Ngun,  +856 (0) 7125 2292

  5. 24. Les 3 Nagas, Lao with a french accent, buffalo laap

  6. 25. Villa Santi, Ziang Thong Rd – wonderful balcony overlookin Xiang Thong Rd, special house dring – Return of the Dragon.

  7. 26. Indochina Spirit – north of the Nam Phou Fountain, best Lao Thai food in LP, charming old house.

  8. 27. 3 Nagas Restaurant – try betel leaf soup, local mushrooms, laap, chicken stay, and “kaipen”, Mekong Weed with “jaew bong” condiment. 071 252-079

  9. 28. Galanga Restaurant – coffee, snacks, drinks, browsing 60/04 Ban Vat Nong

  10. 29. Tamarind Café – opposite Vat Nong, near L’Elephant Restaurant, relax here with coffee or Lao beer at 5pm to hear the monks chanting in the temple across the street,  (0) 20 777 0484.  Also try the cooking class.

  11. 30. L’Elephant – try boar, venison, as well as cheese and wine, Ban Vat Nong, 00071 252 482

  12. 31. Sovanbaniang Road – good cheap Lao food all along the Mekong near Sala Prabang Hotel

  13. 32. Tamnak Lao Restaurant and Cooking School – wonderful old building with café and cooking school, +856 71 252525,

  14. 33. Tum Tum Cheng – cooking school for students on main street on the way to Vat Xieng Thong

  15. 34. Le Banneton - new branch of the Vientiane dave and patisserie serving pastries, tarts, baguettes and brioches, at the quiet end of the peninsula, Ban Khili (0) 305 131170

  16. 35. Coconut Garden - the newest venture by the owners of L’Elephant with a stylish garden cafe and upstaires tables with a view of the tiled rooftops and palm trees.  Try the Lao dish, Nem Tadieu, a salad of sour pork and crispy rice..  Ban Xieng Mouane, 07126 0436

  17. 36. The Morning Glory Cafe - at the end of the peninsula, great breakfast, great coffee

  18. 37. Trephirom - Alfresco hangout on the grounds of an old Lao style mansion.  Chilli packed beef dishes, swaying yellow lanterns, and low rattan tables with live traditional music

  19. 38. Utopia - great cocktails on a waterfront terrace.

  20. 39. Apsara Bar - popular spot attracting well heeled travelers.  Best international wine list in town.

  21. 40. Boungnasouk Restaurant - superb views of the Mekong River and some of the best Lao food, including yellow mushroom beef and steamed fish.  The external facade is not great, but the restaurant is wonderful.  (0) 7 121 2749

  22. 41. Dyen Sabai Restaurant - Great Lao fare and great views, including sindad - Lao barbecue (0) 2 0510 4817

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Luang Prabang Hotels/Guesthouses

  1. 42. Ramayana Hotel – next door to the National Museum, perfectly located for both night market and morning market (if the motorcycle noise is not a problem), unusual local décor, 128 Toutane Ave, Ban Pakham, (856-71) 255 066,

  2. 43. 3 Nagas - 15 room boutique hotel at the end of the peninsula, traditional Lao details, 1-800-337-4688

  3. 44. La Residence -- outside of town with an infinity pool with a view.  Perfection.  Try a cocktail at sunset at Dok Champa Bar overlooking hte pool, probably the best sunset view of LP  +85 6 7121 2194

  4. 45.  Maison Souvannaphoum, former royal residence, currently being renovated.  Convenient to downtown and watching the monks

  5. 46. Hotel Apsara - Baan Wat Sene, Thanon Kingkitsarath, 856 71 254 670, house with views of Nam Khan.

  6. 47. Sala Prabang – an old house along the river, 102/6 Road Ban Xieng Nouane, 856 71 252 460

  7. 48. Ban Pack Luck – small, charming, 6 bedroom guesthouse in a renovated villa  in a quiet part of center town, Ban Wat Nong, (0) 71 253373

  8. 49. The Mekong Riverview – new guest house at the end of the peninsula.  Urban Paulsson, manager.  Lovely, has bikes and transport into town.  No restaurant or bar.

