The Plain of Jars, situated on the Muong Phuon Plateau in the Xieng Khuang province of Laos, stands as a significant prehistoric site in Southeast Asia. This captivating destination has intrigued archaeologists from Laos and around the world due to the numerous tales surrounding it and the fact that its origin is still a mystery.
Scattered across the province, the Plain of Jars is home to approximately 2,000 jars that date back to the Iron Age, spanning from 500 BCE to 500 CE, with some potentially dating as late as 800 CE. However, due to the presence of unexploded bombs, mines, and ammunition, not all jar sites have been fully accessible.
From a distance, the Plain of Jars resembles a chessboard, with the jars serving as intriguing and plump chess pieces. As visitors approach, they are greeted by a fascinating array of jars, seemingly scattered without a fixed pattern. Some jars rise prominently from the ground, while others are partially submerged. The jars exhibit various shapes, including knots, straight mouths, and squares, with sizes ranging up to an impressive height of 3 meters and weighing several tons.
In this ultimate guide, we invite you to embark on a captivating journey to the Plain of Jars Laos - a destination that promises to ignite your imagination and leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.
The Plain of Jars, situated on the Muong Phuon Plateau in the Xieng Khuang province of Laos
The Plain of Jars Laos UNESCO is located in the Xieng Khuang province of Laos, which is situated in northeastern Laos. More specifically, it is found on the Muong Phuon Plateau, a vast elevated area that spans the province. The main town serving as a gateway to the Plain of Jars is Phonsavan, which is located in close proximity to the archaeological site.
Visitors can easily reach the Plain of Jars sites, which are dispersed around the province after they arrive at Phonsavan. Most of the time, the locations are only a short drive from Phonsavan, enabling visitors to examine the intriguing stone jars and learn more about the ancient mysteries that have captivated both tourists and archaeologists.
The location of the Plain of Jars in the calm and alluring sceneries of the province of Xieng Khuang adds to its attraction and offers a unique and memorable destination for those seeking to uncover the secrets of this archaeological marvel.
The Plain Of Jars history is still a mystery, and it is also unclear what they were used for. However, they are believed to be approximately 1,500 to 2,000 years old.
According to Laotian legend, it is said that giants once inhabited the area and created stone jars to store rice wine. Another theory suggests that the jars served as storage containers for monsoon rainwater, providing for caravan travelers along their journeys.
Many archaeologists propose that the jars were used as burial urns. In 1930, French archaeologist Madeleine Colani conducted surveys in the area and concluded that the stone jars were associated with prehistoric burial practices after discovering a cave containing human remains, including burned bones and ash. Subsequent excavations by Laotian and Japanese archaeologists further supported this hypothesis, as they uncovered human remains, burial objects, and ceramics in proximity to the stone jars.
Even the materials used to create the jars remain a topic of debate. Some argue that they were made of limestone, while others suggest a mixture of laterite, marble, and other ancient materials that have been lost to time.
In conclusion, the quest to unravel the mysteries of the Plain of Jars continues. It is considered one of the most hazardous archaeological sites in the world. Despite the absence of a definitive conclusion, the numerous theories surrounding the stone jars have woven a tapestry of legends that entice visitors from all corners of the globe to come and uncover the secrets that lie within.
The Plain Of Jars history is still a mystery, and it is also unclear what they were used for
To reach the Plain of Jars, the most common starting point is the town of Phonsavan. It is well-connected by road and air, making it easily accessible for travelers. From there, you can hire a local guide or join a tour to explore the various jar sites. If you're coming to the Plain of Jars from Luang Prabang, you have the option of taking a scenic road trip or flying to Phonsavan for a quicker journey.
If you prefer a scenic road trip, buses are available from various cities in Laos, including Vientiane and Luang Prabang, to Phonsavan. The bus journey allows you to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Laos, but it is worth noting that it can be a long and bumpy ride, as the roads in some areas may be less developed.
