Tuesday, March 8th (Phonsavan Day 1)

  • It was a full on cultural exploration day for us.
  • I started the day with a quick run around the neighborhood, then we spent the early morning hours catching up with friends and family while eating complimentary bananas.
  • We stopped by Cranky-T cafe for a cappuccino treat (something we haven’t had in nearly 6 months) before starting our motorbike journey to The Plain of Jars.
  • The Plain of Jars is a collection of 160 megalithic sites, the first 3 of which are the most commonly visited by foreigners and the safest in terms of unexploded ordnance clearance.
  • The sites consist of thousands of massive stone jars strewn across the land, sitting at odd angles and in every state of disrepair.  Their use and transportation is a major mystery of Asia.  
  • It is believed that many were used in funeral preparations and for brewing alcohol.  The land is also strategically important to the region, evidence of which can be seen in the bomb craters, trenches, bullet holes, and blast debris all around the Jars.
  • After exploring the 3 sites thoroughly, we turned our attention to the old capital of the province: Muang Khoun.
  • Here we explored That Foun and That Chom Phet, two giant stupas that have been turned wild by jungle overgrowth.
  • Next was Wat Phia Wat, a relic from The Secret War (Vietnam War).  It used to be a temple complex but everything was destroyed by bombs, except for a lone seated Buddha statue.  
  • The poor guy bears the scars of war with a shattered cheek and crumbling left arm, but he is especially reveared due to his staying power.
  • Oddly, the grounds around the statue had been turned into a small-scale carnival with betting games and target shooting games.  Once we saw the bottle cap guns we couldn’t resist and bought 10 shots to split between us, winning a couple energy drinks and a stuffed animal.
  • By this time we were cultured out and road the 35 km back to Phonsavan as quickly as possible.
  • We went to dinner at “Craters” restaurant but we were still hungry afterwards so we hit our favourite generic local restaurant on the corner of our block.
  • For dessert we paid a visit to a bakery and went crazy on the doughnut selection.
  • We returned to Kong Keo Guesthouse and spent the rest of the night relaxing before heading to bed.
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