The Plain of Jars
Archaelogy fans would love the megalithic landscape that is Laos’ Plain of Jars.
The Plain of Jars, located at the Xieng Khouang plateau, are composed of hundreds of stone jars in different sizes carved from sandstone and granite scattered throughout the landscape, the purpose of which is still unclear until today. The Plain of Jars dates back to the Iron Age and is one of Southeast Asia’s most important prehistoric sites.
The Plain of Jars is composed of around 90 sites located around Phonesavanh, the main town of the province of Xieng Khouang. The most popular sites for tourists are Sites 1, 2, and 3.
Opening Days and Hours
The Plain of Jars is open throughout the day, but since Laos is the most-bombed city in the world and an estimated 30% of dropped ammunitions remain unexploded and still deadly, visiting during the daytime and staying within identified paths between the sites are recommended.
Entry Fee and Bookings
Entrance to each of the Jar sites are:
- Jar Site 1: LAK 15,000 (USD 1.80) per person
- Jar Site 2: LAK 10,000 (USD 1.20) per person
- Jar Site 3: LAK 10,000 (USD 1.20) per person
- Parking for Site 1 costs LAK 2,000 (USD 0.24) on top of the entrance fee.
How to Get there
Tuktuks are not allowed to take tourists to the Jar sites, so you have to either book a tour or go on your own with a certified guide. All three jar sites are accessible via bike (costs LAK 20,000 or USD 2.40 per day), scooters or motorbikes (costs LAK 100,000 or USD 12.02 per day), or minivan (costs around LAK 400,000 to 670,000 or USD 50 to 80 per day).
- Backpackers/solo travelers
- Group of friends
- Families with older kids
Time to Spend
Allot one to two days for travel and tours to the accessible Jar sites and surrounding area.
Popularity and Best Time to Go
Temperatures are always high in Xieng Khouang, with the rainy season falling in the months of April to October, and the dry season in the months of November to February. The best time to visit is during the months of January to February, and October to December as these months enjoy nice weather and average temperature.
- MAG Information Centre
- Plain of Jars Information Centre
Most of the food places near the Jar sites are along Route 7, namely the local and tourist favorite Simmaly – which serves mostly local and Asian food, Nisha – which is known for its breakfast offering and poppadums, and several other bakeries. The town of Phonesavanh however, offers a number of restaurants that cater to different tastes and cuisines.
Safety and Fraud
Tourists are encouraged to stay within identified and safe paths and markers as Phonesavanh is one of the most heavily bombed areas, so there are live ordinances everywhere. At the same time, motorcycle accidents due to poor brakes and equipment have been reported, so ensure that your rented vehicle is in proper working condition before proceeding.
Accommodations in Phonesavanh are mostly composed of bed and breakfasts and guesthouses, with prices ranging from LAK 100,000 (USD 12) to LAK 225,000 (USD 27) per night.