The central area of Luang Prabang is full of places to buy souvenirs, silk, handicrafts, and jewelry. With its royal heritage and the accompanying emphasis on pageantry and tradition it is no surprise that Luang Prabang has a rich tradition of artisanship. This is compounded by its situation at the heart of a mountain region where ethnic minorities forged their own traditions of craftsmanship. Bargains are hard to find these days but there is a lot of competition so you can certainly get a reasonable deal.
Dara Market -- This is the central market next to Wat Phousi and until recently it was a rough-and-ready functioning provincial commercial hub selling motorcycle parts, electrical goods, flip-flops, light bulbs, some foodstuffs, and pretty much everything else you might need. That has now changed and it has been rebuilt and gentrified. This was inevitable given its position and Luang Prabang's progress as a major tourist destination. Now it is a pleasant, clean, orderly, and mildly antiseptic tiled market with a series of stalls selling clothes, fabrics, and jewelry as well as more practical things such as shampoo, shoes, bags, and coffee. The sell is notably gentle here, and with a smile you can get people down by about 30% from their asking price. Daily 8am to 5pm.
The Night Market -- Every evening from approximately 6 to 9pm, the end of Sisavangvong Road between the central junction with Setthathirath Road past the Royal Palace to the start of the main shopping area is blocked off and becomes a Thai-style night market. Here you can get fabrics, wall hangings, T-shirts, ceramics, woodcarvings, and a great deal more from legions of grinning old ladies from the hills. Grinning they may be, but you will still need to bargain hard to get a good price. The place has a nice vibe and it's quiet and largely candlelit. In high season there are crowds but they are rarely stifling.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.