Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TALAT SAO | Vientiane's Morning Market

Just like any of our capital cities, Vientiane has its own “central market” -- Markets that serves as a “landmark” aside from the usual “local-style” shopping. The most important "gift" that these markets can offer us is the opportunity to have a glimpse of the local life on grassroot level.

Bangkok has the world-famous Chatuchak, KL has the touristy Central Market, Manila has the pleasingly “air-conditioned” Divisoria, Phnom Penh has the magnificent Phsar Thmei, and Singapore has…uhm…Orchard Road? LOL

Compared to the central markets mentioned above, Talat Sao of Vientiane isn’t like any of it. It is simple, modest, uncrowded and curiously quiet. This is how Vientiane used to be 5-10 years ago. Not very “market-like” you say? Think again…

Talat Sao has many things on sale that are NOT displayed.

Aside from the permanent stalls inside the building that sells the usual local stuffs like Lao silk, silver, gold, clothes, electronics, textiles, local crafts…AND watch out for peddlers and hawkers around the building.

They sell bottles of rice wines with cobras & critters in it! I was particularly interested with the guy that sells baby parrots…

…my friends had to practically remove me from the guy’s face because I was pissing him off!

I kept giving a mean look to anyone who shows interest of buying those poor baby parrots! I wanted to smack the guy’s face but I can’t do that – I’m allergic to policemen nowadays.

Don’t let the name confuse you – the Morning Market isn’t open in the morning. Well, not officially. Other stalls are open but not “entirely” (depending on sections). Everything will start to swing just after lunch and would stop swinging just before 5pm.

It is quite easy to find the Morning Market -- Practically everybody knows where it is. It is the city’s “Meeting and Drop Off Point”; the center of it all. Vintage Mercedes Benz taxis are just outside the grounds and Tuktuks would be eager to show you around.

Don’t forget to explore this place on your visit to Vientiane. You’ll never know what you’ll find…highly recommended. And I almost forgot to say – please do not confuse this place to the modern mall next-door.

Happy shopping! Enjoy exploring!

-- Pisanu in Vientiane
27 Jun 2008


Allen Yu said...

You call divisoria pleasing? Oh my, it's always crowded, stinky and noisy. Aside from the malls around it.

Talat Sao looks better. Well-organized.

curbside_puppet said...

it is simple and modest and quiet? wow. i actually abhor going to malls and even markets because the huge volume of people makes me feel dizzy! i might like going there. perhaps they have some nice outdoor cafe near the market that testifies of the country's french colonial past with its indochinese twist?

and hey, did you say divisoria is airconditioned?

Arifuzzaman Q. said...

Why do most readers and commenters of this blog always omit words from the author's article?

There is a reason why words are written and added.

"pleasingly" supports the "air-conditioned"... not the market itself.

Take for example when the author wrote "similar" to tapa...

...everyone just assumed it's "the same" as tapa when the author said it's "similar".

My two cents worth.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Tutuban is in Divisoria, correct? @ Curb & Allen

@ Arif...thanks for the first comment. We appreciate it. About your thought... it just goes to show that most of us, no matter how we think how fluent we are in the English language...still compose thoughts on the local level. Which is good.

curbside puppet said...

yep pisanu. i heard it was like the manila's central train station back in the day. i remember seeing rail tracks, not sure if it were train tracks or tranvia (kinda like the san francisco cable car) tracks. but i've only been there once in my life when we bough boxes of abaca products for a japanese that we would be adopting for a week. but that was like back in 1995.

MischMensch said...

Why did they buy those baby parrots for? I hope those baby parrots are still alive and not in one of those bottles of rice wine. Eeeeeek!

Jake Tornado said...

The only question that keeps bugging me is that thing in the rooftops common in the Indochinese Region. You know what I mean, those pointed things at the end of the roof angles? I've seen them in almost every structure in Bangkok (the architectural style is distinctly very Peninsular Southeast Asian). The roofs of Morning Market have them. What is their origin (or purpose maybe)?

Allen Yu said...

well typically, the divisoria we "mean" here are the street markets and bazaars which are always crowded and full of pickpockets. Tutuban is a mall in divisoria. You've been there Pisanu? wow.

Wentle said...

well...whatever the issue is its a shoppers haven... and a true Philippine icon... or the precursor to malls are always a showcase of one's culture through its products and wares...

@allen: the pickpockets, i guess it adds to the excitement of shopping right? hahha... what can be more annoying than seeing something that you like and when you are about to pay for it, you dont have to cash to do so... its the whole EXPERIENCE... which makes it unforgettable... =)

...ei guys, im finally back after a year's hiatus... pheww...

Pisanu, when are you guys hitting the islands again? =)

ken said...

what has frustrated me during my trip to lao in 2006 , lao people tend to cheat and give very expensive price. need to be firm when deal for price

anyway, talat sao in that time for me really need to be upgraded. too hot and wet. drainage system is to bad

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Hi Ken, thanks for the first comment. We really appreciate it. To be honest, I'm quite surprised that this particular comment of yours (above) wasn't deleted by our Editor.

But anyways, that's your opinion.

Let's put it this way Ken...

All our villages (read as "countries")HAS cheaters. We don't need to generalize (e.g. Lao people, Filipinos, Thais, Indons, etc.) because cheaters are everywhere.

...Malaysian Taxis DO NOT have a good reputation. And I think you also know that, right?

But no matter how rampant Malaysian Taxi cheaters, we never generalize the Malaysian people. Correct?

Peace and accept my brotherhood from Thailand. =)

Anonymous said...


in my opinion when lao gov trying to promote their country, since lao is still unknown and less tourists, the people should be 'nicer' in term of the bargaining. or maybe less tourists so tat they need to make money more from the tourists. with good reputations, sure many will come to lao and can generate more income or bad reputations, mayb the tourists might not come back again. no additional income

anyway, support each others by holidaying in SEA countries ;-)

in msia, cant do anything for the taxi as lack of enforcements and corruptions!

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