I can’t think of anywhere else I’ve lived that I could tell you all about all the places we shop in one single blog post. Welcome to Northern Laos! So, let’s go shopping!
Basically, the market is the town’s one stop shopping center. Aside from the market, there are a couple appliance stores, hardware stores, and the assorted corner stores, but if you can’t find it at the market you probably can’t find it in this town or within 5 hours of it. First, there is the colorful outdoor produce section of the market that is bustling both in the morning and evening, though there are always a few vendors hanging out there throughout the day.
Most of the produce is harvested locally or foraged from the jungle and is fresh and delicious. I would guess that a lot of it is organic, too.
Look at those beautiful greens!
Along one side of the market, are stalls selling toiletries, cooking oil, instant noodles, MSG and all the other local necessities.
Along the opposite side, are a couple stalls selling baskets, small furniture and the supplies needed for cooking and serving sticky rice. Down from the basket shops is the meat section, but that’s deserves its own post.
Under the large covered area where you can buy the pre-made lunch food, you can also find dry goods like beans, noodles, condiments and eggs along with more produce that is often imported from China or Thailand.In the far back, you can get your shoes fixed…or some clothes made.
Then, there is the large Chinese section of the market where you can buy everything from electronics and housewares to clothing and toys. It is all imported and sold by the local Chinese community. It can be a bit of a challenge finding things as well as communicating with the vendors.We dug through these carefully organized rows to find our new dishes.
But, our efforts were rewarded.
We also scored these stylish, one-size-only sweat suits to keep the girls warm at night.
You can find some pretty sweet, top quality items if you search hard enough.
So, that about wraps up our shopping tour. Aside from the market and a couple corner stores, the only other place we shop is at the Vietnamese plastics shops near our house.
There aren’t a lot of shopping choices and no typical grocery stores. I guess that’s part of the beauty of this simple town. It leaves more time for sitting around the campfire with your neighbors or taking a scenic bike ride. I won’t lie, though, setting up a house with limited supplies has required some real resourcefulness. And, if Target came to town, I’d be out of my mind ecstatic! (Hey Target, could you send me a gift card for the shout out?)
What’s shopping like in your town? Wait, maybe I don’t want to know!