Be Inthavong Shares His Hometown’s Cultural Offerings

Be Inthavong was 13 years old and living in Texas when he designed his first cosmetic case. In 2003, he traveled to his parents’ century-old silk mill in Vientiane, Laos, where he spent a year learning the art of looming. He returned to the United States and, in 2010, launched his eponymous accessories and textile label.

Today, the Austin, Texas–based designer creates edgy leather woven fabrics coveted by clients like Calvin Klein. In addition to frequent visits to Palm Beach, Inthavong returns to Vientiane and his family’s home along the Mekong River every year to partake in the city’s cultural offerings.

For a solo experience: A traditional Lao massage at the Tangerine Garden Spa

A fun cultural experience: Practice your bargaining skills at Talat Sao, a popular market

Vibe: Buddhist charm

Fashion essentials: Linen shirts by Mason, Dalmine, and J. Crew, and sunglasses by Sunday Somewhere

Morning ritual: People-watching at coffee shops like Le Banneton

Go-to restaurant: Khop Chai Deu offers an extensive menu of local Lao cuisine and has an international vibe.

Signature drink: Beer Lao

Soundtrack: My friends usually want to hear my latest downloads to keep current with U.S. pop music, so lately it’s been Adele and Justin Bieber.

Best time to go: November and December, when the weather is mild and there are lots of rituals and festivals, like the Vientiane Boat Racing Festival on November 15 and Lao National Day on December 2.

Unwritten rule the locals live by: Always smile

Where to shop: I go to my local tailor, Champs-Elysees Tailleur, for jackets because I like to mix and match.

Best seat in town: Sit outside at Moon the Night Restaurant and watch the sun set over the Mekong River.

Local dish to dream about: Papaya salad

Best way to spend a free morning: Observe the Buddhist monks taking their morning offerings at Pha That Luang or Wat Ho Phra Kaew temples.

Hometown goods to sample and stockpile: Handwoven scarves

Must-do experience not in the guidebooks: Travel outside the city center for a lunch in the countryside

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