The Plain of Jars is a collection of huge enigmatic jar-shaped stones scattered across the landscape near the town of Phonsavan in the northeast of Laos. Arranged in clusters of between one and several hundred, the origins of the Plain of Jars is still unknown, although it’s thought that the site dates back to the Iron Age some 2000 years ago.
The jars vary in height and diameter but their shapes are all cylindrical with the bottom bases wider than the top. These mysterious stone urns are spread out across hundreds of square-kilometers and have been divided into sections, with sites 1, 2, and 3 forming the basis of most tours.
Various theories about how the jars came to be and what purpose they served (if any) have emerged over the years. However, one thing we know of is this area’s more recent history; because of its proximity to the Vietnamese border, the region was heavily bombed by the US during the Vietnam War. Some say it’s remarkable that so many of the jars survived at all.
Most parts of the Plain of Jars has been cleared of UXB, but visitors need to ensure they don’t stray from the designated paths. These are marked by red and white stones, and visitors should stay on the white side of these at all times.
The Plain of Jars is around a 15-minute drive from Phonsavan and most people visit with a tour guide/driver.