Tour Circuits:

 

Southern Jar Route

Meet the People

Among the mysteries surrounding XiengKhouang’s 2,000-2,500 year old jars is who built them. Archaeologists believe the Bronze and Iron Age materials uncovered at jar sites originated from southeastern China, central Vietnam, And Thailand’s Korat Plateau, prompting theories that the province served as a prehistoric Southeast Asian trading crossroads.

The Thai Phuan wandered in from southern China during the 13th century, but it is unclear if the giant jars affected their deciosion to stay and establish the capital of the MuangPhuanPrncipality at present day Khoun Town. However their descendants still live among the jars, as do ethnic Hmong, Khmu, and Tai Dam. You can experience their lifestyle within a 30km stretch of road south of Phonsavanh.

 


Jar Site Warm-Up

Jar junkies can find relief just 8km south of Phonsavanh at Ban Na-O, a Tai Phuan and Khmu village. They recently constructed a simple wooden information center, handicraft shop, and refreshment stand at the start of the 500m trail to Jar Site 1, known as “Thong HaiHin”.

Photos and descriptions can’t come close to duplicating the experience of walking into a grassy field loaded with the prehistoric megalithic jars for the first time. Most people’s brains aren’t wired to comprehend a remote vacant lot with such an oddity. With no raw material in sight, where did these giant urns come from, and how did they get here?

Location: Follow Route 1D south for about 6km to the “Ban Na-O” sign, turn right onto a dirt road, and travel about 2km to the entrance to Jar Site 1.

 

Plain of Jars Visitor Centre

Jar Trek

Jar Sites 2 and 3 sit at the base of a forested mountain, and short, easy treks lead to both with a waterfall thrown into the mix.

A 500m path climbs past occasional bomb craters to a pair of shady knolls displaying 93 jars that appear thinner and more rectangular than those at Site 1. Many have been tipped over, acting as cover during Indochina War battles. The western hill holds a carved stone disk.

Access to Jar Site 3’s ancient urns (HaiHin Lat Kai) comes at Ban Xieng Di about 10km south of Ban Nakho. A path passes the village’s small Buddhist temple to the entrance and a noodle shop. A pleasant walk leads to the hilltop site’s 150-some jars and scenic views of the rice paddies and the plain below.

Location: Follow Route 1D south for about 6km to the “Ban Na-O” sign, turn right and travel about 14km to Ban Nakho and Jar Site 2. Travel another 1.5km south on the road and turn left at the “Tad Lang” Sign. Jar Site 3 is about 10km further down the road.