The Plain of Jars in central Laos is an unsolved archeological mystery.
Thousands of stone jars dot the grassy Xiangkhouang Plateau in Northeastern Laos. Left by an unknown civilization more than two millennia ago, the Plain of Jars has numerous theories surrounding its purposes and origin, but, as of yet, no definitive conclusion has been made.
The stone jars were cut from single pieces of granite or sandstone likely using iron tools sometime in the 5th century B.C. The jars range from 3 to 12 feet in height, yet lack any ornamentation. Markings or designs that would connect the thousands of cup-like carvings to any of the known Southeast Asian civilizations, or the Indian Kingdoms many of them were influenced by, are absent. Local legends speak victorious generals throwing massive parties for conquering armies here, while excavations of bone fragments, simple tools, and jewelry in the 1990s indicate it may have been a burial site, and the jars were used as some kind of funerary earn.
The Vietnam War took a heavy toll on the region. Massive quantities of bombs were dropped by U.S. war planes across the area, and the shockwaves from the blasts caused damage to several large sections of the Plain of Jars site. The Mines Action Group (MAG) is responsible clearing the unexploded ordinance left from the war. MAG’s offices are near the Plain of Jars, and are worth a visit to learn more about the important work they do in Xiangkhouang Province.
The dry season from November to May has the best weather for sightseeing in Laos. The temperatures are warmer between June and October, but the extra rainfall during the latter half of the year resuscitates the plateau’s rolling hills to a lush green.
The Plain of Jars is located near the town of Phonsavan in the Xiangkhouang Province of Laos. Our guests typically reach the area by a direct flight from Luang Prabang or Vientiane to the Phonsavan airport.
The intriguing lack of information that shrouds the Plain of Jars makes for an inviting excursion. It’s a must-see while enjoying a luxury tour of Laos.
Appropriate Attire :
Dress for warm weather in light clothing with a stout pair of shoes while exploring the Plain of Jars.