Day 05 Visit the Local Markets in Phonsavanh And Later Take an Excursion to the Plain of Jars (Sites l and ll) And Muang Khoun
After breakfast are your hotel, we will visit the lively, and open local markets in Phonsavanh.
After spending the morning visiting the local markets, we will continue to the famous Plain of Jars, a vast area extending around Phonsavanh from the south-west to the north-east. Mysterious and ancient, over 300 huge stone jars apparently carved out of solid rock are scattered around the plateau. The jars vary in size from 1 to 3.25 meters high and weigh up to six tons each. There are several different theories as to the purpose of the jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old. According to local legend, King Khun Chuang had them constructed in order to store wine for the celebration of his conquest of the province in the 6th century. Today's tour will focuses on SITE I and SITE II, out of the many sites so far discovered.
We will make a stop in Ban Na Pia, nicknamed the War Spoon Village after the locals begin melting down scrap metal left over from bombs detonated on Laotian soil during the Vietnam War. It is said that some 30% of bombs did not detonate and are still buried in the soil; which is why many of the local people have turned to finding scrap metal for a living instead of farming the soil because of the risk of detonating a 'sleeping bomb'.
Afterwards continue to Muang Khoun, an ancient capital and stronghold for the Xieng Khuang royal family which was destroyed during the Indochina War. The town was rebuilt after 1975 with rows of wooden Lao houses. There is a market area which is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.
Visit Wat Phia Wat, today, only the temple’s brick foundation and a few columns survive. The temple is said to have been constructed in 1322; since that time it’s faced numerous bouts of destruction. In the fourteenth century when the Chinese invaded, the temple was largely destroyed and the Buddha statue’s arm was severed. It was soon rebuilt. In 1953, Wat Phia Wat was again destroyed by the French during the first Indochina War. After being rebuilt for a second time, the temple was once more shattered, this time by American bombing raids during the Vietnam War. The enduring Buddha statue with the now-melancholy face (thanks to its missing eye and scarred right cheek and lip) is highly revered by worshippers. The years ahead should ensure the preservation of the Buddha through tourist revenue and we can only hope that it will be spared the ravages of war in the future. You will also get to visit That Foun and That Chomphet before returning to the hotel.
Overnight in Phonsavanh