We are what we buy! However, we spend not to just acquire things. Shopping is the pursuit of happiness, it’s the emotions associated with making that purchase. So here’s a list of the top 3 shops worthy of a visit while shopping in Luang Prabang recommended by native experts at Villa Maly Boutique Hotel.
1. Big Brother Mouse
Very few books are published in the Lao language and many children who live in the rural areas have never even seen a storybook. So this is where Big Brother Mouse comes in. They publish interesting and exciting books in the Lao language to engage and improve the country’s literacy rate. And here’s how you can shop to help: Donate US$400 and you would have a daily sponsored reading program at a rural school in Laos.
2. Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre
A social enterprise, Ock Pop Tok works mainly in the field of textiles, traditional handicrafts and artwork design. The proceeds are used to pay for school fees of marginalised youths. Ock Pop Tok works with selected partners (schools and colleges) and they select relevant classes for the fund recipients to attend. The fees are paid directly to the schools and proper reports are sent back to Ock Pop Tok. School fees range between US$38-138 per quarter. So every time you buy an item from the crafts centre here, you are helping young men and women reach further their education.
3. L'Etranger Books and Tea
Image by Flickr user Sputnik, adapted under a Creative Commons license
L’Etranger was the first bookshop and cafe to open in Luang Prabang. This place has evolved into a meeting point, offering travellers the chance to buy travel books or simply, to meet with other visitors and exchange one for one. For travellers who’ve been on the road for a while and are missing out on the big screen, fear not. There is a nightly movie screening at 7pm! L’Etranger is just within a 15-minute walk from Villa Maly.