  9. 50.The Grand Hotel, lovely property on Ban Xiengkeo, +66 (0) 2 227 9535,

  10. 51. Amantaka, new resort highly recommended, expensive, 55/53 Kingkitsarath Rd, Ban Thongchaleun St, 1-800-477-9189

  11. 52.Villa Maly, former residence of Prince Khamtan, grandson of a 19th century Lao king.  33 rooms surround a 1938 French colonial style home in seven cabanas.  856/(0) 71-253-902

  12. 53. The Apsara Rive Droite, an elegant nine room hotel opposite the original on the anks of the Nam Khan River, access is by private boat, Bat Wat Sene (0)71 254670

  13. 54. Vanvisa Guesthouse - owned by a prominent foodie family.

  14. 55. Belle Rive Hotel - lovely colonial boutique hotel in a 1920’s French building with viewls of the river.  Ban Phonheuang, 07126 0733

  15. 56. Maison Dalabua Hotel located close to downtown, Grand Palace and night market with 15 rooms (OAT uses this property)

  16. 57. Villa Santi (Vanguard Travel trips)

  17. 58.Amantanka - 6 star resort - outstanding property

  18. 59.Luang Say Residence - hotel’s main building has all the grandeur of a late 19th century villa.  Breezy rooms and suites in five pavilions, each named after a French explorer

  19. 60.The Hotel Luang Prabang - a luxury boutique hotel with just 23 suites, four of which have private pools.  Old colonial structure with watchtowers on Prison Rd

  20. 61. Lotus Villa - boutique hotel near Wat Nong and Wat Zieng Thong temples:  stylish rooms with artisan furniture, textiles and carvings

  21. 62. Villa Pumalin - guest house with charm and convenience near the Mekong and night market.

Luang Prabang Other Resources:

  1. 63. Handicraft Villages

  2. Ban Chan Pottery Village

  3. Van had Hian for blacksmithing

  4. Ban Sang Khong fof Saa paper

  5. Ban Xieng Lek for textiles - Patta textile gallery

  6. Hua Moom Xieng Thong Ethnic shop for masks and sculptures from the Khmu minority tribes

  7. 64. Royal Ballet Theater for dance performance at the National Museum, 071 253705, performances on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat at 6:30pm

  8. 65. Tam Lay Lao – social enterprise for Lao Textiles with workshops and shop at Dara Market Unit G32,

  9. 66. My Library – visit this library and practice English with children at Bat Vat Nong, between L’Elephant and Tamarind restaurant,

  10. 67. Heritage Information Centre with exhibitions, database, staff, gift shop, performatnce information, behind Vat Xieng Mouane

  11. 68.Fair Trek, joint project between LP Provincial Tourism, seven rural villages, and Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventures.  Payments go into local villages.  10 standard tours available.  Tiger Trail Outdoor Adventure Offices,, 071 212311

  12. 69.Morning Market, near the Palace, daily from sunrise to afternoon

  13. 70.Night Market along Sisavnagvong Rd, daily from dusk until 10pm

  14. 71.Pak Ou Cavens, 16 miles up on hte Mekong River,

  15. 72.Royal Palace Museum

  16. 73.Wat Nong Sikhounmuang, one of the city’s oldest temples, from 1729, Sakkaline Rd

  17. 74. Luang Say luxury boat cruises provide a two day cruise down the Mekong from Houay Xay, with a overnight stay at Luang Say’s exclusive riverside bungalows, Ban Wat Sene (0)71 252553

  18. 75. Nong Khiaw nature hike to a sleepy Lao town on the Nam Ou River against the linestone karsts.  Experience typical country life with paddy fields, fishing, and exceptional landscapes.  Take a short hike to the Hmong village or Phatoke Cave.  Nong Khiaw is a 2 hour drive from LP.

  19. 76. The Spa Garden - for a three hour session in a gorgeous garden setting.

