"Plains, Stupas, UXO's and of course Jars too" Top 5 Page for this destination Ban Phonsavan by DSwede

Ban Phonsavan Travel Guide: 71 reviews and 101 photos

Phonsavan is a rather remote stop in anyone's treks through north and eastern Laos. It is far enough away and hard enough to get to that nobody would accidentally find themselves here. So with that being said, if you come here, chances are you have already read up on the area to know the historical "Plain of Jars" and the prevalence of UXO's (Unexploded ordinances) in the area. But just because you may know the historical importance of the area, does not mean that you have an image in mind when before you visit. I hope this page helps.

Phonsavan is the largest town on the great long winding road between the central mountains of Laos and the plains that stretch to the Vietnam boarder. It was built up in the 1970's as a replacement capital city to the devastated Muang Khoun (32km south).

Not long ago, this town was nothing more than a village. And in many regards, it is still only just a village, but growing over its boundaries. The streets are quiet and mostly dusty. Electricity used to be only during the hours of 5am to about 9pm, but this no longer the case. Regardless, it is extremely quiet after 9pm since the locals may still retain that lifestyle. The town can be easily covered by bicycle in a few hours. Outside of the city, a motorcycle or scooter would be best.

The area is relatively flat compared to the limestone mountains to the west (near Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng), but should are still gently rolling.

The higher mountains and steeper slopes are more heavily forested. The valleys and rolling hills are often covered with grassy fields. These fields are still spotted to this day with crater holes from the ordinances dropped during the War. So many bombs were dropped that people in the area still encounter UXO's to this day, and those that are no longer a threat often become part of the decoration or building materials of the local homes.

About 32 km south of the town is Muang Khoun. It is home to the That Foun Stupa, Wat Piawat and was the historic capital seat of the Phoan kingdom. It was heavily damaged during the Indochina war and has lost much of its original mite. But today, Muang Khoun is just another farming town that has very few outsiders pass by to see its treasures.

I came into Phonsavan from the heritage city of Luang Prabang. Unfortunately this was the end of my travels in Laos. I had come in overland, but had to fly out via Vientiane.

Feel free to visit my Laos page for more details on my extended holiday here.

(for more pictures, feel free to visit my Laos Gallery. If you enjoy the pictures, please leave a comment.)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The omnipresent UXO's and its impact will make all people rethink events.
  • Cons:Transportation options to get here are rather limited.
  • In a nutshell:A remote stop to see the higher plains, Stupas, UXO's and of course the Jars too
  • Intro Updated Mar 27, 2011
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Reviews (13)

Comments (3)

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2009 at 1:37 PM

    Amazing photos and tips. I like the Valley of the Jars. So sad all the unexploded bombs and mines left in Laos.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2009 at 1:19 AM

    nice page mate. i´ll be heading back to phonsavan myself in february.

  • picek's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2009 at 6:06 AM

    Another great page on Xiengkhouane, Dave. I loved the old stupa in old capital but it's pity there's not much left of other buildings. Used to be very nice, so they say.


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