On our last day in Phonsavan, we headed to the center of town to the Xieng Khuang Market. The market includes the typical shops for manufactured and hand crafted products but the centerpiece is one of the more colorful food markets in all of Lao. Like a lot of markets, the earlier in the day the better in terms of when to visit.
The market is open air but loosely covered in tarps. The aisles are narrow and the smells are just amazing. We saw bright red chilies, small white egg plants that actually looked like eggs, hairy fruit, fresh seafood; some still living, friendly vendors and busy shoppers. We weren’t able to include as many of the photos of the market as we would like on this page but if you click on any of the pictures, it will take you a photo library with more.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the market and then headed off to Phonsavan’s Xieng Khouang Airport (XKH). It’s a small airport with only a few Lao Air flights per day. As we were looking out the waiting room windows before our flight, we noticed military aircraft parked on the tarmac and watched as several green helicopters landed and were met by cars flying diplomatic flags.
When our flight to Vientiane was announced, we walked out onto the tarmac to our French built ATR-42 turboprop, the smaller of the ATR’s used by Lao Air and contemplated the mixed feelings we had from our visit to Phonsavan.