Vientiane Restaurants:

  1. 77.Joma—the essential bakery and coffee shop (two locations)

  2. 78. La Terasse—when you need your hamburger, or other Western food

  3. 79.Swedish Pizza and Baking House, Seanglao Rd, Ban Anou (021) 21 5705

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Vientiane Shopping:

  1. 80. Lao Textiles -- Carol Cassidy’s sensational silk weaving center and shop.  A MUST in Vientiane,, 856 (0) 21 21212,  84 Thanon Nokeokhoumane, Ban Mixay

  2. 81.Houey Hong Center -- a social enterprise teaching women to dye and weave silk.  Offers classes, workshops.  Shop on street along the Mekong.  PO Box 1034, Vientiane, Lao, Ban Nouey Hong, Chanthabury District.

  3. 82. Hai Ngeun Mai Kham Boutique -- at Samsenethai St, Vientiane.  Bounkhong Signavong, designer

  4. 83. Maicome -- silk designer at 3191-193 10-11, Unit Ban Sokpaluang, Vientiane, (+856-21) 31 22 75,

  5. 84. Mixay Boutic, Nokheokuman St, (856 21) 216 592

  6. 85. Camacrafts – Fair trade shop for Hmong and Lao handicrafts at Nokeokoummane St, Ban mixay, (856-21) 24 1217

  7. 86. Siorn Handicraft for mate to order lao silk, vintage Lao garments and silver accessories at Bane Amone, Muang Xaysettha, +856-20-5551-5854,, or,

  8. 87. Mulberries – a fair trade, green collection of elegant silk products

  9. 88. Satri Lao—three stories of new and antique clothing and domestic product

  10. 89. Talet Sao—the local market with old and new textiles, and everything else, including rows of gold and silver artisans.  Search the stalls on the lower level for those with authentic Hmong textiles and products.  Less expensive than Luang Prabang.

  11. 90. Caruso Lao – workshops for traditional arts founded by Sandra yuck, both in Vientiane and in LP.  Ban Phiavath #008 Fa Ngum Rd,

Vientiane Hotels, Guest Houses:

  1. 91. Beau Rivage with 16 rooms decorated with art from local and international artists.  Check ou the chici spirit House Bar

  2. 92. Green Park - just east of Talet Sao on the same street.  Lovely bar and small roof top restaurant

  3. 93. Le Calao, ban Nakham, Asean Rd, (856-21) 21 5271,                 

  4. 94. Day Inn Hotel, recommended, 059/3 PangKham Rd, PO Box 4083, (856-21) 22 3847-8,

  5. 95. Avalon Hotel – new guesthouse on a side street.  Clean, great staff.  Phnom Penh Rd, Ban Anou, Chanthabouly District, (856-21) 263597-8,

  6. 96. Chanthapahya Hotel – larger guest house on a central street, addition/renovation in progress, 3138 Norkeokournmarn Rd, Ban Mixay, Chanthabouli District, Vientiane, Lao *856 -21) 244 284

  7. 97. Inter City Hotel – 24-25 Fa Ngum Road, Chanthabuly District

  8. 98. Ansara Hotel - lovely small boutique hotel.  PO Box 622, Quai Fa Ngum , Ban Vat Chan Tha, hom 5, Muang Chanthabury, +856 21 213 514

  9. 99. Savidee@Lao House in the heart of Vientiane wit 80 rooms (OAT Travel uses this property)

Vientiane Other Resources

  1. 100.Disabled Women’s Centre, about 20 km from Vientiane, past the friendship bridge, teaches women trades.  Tour workshops, handicraft shop, Thadeua Rd,

  2. 101.Les Artisans Lao – similar to Artisans d’Angkor, with gallery in  Vat Inpeng St

  3. 102. Annual Silk Fair at Khon Kaen with a stop at Ban chiang, the oldest known agricultural and metal working site in the world with an excellent dig and museum.

