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Economy

How fast will 'Baht Economic Zone' expand?

A vendor offers baht bills as change in Luang Prabang, Laos.

LUANG PRABANG, Laos -- Peddlers of the Hmong, a mountainous ethnic group, gather in Luang Prabang, an ancient city in northern Laos, at dusk to sell handmade garments and ornaments at a night market.

     The official currency of Laos is the kip, but the Thai baht is more welcome in the market. I had baht brought from Thailand and negotiated the price of an apron decorated with an embroidered image of mountain life from an 81-year-old female vendor. "Why don't you give me that 20 baht (57 cent) bill, too?" she said cheerfully. And I did, ending up paying more than I expected.

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