Phonsavan is the capital city of Xiang Khouang and is home to different ethnic groups including the Khmu, Phuan, and Tai Dam. Located around 260 km from Luang Prabang and 350 km from Vientiane, the town is a popular place for most tourists coming to explore the mysterious Plain of Jars and enjoy beautiful natural landscapes.

Plain of Jars

Due to the destruction after the heavy bombing during the Second Indochina War, Phonsavan was built in the late 1970s’ to replace the ancient Xiang Khouang. The bad consequences of the war still strongly affect the area until the current time. Craters appear at many places in the region and unexploded ordinance causes the death of over 50 people every year. Therefore, traveling to Phonsavan, tourists are recommended not to travel to strange areas and are warned to walk on well-worn roads only.

Phonsavan 1

The most famous attraction in Phonsavan is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Plain of Jars where hundreds of stone-shaped jars aged around 2000 years are scattered on a vast area around the town. No one knows about their exact origins and construction process, but the most reasonable explanation is that they formed the funeral urns. Other interesting places worth exploring are the Tham Xang cave, Tham Piu Cave, Indochinese war sites, Tad Ka waterfall, Nong Tang lake, Baan Tajok village, and Pho Kod War Memorial. Additionally, tourists can join some exciting activities like visiting the SOS orphanage in Xiang Khouang, buying fresh food at a local market, learning woodcarving at Navang Craft Centre, purchasing souvenirs at Mulberry Silk Farm, and providing supports at the UXO Survivor Information Centre.

Phonsavan 2

The Xiang Khouang airport of Phonsavan operates domestic flights connecting Luang Prabang and Vientiane. If you wish to reach Xiang Khouang by private car, it is doable starting from Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Sam Neua, and Pakxan. To get around the town, you still can use a car, a bike, or tuk-tuk. Be aware that tuk-tuks are not allowed to take clients to the Plain of Jars.
Climate, the best time to visit
The climate of Phonsavan has 2 distinct seasons including the dry season from October to March and the wet season from April to September. The temperature of the region ranges from 18°C to 24°C. The best time to visit Phonsavan is the months from November to March with perfect weather for outdoor sightseeing. Due to the high altitude, traveling to this region from March to May is still doable as it is not hot as in lowland areas.