It is easy to find a handicraft and souvenir area with hundreds of stalls in every market in Laos. Visiting these places, visitors are guaranteed to be overwhelmed in the world of the mass-produced trinkets. Consequently, observing as well as shopping regional crafts and products, which are made by hand by the ethnic communities, are considered as one of the most unique experience that travelers should not miss as setting foot in the land of a hundred elephants.
If you are looking for a meaningful present for your mother, your sister or your friends, “Sinh” may be the perfect one. It is recognized as a traditional skirt of Laos, used by women attending ceremonies or special occasions, schoolgirls and even government officials. In terms of the form, it is large and cylindrical, with a simple geometric pattern decorated in the body and the image of animals embroidered on the foot. Moreover, instead of directly buying “sinh” in the market, you can carefully choose the fabric with your favorite color and pattern and then find the tailor who can design and make the most suitable for you.
It is difficult to find a product that can be more omnipresent than Beer Laos. Visitors traveling the land of a million elephants can be overwhelmed with the yellow color of its advertisements beautified everything from umbrellas, billboards to napkin holders… Select a t-shirt with the image of this award-winning pilsener for your relatives to awaken your memories of the refreshing drink.
Lao silk products are completely and solely woven by hand. In this country, each family develops their own technique and decorative motifs to create a unique and distinctive craft. In the rural area, there is a tradition that has been started since the 14th century and passed down generation to generation: the men would create a loom for the women to weave. Ok Pop Tok in Luang Prabang or Ban Xang Khong village are highly recommended to visit if you wish to have more knowledge about the weaving process or how regional patterns are designed.
The pure and simple beauty of Laos is often represented through its national flower – Champa. The five-pedaled flower with a yellow center is printed or embroidered in shirts or dresses, inscribed sophisticatedly in jewelry, magnets or trinkets. Laotians also utilize the fragrance of the Champa flower to make incense and essential oils or name their favorite brand of whiskey after the flower.
In Laos, bamboo plays a significant role in the life of the locals because it is usually bent and woven into bowls, vases, tray, mats or baskets to store sticky rice. In the family, if the woman takes charge of weaving textiles, making impressive bamboo wares will be the responsibility of the man. Bamboo stuff are considered as the ideal souvenirs to buy as traveling this country due to their diversity and their cheap price. There are some workshops and classes at Ock Pop Tok and Backstreet Academy that you can attend to know more about this handicraft.
It is not too difficult to buy high – quality wares made of silver and gold, whose purity can reach to 95-98% and 99% respectively, at a low price. In order to create amazing small statues or designs depicting Buddha, Lao legends or nature, silversmiths will use their traditional tools that have passed down many generations. You can have a gentle stroll around Hmong Street Market in Vientiane or Night Market in Luang Prabang to contemplating the sparkling lights of the lovely earring, bracelets or necklace made of these precious metals.
Flavored by nature, with cooler temperatures, plenty of rain and elevations reaching 1300 meters above sea level, Laos, especially Bolevan Plateau, is proven to be the best place to cultivate coffee among Southeast Asian countries. Coffee in Laos is first planted by the French 100 years ago and now grown using organic farming principles by the 20000 coffee farming families. The most well-known coffees include Robusta and Arabica bean due to their high quality and tasty flavor.
From stone, bone or wood, handicraftsman in Lao can inscribe a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces with diversified styles and shades. Luang Prabang, Pakse or Vientiane are the ideal places to purchase sculptural art depicting the Budha or complicated pattern. However, it is important to keep in mind that antique wood carvings may be stolen and sold illegally. As a result, buying the new one can be considered as the way to protect Lao cultural heritage. If you wish to observe the process to make wood carvings by the artisan, then Ban Nong Bueng will be your next destination!
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