The Plain of Jars is on the Xieng Khouang Plateau, the site of thousands of stone jars of varying sizes and groupings. As many as 300 jars may be in a single place. The plateau is in north-central Laos and legend has it that the jars were made to hold alcohol when an ancient king wanted to celebrate a great victory. Archaeologists date them as 2,000 years old from the Bronze Age. Unfortunately the Plain suffered during the Second Indochina War though today there is peace and tranquility. The area is famous for its pleasant climate, caves, hot springs and its many ethnic tribes.
How to get there
There are internal flights from Vientiane to Phonosavan and a fairly comprehensive bus service throughout this part of Laos. The journey from Vientiane to Phonosavan is 270 km but will take up to 12 hours. It is a winding road until the last 50 km so be prepared. Perhaps the overnight bus in a good choice? In addition there is a bus service to and from Vinh or Hanoi in Vietnam taking a similar time and the Mekong is useful for travel.
Best time to visit
The monsoon season is a negative for travelling between May and October when roads can sometimes be difficult. Laos travel packages are still available in these months although the dry season is more popular.
Things to see and do
The Plain still has many unanswered questions. Historians know little about the civilisation at the time the archaeologists have provided.
There are many jar sites and how many you will see on a holiday in Laos will depend upon how much time you have. Laos travel packages need to balance time with the great number of attractions that the Country possesses. Three sites are probably a good balance and certainly the Jar sites are more worthwhile if you have limited time than some of the supposed ‘’attractions’’ of remnants of the struggle with the Americans.
It is hoped that the Plain of Jars will get UNESCO World Heritage site status in the future; it would be the third site in Laos if that happens. Other UNESCO sites will appear both in Laos tour packages and Indochina tour packages.
There are a few accommodation choices, primarily in Phonsavanh; guesthouses and some hotels. Those on organised tours will have bookings made for them of course.