Image of the Plain of Jars courtesy of Tourism Laos, used with permission
In Xiengkhouang Province in northern Laos, thousands of giant stone jars estimated to date back between 500 BC to 200 AD are eerily scattered over hundreds of square kilometres. While their origins remain a mystery, the Plain of Jars is likely one of Southeast Asia’s most important prehistoric sites.
It has long captured the attention of archaeologists and the imagination of everyone else who’ve seen it. Believed to be funerary urns, the ancient jars are found in many different sites most of which were also the locations of massive American aerial bombings back in the 1960s to 1970s. Only a few of those sites have been cleared of unexploded ordnance, three of them which have the most number of jars are the ones often visited.
Xiengkhouang’s provincial capital, Phonsavanh, will likely be your base to visit the Plain of Jars. Site 1, the closest to the city, has 334 jars and where you can find the largest one. Further south of the capital, Site 2 has 93 jars spread over hills and gives scenic views of farmlands. Ten kilometres away from Site 2 is Site 3, where 150 jars sit on a charming hillside accessible through a footbridge and a walk across rice fields. You can easily hire a taxi or private car and driver from Phonsavanh to the three jar sites. If you prefer to catch a bus, only Site 3 is accessible.
Plain of Jars, Phonsavan, Laos; human standing next to jar for scale. David McKelvey / Creative Commons.
Plain of Jars, Phonsavan, Laos. David McKelvey / Creative.
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
If you're interested in other out-of-the-way cultural artifacts, try these other experiences: an overland trip from Makassar to the Tana Toraja heartland in Indonesia; ascending the the Rice Terraces of the Philippines; hiking through Sarawak and Sabah in East Malaysia, or through Sapa in Vietnam; and visiting Brunei's Tutong cultural and ethnic experience.
Rice-planting on the Banaue Rice Terraces go as they have for countless generations, on paddies carved out of the mountain by...
Bandar Seri Begawan's bustling urbanity, Ulu Temburong's deep rainforest experience, and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park'...VIEW DETAILS
Your arrival in Laos, one of Southeast Asia’s more beguiling destinations, begins at its former capital, Luang Prabang....VIEW DETAILS
From a standing start in Singapore, you'll race through the island-state and neighboring attractions across the border &n...VIEW DETAILS
The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 because of its religious and colonial significance. The city ...VIEW DETAILS
Explore Phuket’s beautiful islands and stay at Villa Saan - a dream home perfect for entertaining.VIEW DETAILS
• Helicopter Tours - Kintamani Volcano Sky Tour, Bedugul Lake Sky Tour, Uluwatu Coastline Sky Tour, Kuta Beach & Ta...VIEW DETAILS
Go on an epic Asean journey with AirAsia Asean Pass, a travel pass that allows you to book our base fares at least 14 days or...VIEW DETAILS
Rent a car for 2 days or more at participating locations in Asia and enjoy up to 15% offVIEW DETAILS
Mandarin Court Hotel is located in the city with just 8 minutes walking distance to China town. The monorail which convenient...VIEW DETAILS
Oriental Crystal Hotel is midway between the KL International Airport in Sepang and the vibrant Kuala Lumpur City Centre; Mal...VIEW DETAILS
Nestled along the historic Singapore River opposite the quaint Robertson Quay, Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, Riverview i...VIEW DETAILS