Phonsavan & the Plain of Jars

Located in Xiang Khoang, the Plain of Jars is accessible from the new town of Phonsavan. Even today, no one knows with certainty the function of these towering stone jars collected by hundreds on the plains in the open wind.


Phonsavan is the provincial capital of Xiang Khouang Province dominated by green hills and pine forests. Villages consist of colourful wooden houses. Cattle raising is one of the main agricultural activities and Hmong cowboys with brown and violet cowboy hats are a common sight. During Hmong New Year there are bullfights in the city.

Phonsavan was built in the late 1970s and replaced the old Xiang Khouang (today: Muang Khoun) which had been destroyed during the Second Indochina War. Phonsavan's most famous attraction is the nearby Plain of Jars, which has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status. The main economic activity in Phonsavan is based on government administration, mining companies from China and Australia, tourism, and the work of NGOs related to clearing unexploded ordnance.

Tourist attractions

Plain of Jars

The enigmatic Plain of Jars in Xiangkhouang makes it one of the most important sites for studying the late prehistory of mainland Southeast Asia, although little is known about the people that constructed the megalith stone jars about 2,500 years ago. During the Second Indochina War, Xieng Khouang was the scene of extensive ground battles and intense aerial bombardment due to its strategic importance. The provinces of Houaphan and Xieng Khouang had been the stronghold of Pathet Lao forces and their Vietnamese allies. Extremely heavy carpet bombing by the US turned the Plain of Jars into the Plain of Scars, and it is the most heavily bombarded area in the world. In addition to bombs massive quantities of defoliants and herbicides were dropped

Ethnic groups

Xiang Khouang is home to five different ethnic groups. The Tai Dam, Tai Daeng, Phuan, Khmu, and Hmong have settled in the province. Their traditional houses, dresses, beliefs and rituals are part of the cultural heritage of Laos. There is also a minority of Laotian Chinese and Vietnamese as well as some international workers from Korea, Japan, Europe, and North America.

Sunset Views

Climb up some of the UXO cleared hills around Phonsavan, such as the Old Cemetery or the War Memorials, Phou Padeng Resort (excellent French food and wine) or Phou Chan and enjoy sweeping views and splendid colors of the sunset.

War Memorials 

There are several War Memorials in Phonsavan that were constructed to commemorate the thousands of Pathet Lao soldiers who lost their lives during the Indochina Wars and to honour the Vietnamese soldiers who fought alongside them. Climb up the small hills and you will be rewarded with great views of the town and surrounding areas.

Old Cemetery and Lake Jao Supanouvong

This large cemetery is on a hill 1 km north of Phonsavan. What makes it unique is that Tai Dam animist tombs are mixed together with Catholic tombstones, Chinese graves and Lao Buddhist reliquary. The hill top offers sweeping views and is an ideal spot for watching the sun set of the green hills. The lake 3 km north of town is named in honor of Prince Supanouvong the first president of the Lao PDR. Once the site of the provincial jail, it is now a place for a quick retreat.

Share on:

Other items:

Places of interest

What clients say about us

Discover how our former clients share their REVIEWS and IMPRESSIONS!