Money & Shopping
Thai Baht and American Dollars are also accepted everywhere. Quite often your bill will come in all three currencies. There are now a number of ATM machines in Luang Prabang which take foreign cards, including one at the airport.
Please note that the swimming-pool at The Apsara Rive Droite is for the exclusive use of the Apsara Rive Droite guests.
The official currency of Laos is the Kip; this comes in various denominations mainly 1000, 2000 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000. You can change foreign currency into Kip at any bank without your passport, but you will need your passport to draw out money on a credit card or cash a traveller's cheque. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most places. American Express and Diners card are not.
The best thing here is just to follow the first rule of shopping; if you like it, and you want it, buy it. Don't expect to find any rare and valuable antiques, the dealers came through like a plague of locusts soon after the country opened up, though some shops do have some very beautiful pieces they are not cheap.
Weaving is one of the principal occupations of the area and you can hardly fail to notice that every shop is filled with examples of different local styles. Scarves and wall hangings are a very personal taste and prices and quality range from the simple to museum pieces.
About 3 kilometers outside town there is the weaving village, they have a large communal market where they all sell their fabrics, you can even commission a piece of weaving to your own colours. (A word of warning most fabrics are not washable as the dye runs.)
At the Phousi market you can buy the fabrics that make the skirts or sihns that the local women wear. These vary in price from around $7 to $25 to as much as $200 for the very elaborate ones. They consist of a piece of fabric and a border. This is taken to the tailor who makes the skirt to fit. This can be done in a couple of days but it is advisable to try get a fitting done.
When buying the lampshades check the wattage, as some are extremely low, all can be packed flat for transporting.
Photograph albums are also very good here and some are inter-leaved. The women on the Hmong market at the corner by the post office can make bedspreads or duvet covers to size overnight.
There are some very good ready-made clothes from all around the region at Satri Lao and Mixay, both shops are situated on the main street and both take credit cards.
Every evening, at the far end of the main street there is a night market.