  4. 103.Vientiane College and Honour International School - 856-21-312383 offer teaching opportunities for English teachers

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Pakse Resources:

  1. 104. The 46 – row of noodle stalls –Th 46, connecting Th 11 to 38

  2. 105.Khem Khong Restaurant – Floating restaurant with great seafood, (0) 31 213 240

  3. 106.Talat Dao Heung – local market, find great coffee beans

  4. 107.Dok Champa Massage on Street 5 opposite Pakse Hotel, (0) 20 760 6212

  5. 108.Don Kho island to buy hand woven fabric.

Vang Vieng Resources:

  1. 109. Norkeo Restaurant 0 have their grilled beef kebabs and Beerlao, followed by a lemon and sugar crepe from a street vendor.

  2. 110. Le Jardin Organique Guest House  - new, A/C, hot showers, and central location for about $20.

  3. 111. Thavonsouk Resort, in a quiet corner near the Song River with breathtaking views of the Red Cliffs and flowering gardens.  41 rooms (OAT uses this property)

Laos Other Resources etc.:

  1. 112.Talet Dara market for produce et al in Vientiane

  2. 113.The Boat Landing Guest House in Luang Naptha, the northernmost province of Laos

  3. 114. Don Daeng Island for remote mellow village home stay.  Try La Folie Lodge wit  duplex bungalows

  4. 115. Indigo Threads -- Mary Meyer’s NGO in Pakse

  5. 116. Silks of Laos -- Kristen Baynham’s NGO supporting silk weavers near Luang Prabang.

  6. 117. Mekong Cruise--Luang Say from Houei Say to Luang Prabang, Vat Phou round trip to Pak

  7. 118. Lao Culture Expert – Michel Derepas from Institute of Research on Lao Culture.  Offers guided tours

  8. 119. Vientiane Orchids – Bertrand Laville’s Vientiane Orchides project offers the Orchids Trek, one day tour exploring Phou Khao Khouay National Park

  9. 120. Nava Mekong, a luxury houseboat serving Lao cuisine

  10. 121. Tamarind Restaurant in Luang Prabang for cooking class and authentic Lao Pun Pa feasts

  11. 122. Visit Vat Xieng Thong on the other side of the river, go to the pier in front of Galanga café and rent a boat for a few dollars

  12. 123. Red Cross Massage in front of Vat Wisoun, in the southeast part of the city, open from 4:30 to 8:30pm, 856 71 254 147

  13. 124. Luang Prabang Ethnology Center, located in an old colonial house on the top of a hill next to the Talat Market.  Worth it for the minority tribe information,  includes a small café and gift shop

  14. 125. Boat Trip from Luang Prabang to Houayxay – price is approx $400 for 5 people, not including a night in a guesthouse at Pak Beng, arranged by Vieng Champa Tour, 856 71 252 400

  15. 126. Lao Silk Village with textile gallery, paper production at Ban Aphay Village, Visoun district in LP

  16. 127. Angsana Spa in LP, housed in the Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel

  17. 128.Handicraft Villages:  Ban Chan Pottery, Ban Had Hian blacksmiths, Ban Sang Khong for saa paper, and Ban Xieng Lek for textiles and silk

  18. 129. Big Brother Mouse – NGO in Luang Prabang and Vientiane that helps village children with books and language skills. 

  19. 130.Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre Museum – new, small LP museum with good exhibits on the ethnic groups in Laos, located up the small street just north of Dala market. 

Laos Reading List:

  1. 131.To Asia with Love:  A Connoisserus‘ Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand & Vietnam edited by Kim Fay

  2. 132.Curse of the Pogo Stick and other detective novels by Colin Cotterill – a series of great stories set in 1970’s Laos

  3. 133. Naga Cities of Mekong by Martin Stuart-Fox for early legends and history of Luang Prabang, vientiane, and Champasak

  4. 134.Anthony Bourdain:  No REservations:  Collection 4, Disc 2--Chef Anthony Bourdain visits northern Laos, the Plain of Jars, and Luang Prabang to savor the culture and the cuisine.  Available from Netflix.

Please contact Silk and Stones Travel for any additional information.

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