Textile combining silk and cotton is a long tradition of Laotians. It is famous for both handmade and high quality. The designs can come from legends of Laos because the Lao history is recorded through weaving. Now, almost textiles are made for the tourists market. They are cut, sew into different items and have many kinds of patterns and motifs.
Hill-tribe people usually produce handicrafts to make a living. Some of popular handicrafts are baskets, wood and stone sculptures, handmade incense and natural papers. You can buy handicrafts at the villages you visit or foreign markets.
Craftsmen in Laos can carve a large number of of amazing pieces from wood, bone or stone with various styles such as simple and mundane, aesthetic and highly spiritual. Religions, especially Buddhism, are the main subjects and sources of inspiration for carving. Visitors easily find antique wood carvings containing their historical value and the livelihoods of traditional wood carvers at local shops in Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Pakse.
Laos is known a place growing one of the best coffee beans in the world. Local people call Laos coffee Pakxong since the majority is grown around Paxong town on the Boloven Plateau. The most well-known kinds of coffee are Laos arabica and robusta because of their great quality and wonderful flavor.
The antique shops are often located in the big cities of Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Savannakhet. Travelers should buy the replica of antiques such as clothes, jewellery, Asian pottery, musical instruments, carvings and coins. Because Lao antiques and Buddha images are banned from bringing out of the country.
All steps in silver craft are made by hand and use traditional tools, ancient methods. Buddhist art, Lao mythology, legends and nature are great sources of inspiration to create the silver in variety of figures. Silver is often crafted into artefacts used for religious ceremonies and jewellery including bracelets, necklaces and earrings. It is said that to find real Laos silver, go to the Hmong Market in Vientiane.
It is really worth buying paintings created by local artists. They are usually sold at night markets and shops by the river. If you want to get paintings with higher quality, you should go to the local galleries or exhibitions.
Clay and ceramic pottery-making tradition in Laos are well developed. One special thing is that Lao pottery is created by women and passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Most of pottery products are used for decoration, religious art, daily wares such as pots, urns, roofing and floor tiles. The traditional pottery villages near Pak Ou Caves are the best places to buy pottery.