Xieng Khuang is north-eastern province in Laos, which border with Luang Prabang province to the northwest, Houaphan province to the northeast and Vietnam to the East. This place is most famous for its Plain of Jars and many stories and mysteries related to it. The province has a total population of around 200,000.
Because of the altitude (average 1,200m) in Xieng Khuang, the climate is not too hot in the cool season and not too wet in the rainy season. Consisting of elevated green mountains and luxuriant valleys, the beautiful landscape is somewhat marred by the bomb craters. The war debris and unexploded bombs that are spread across the central and eastern areas of the province are the deadly legacy of the Vietnam War.
Mulberries Organic Silk Farm
Mulberries Organic Silk Farm is established in the Phonsavan District of Xieng Khouang Province as a way to promote silk production. It not only helps families in surrounding areas generate income but also maintains the vanishing art of Laotian weaving.
During your visit, guides will give you more details on the mulberry trees, silkworm farming, cocoon unwinding, preparation of the silk threads, ikat technique (tie-dyeing of the threads) and silk weaving. You will be impressed by the dexterity of our artisans with silk threads.
There are wide range of beautiful plain silk scarves in a variety of rich colours, patterned throws and cushion covers and fabrics by the metre in gift shops. Moreover, some patterns and home furnishing fabrics can be ordered here.
To reach Mulberries Silk Farm in Xieng Khuang Province, you can travel by plane from Vientiane. Lao Airlines operates three flights a week from Vientiane to Xieng Khuang. There is also a bus service from Vientiane that takes about 10 hours. If you can’t travel to Xieng Khuang, there is a Mulberries shop in Vientiane selling the same products.
Plain of Jars
The Plain of Jars is considered the most distinctive and enigmatic of all Laos attractions. The large area around Phonsavan, the main city of Xieng Khuang Province is famous for stone jar. The mysterious jars carved from both sandstone and granite vary in size and shape from tiny size up to 3.5 metres high at the age of more than 2,000 years old. Until today the function of the jars is still disputed. While some people suppose that they were made to store rice wine, others believe that they were used for storing the dead.
There are only 3 areas around Phonsavanh are opened to tourists as they aren’t damaged by bombards and natural disasters. Site 1 is about 15km southwest of Phonsavan and has about 300 jars. Site 2 is about 25 km south of Phonsavan and contains about 90 jars spread over two hills. Site 3 is about 35km southeast of Phonsavan and contains about 150 jars. Visitors can hire taxi from Phonsavan to the jar sites or they can catch a local bus to Site 3 but not site 1 and 2 tour available.
Muang Khan is old capital of Phuan Kingdom and the capital of Xieng Khuang during French colonialism. Located 30 km southeast of Phonsavan, this town was once the Royal Capital and the centre of the Phuan Kingdom. There are a few French colonial buildings remaining in the town centre alongside Watt Is Phum. Although it was suffered from bombard and band it several times, there are some unique and worthy features in Muang Khan including Thai Dam animist tombs, Catholic head stones and Laos (Buddhist) tombs.
Moreover, visitors are advised to hike the ancient stupas tower over the city and the vistas surrounding the structures on the outskirt. Apart from the jars at the three main sites, they are built from granite and located just off an old dirt road near the village of Ban Phai. These days, some of the temples still remained such as War Ban Phong where monks still reside.
These two limestone caves hid hundreds of small Buddha figures from the Haw invasion a few centuries ago. Dimly lit with the help of the rigged electrical lights (switched on by the locals for a small donation) making the passageways that link one cave to another accessible. The caves persist deep into the hill side and are amazing.
That Foun (Old Xieng Khuang- Muang Khoun)
This Buddhist stupa or That Chomsi was built in 1576. It measures about 30 metres and. The Lanna inspired structure stands tall over the town and can be entered by a cavity left by the Chinese Ho marauders, over a century ago after they looted the stupa to seize valuable Buddha images enshrined within.
During a time when Buddhism was developing in Laos. it was erected to cover ashes of Lord Buddha that were brought from India. A day trip is highly recommended because there are few places to sleep within this area.
Ban Tajok village is a Hmong village along Route 7. The daily life of the locals remained peaceful after war. By taking a walk around, tourists can observe and discover bomb fences and herbs growing in bomb casings. A popular morning market of Hmong ethnic taken place from 4 a.m to 9 a.m every Sunday morning is also worth drop-by.
South of Phonosavan are two major war memorials set 1 km apart on separate hill tops. Both are set in the style of traditional Laos stupas (each containing the bones of the dead) although one is representative of the Vietnamese and the other the Laos lives lost.
Inscribed on the Lao monument is the slogan ‘The nation remembers your sacrifice’, erected in 1998 a nearby slab of granite has the names of all the soldiers lost inscribed on its surface. The Vietnamese war memorial has the inscription ‘Lao-Vietnamese solidarity and generosity forever’. Both memorials enjoy sprawling views of the countryside and are especially attractive at sunset.
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