The Night Market in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang Night Market: Not Your Typical Trinketorium



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A night in Luang Prabang wouldn’t be the same without a trip to their one of a kind night market. Without fail, every night that Steve and I were in town we went over there for dinner and maybe pick up a few souvenirs. I even got a few free lessons on the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument. Steve observed that other developing countries should come check out what Laos is doing with the night market in Luang Prabang, because it’s really remarkable and a great way to support the unique community there.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Starting at dusk each night, the main street of Luang Prabang is set up for business with fruit stands like this one.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Although it took some practice and some patient coaxing from the local expert, I was able to get a few clean notes from the Erhu. Photo by Steve Iams.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    My new musician friend even taught me a simple traditional song on the Erhu, and by the time we stopped playing a few passing travelers were tossing some change to us. Photo by Steve Iams.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    These umbrellas were lit from underneath by a few light bulbs giving them a warm glow.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Steve and I named the local currency "Trabongs" in honor of my "Wong Trabong" gaffe at the airport. Just so you know, 10,000 kip equals one trabong (a trabong is also conveniently pegged one to one to the dollar). With so much good stuff on sale in Luang Prabang, we both dropped more trabongs than we had planned.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    I think this lamp ran about 20 trabongs, quite a good price!

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Once we had our fill of the night market, we headed over to food stall lane for some excellent cheap eats.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    I thought that maybe I would get the smoked pig face some other time though.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    This woman made the best chicken on a bamboo stick, so we went back to her stall several times to have her excellent grilled and marinated chicken wrapped in a banana leaf. Sure beats KFC!

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Our chicken on a stick was roasted over the glowing hot coals right in front of us.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    One night there was even a birthday party at the chicken on a stick stand.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    We found ourselves trying a few fruits that we'd never had before as well as a few regular favorites.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    When I asked for a drink from a nearby stand, they poured it into a bag and dropped a few chunks of ice inside so I had to hold on to it even when I was eating. Photo by Steve Iams.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Steve made friends with this fellow sitting next to him at the communal table at food stall alley and learned a little bit about how the local people eat their dinners in Laos.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    It's not every day that you come across a few buddhist monks shopping for bootleg cds, but there really is something for everyone at the Luang Prabang night market.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Steve even found the copy of "Open Rock No. 1: In Your Hard" that he had been looking for all over Asia.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    The artisans of Luang Prabang spread out their items for sale on the clean sidewalk. Steve picked up a handmade shirt and I bought a pair of Hobbit pants from this lady.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Rice paper lamps are another popular item for sale from the night market and surrounding stores. They also give the city streets a nice warm glow at night.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    These lamps look almost glowing hot air balloons primed to float off into the night sky.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    This man was playing (and also selling) the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument. An Erhu has a range of about three octaves and sounds sort of like a violin to me, but the tone is much thinner because the Erhu has a much smaller resonating chamber that's shaped like a drum and covered in snakeskin.

  • Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004

    Luang Prabang Night Market, Laos - October 2004
    Since I play the fiddle back home in Virginia, I wanted to take a turn sawing on the strings of the Erhu. Photo by Steve Iams.