If you are traveling from Vientiane, you have the choice of VIP or local buses. The journey typically takes around 10-12 hours. From Vang Vieng, the bus journey to Phonsavan takes approximately 7-8 hours.
Xieng Khouang Airport, located outside Phonsavan, offers non-stop flights to two major destinations in Laos: Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Laos Airlines and Laos Skyway are the main carriers operating at this airport, providing convenient air travel options for those looking to visit the Plain of Jars.
Hiring a private car or taxi gives you the flexibility to plan your own itinerary and make stops along the way. This option is particularly suitable for those traveling in a group or with specific preferences for comfort and convenience. It allows you to enjoy scenic landscapes at your own pace and provides door-to-door transportation.
An extraordinary archaeological wonder awaits those who seek adventure and intrigue—the Plain of Jars. This enigmatic site, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beckons visitors from around the globe to uncover its mysteries and immerse themselves in its rich history. With its vast collection of jars scattered across multiple sites, three main sites stand out as the most explored and frequented in this region.
Plain of Jars Site 1 is the most visited and well-known site among the various jar sites in the region. Located near Phonsavan, it offers a captivating glimpse into the ancient mysteries of the Plain of Jars.
At Site 1, visitors will encounter an impressive collection of large stone jars, including the largest jar (almost 10 tons of weight and about 3 meters high), a jar with a lid, engraved jars, and a sizable cave that is supposed to have once been an old crematorium.
While the purpose of the jars remains shrouded in mystery, visiting Site 1 allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural heritage of the region. As you walk among the jars, you can't help but wonder about the stories and rituals that these ancient stones bear witness to.
Plain of Jars Site 1 is the most visited and well-known site among the various jar sites in the region
Beyond Phonsavan lies Jar Site 2, although reaching this site can be challenging due to the absence of a well-established path. The route to Jar Site 2 is bumpy, unpaved, and often covered in dust, and during rainy periods, it can become muddy as well.
Plain of Jar Site 2 is divided by a road, and each side offers a distinct experience. On one side, visitors will find jars perched atop a small hill, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding plains. The jars here create a dramatic sight against the backdrop of the expansive landscape. On the other side of the road, jars are nestled within a small grove of trees, offering a more secluded and secretive ambiance.
Many of the jars at this site bear the marks of time and nature, with visible damage caused by the roots of nearby trees. Some jars have even been split in two due to their proximity to the forest neighbors.
Jar Site 2 is relatively less frequented by tourists, allowing visitors to feel a closer connection to these incredible historical landmarks. Moreover, the site provides a greener and more scenic perspective, with picturesque views of rice paddy fields and the plains stretching out below.
Plain of Jar Site 2 is divided by a road, and each side offers a distinct experience
Jar Site 3 shares similarities with Jar Site 2 as it is also surrounded by a small grove of trees. For that visiting Site 2, an easy 30-minute walk via Ban Xiengoy village will lead you to Plain of Jars Site 3. This walk between the sites offers a truly authentic experience, allowing you to witness farming activities and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance away from roads and houses.
At Jar Site 3, you'll notice that the jars exhibit a less uniform appearance compared to those at Site 1. They are predominantly rectangular in shape, adding a distinct element to the overall collection. Some of the jars at this site are remarkably tall, giving visitors the opportunity to peer inside and ponder their ancient secrets.
To ensure safety during the visit, it's crucial for visitors to carefully follow the small stone markers placed by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
In conclusion, the Plain of Jars in Laos is a captivating destination that offers a unique blend of history, mystery, and natural beauty. To ensure a smooth travel experience to Laos and visit the captivating Plain of Jars, it is recommended that travelers apply for a Laos eVisa in advance. The eVisa application process is convenient and can be done online through our official website: Global Visa Services.
From the intriguing stone jars to the surrounding cultural attractions, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is sure to leave visitors in awe. Don't miss the opportunity to witness this extraordinary destination that has captured the imagination of visitors from around the world.