"The wild, wild, wild side....." Ban Phonsavan by mke1963
Ban Phonsavan Travel Guide: 71 reviews and 101 photos
You wait for the tumbleweed to blow across your path in Phonsavan, a town lying some 1600 metres above the sea in one of South East Asia's most strategic plains.
It has a Dodge City feel to the place, a mixture of dudes on motorbikes, farmers in pick-ups, traders from afar, locals scouring the visitors for signs of being friend or foe. Vehicles park head-in across the dusty lots in front of the shophouses. Chickens squawk their way in a blurry fluster of feathers and indignation out of the way of traffic.
We wait for the Lao Clint Eastwood to turn the corner in a poncho, chewing a matchstick, hands pitched by the belt, waiting for the quick draw.
This is a country with a blighted past, an uncertain present and a worrying future.
Phonsavan is a new town, courtesy of American "B-52 urban planning" in the 1960s and early 1970s which reduced this town and every single town, village and house to dust over the entire plain. There are few old trees, barely an old brick for many, many kilometres.
The hills around the town are grassy, bare and a mix of golden yellow and purple from the earth. Occasionally a surviving tree stands on a bare ridge: one spectacular example can be seen looking south from the airport. You can see for a great distance at the low hills and ridges, but there is just one, solitary slender fir tree to break the hazy horizontal lines: just the one. You could give every tree older than thirty years old a name in this area.
Phonsavan is, therfore, a modern town, but not without interest. The biggest accessible neolithic jar site is just a few kilometres beyond the airport, and there are good walks in the area (but stay strictly to the worn paths...to the inch!!).
Listen to the stories of the people and their families, and look to see how they have worked ceaselessly to recreate their farms and their livelihoods.
The mainly Phuan and Hmong people of the area take much pride in their achievements in the last 30 years, and it is a place that deserves a longer stay. The economic disintegration, together with US funding of insurgents in the area mean that there is shady money in town - look at the disproportionate number of grandiose villa houses in the area; look, but best not to inquire!
Phonsavan derves a break; it deserves a future which is planned, directed and implemented by the hard-working community. I would urge you to visit, spend some time, spend some money, and contribute to this special area.
- Pros:A proud, dynamic people; landscapes and history
- Cons:The tragic legacy of war
- In a nutshell:Visit Phonsavan!
On a pine-fringed ridge to the east of Phonsavan, the Auberge gazes down on the plains and ricefields. Beautiful wood... more travel advice
mke1963's Related Pages
Ban Phonsavan Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "So much more than the Jars."
- "Plains, Stupas, UXO's and of course Jars too"
- "JARS, UXO'S, MEMORIALS and VIET COFFEE HOUSES"
- "Gateway to the plain of jars."
- "The wild, wild, wild side....."
- "The Plain of Jars"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Ban Phonsavan
- Hotels in Ban Phonsavan
- Transportation in Ban Phonsavan
- Restaurants in Ban Phonsavan
- Shopping in Ban Phonsavan
- Warnings and Dangers in Ban Phonsavan
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Ban Phonsavan
- 3 Reviews
- 5 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 1 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (22)
Have you been to Ban Phonsavan?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Ban Phonsavan
Photos in Ban PhonsavanSee All Photos (5)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Beijing Intro, 153 reviews, 126 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Zhangjiajie Intro, 29 reviews, 107 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Harbin Intro, 49 reviews, 60 photos, 2 travelogues
- Seoul Intro, 57 reviews, 35 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Lanzhou Intro, 27 reviews, 62 photos, 2 travelogues
- Jiayuguan Intro, 36 reviews, 47 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Chengdu Intro, 19 reviews, 62 photos
- Graaff-Reinet Intro, 25 reviews, 49 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Dunhuang Intro, 21 reviews, 43 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Suwon Intro, 24 reviews, 37 photos