Phonesavanh Travel Guide

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Plain of Jars

Plain of Jars

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One of the last mysteries of Asia, the Plain of Jars, lies in the province of Xieng Khouang with some sites easily visted from the provincial capital Phonesavanh.

Investigated since the 1930's this enigmatic site consists of clusters of stone jars placed in the landscape.  To date no less than 85 sites have been recorded ofwich 7 are open to the public.  UNESCO in collaboration with the Lao Government is currenly preparing a comprehensive management plan for this archaeological landscape  and hopes to have the site declared as a World Heritage In 2011. Despite the mysteries which surround this enigmantic site it is accepted that the stone jars were used in funerary rites. Cremated bone material and minor gravegoods were found inside the jars and burials surround the megalithic stone monuments.   

During the Second Indochina War (better known as Vietnam or American War) in Laos no less than 240 million tons of ordinance were dropped by the Americans; of these dropped bombs an estimated 30% failed to detonate. Xieng Khouang due to its proximity to Vietnam and its strategic position is the second heaviliest bombed province in Lao.   As a result some of the jars and sites were destroyed and numerous war sites can be visited. Also worth visiting is the Ancient Phuan Capital, Muang Khun, local ethnic villages of the Hmong, Khamu and Phuan and natural sites such as hot springs and waterfalls.

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