During the Secret War, untold numbers of precious relics were obliterated and the results are still evident in the Phonsavanh provice in Laos. The fields of the archaeological site of the Plain of Jars are pockmarked with bomb craters, meters deep and wide. Non-profit groups and organizations such as Mines Advisory Group (MAG) have cleared hundreds of the unexploded ordinances (UXO), including bombs, rockets, artillery shells, mortars, and paths at the four major sites. Our tour will traverse a path that has already been cleared by and deemed completely safe to walk.
We pick you up at your hotel at 7am and drive to the XiengKhuang province, a heavily bombed area during the Vietnam War. Along the way, we will stop at ethnic group villages, each having their own unique cultures and customs. We will stop at the beautiful Nongtang Lake and visit the old hospital cave (Buddha Cave), once a very popular place of refuge for Laotians to congregate during the war. Afterwards, we will continue our drive to town and take you to your hotel.
After breakfast, we will drive from town and start our tour of the three main sites of the Plain of Jars. You’ll encounter huge ancient stone vessels of unkown origin, scattered in about 20 locations. No one knows where the stone jars originated. The jars are known to be between 1,800 and 2,000 years old. After the plains, we will drive you to visit Wat Pare temple (the oldest temple in Laos) in the Muang Khoun district. We will visit old Xieng Khouang, once known as the royal capital city of the Phuan Kingdom. In the 16th century, it was described as a “large and beautiful city, whose numerous population was protected by a circle of deep ditches and by forts perched on the surrounding hills… the opulence of its sixty-two pagodas and their sparkling stupas whose sides were covered in treasure, attracted reknown from far and wide”. Though the town was heavily bombed during for 4 years (1967 – 1970), a few french buildings remain along the Wat Pare vat, which itself was destroyed. Worth a short hike to the outskirts is the ancient stupa of Wat That Foun and the nearby That Chomphet, both overlooking the town. The shrine was built to evoke Buddhist values to inspire truth and charity. At the core of Buddhism is the belief that only merit-making will bring happiness, progress, and prosperity. We will return to Phonsavanh city for the evening.
An early morning rise at 6:30am is necessary for us to take you to visit the fascinating morning market where local villagers come to sell assorted vegetables and wild animals. After the market tour, we will return to the hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will return you to either Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, or Vientiane.