The market by the river is wonderful and you can get all kinds of food and various things. Part of the market is in a small covered building and the rest is just set up outside under umbrellas. I recommend that you try this sort of doughnut like things but unfortunately I did not take a picture to show what they look like. In any case, they tasted exactly like the sort of homemade doughnuts my grammy made when I was a kid, very nice indeed. The fruit is excellent as well.
I was in town for a few days and I do think the market was better on the weekend. More people and more variety of stuff.
What to pay: Very inexpensive
This is complicated but worth it. If you go to the tourist office (open Mon-Fri) they will give you a little map of the town. The weaving houses are located on the main road near the temple but there is no sign or indication anywhere. I went by myself and luckily some women were sitting on a bench outside so I showed them the map and after much sign language and smiles was taken to someone's house where they had looms and stuff all set up. Then they show you the stuff they have available and you buy directly from the ladies.
Probably it's easier if you speak some Lao but I managed to buy six beautiful handwoven scarves, a lovely silk ikat piece and various other things just by smiling and being patient.
What to buy: Weaving
What to pay: I spent between 12 to 25 USD for each of the pieces I bought.