History and Purpose of Plain of Jars
The origin of jars has been still covered in mystery since the discovery in the 1930s. It is assumed that iron chisels are tools to manufacture the jars. Those who created these jars is certainly unknown. According to a local legend, a race of giants made them and considered as cups to drink rice wine. However, another story tells that a King built the jars to store rice wine for a military victory or keep water for dry seasons. On the other hand, some archeologists claimed that the jars were used as urns in burial rituals because burnt bones, teeth and human skeletons were found inside and around them. The jars are estimated about 2,000 years old. Perhaps, all jars originally had stone or wood lids marking the locations of graves. However, today, only a jar has a stone lid. Other lids with animal carvings such as monkeys, tigers, frogs were detected at a few different places.
Plain of Jars in Laos
One single jar with a stone lid
Highlights of Plain of Jars
Plain of Jars contains thousands of mysterious jars in various sizes and shapes. Some of them are up to 3m in height, several tons in weight. Here, there are at least 3,000 jars made of sandstone, granite or limestone. The area is mainly divided into three site. Among of them, Site 1, Thong Hai Hin located about 15km southwest of Phonsavan is the most popular for travellers. The reason is that it consists of the largest single jar, the largest number of jars and a decorated jar with a sculpted human figure. A cave in this area is a natural limestone formation and believed to have been a crematorium due to human remains here. Besides, there is a small shop providing drinks and snacks for visitors.
The jars at Site 1, Plain of Jars
The cave at Site 1, Plain of Jars
At site 2, most of the jars are broken and spread over on the tops of two small hills with big trees. Site 3 is 10km far from Site 2 and includes not only mysterious jars but also rolling hills, green fields and cattle. Moreover, tourists can enjoy a mean noodle soup at the small restaurant at the gate of site three.
Site 2, Plain of Jars
Site 3, Plain of Jars
How to Get to Plain of Jars
The easiest way is by air from Vientiane to Xieng Khouang airport of Phonsavan. Daily flights of Laos Airlines take about 30 minutes. From the centre of Phonsavan, visitors can hire a 3 wheeler converted motorbike with benches in the back, a minivan, a taxi or catch a local bus.
Opening Hours : daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Ticket Price : 10,000 Kips/person