The Plain of Jars

Phonsavan Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 28 › view all entries
Me and a big jar!
We got a bus from Vientiane to Phonsavan, skipping over Vang Vieng in the process; it sounded like a bit too much of a backpacker hangout for us, and we only had limited time in Laos.

The bus journey to Phonsavan was long and hot. We'd paid for an air-conditioned bus, and whilst there was air-conditioning fitted, the failure to turn it on rather detracted from the benefit it might have given. I was already feeling not too great in a way that necessitated frequent toilet visits, so 10 hours on a hot bus on a windy road was not exactly what I needed at the time. The experience was further enhanced by having Thai pop videos playing at full volume on the bus's TV for most of the journey.
Keeps it interesting!


We did finally get to Phonsavan, and found a cheap place to stay in the centre of town. The part of Phonsavan where we stayed had the feel of a service town in the middle of nowhere; all stretched out along a long straight dusty road. In fact when we went on our tour of the Plain of Jars we were driven through other parts of town which had a different character and were much smarter, but that was the only time we saw them.

The main (only) reason for going to Phonsavan was to visit the Plain of Jars: several hillside sites around the town covered in enormous stone jars, believed to be burial jars, although little is known about their history. We duly booked ourselves on a tour, ignoring the pleas of the man from our guesthouse and booking with a cheaper company across the road. He kept asking us to "think of the quality", but we were quite happy to have a tour guide who didn't spend the whole day talking; we much prefer to just go and have a look round places.
Having said that, we did also have an hour sitting at the roadside when our minibus broke down, which might not have happened if we'd paid the extra few dollars! In the end we had a very good day, though.

We were planning to leave for Luang Prabang on the public bus, but, in one of our more successful haggling episodes of our entire year away, we managed to get a minibus transfer for the same price. The reason we got the price so low is because for many reasons we preferred the idea of the publi bus, mainly because you get less travel sick on them on twisty mountain roads. By continually saying "no, we'd rather go on the public bus" the price kept coming down, until we decided it was maybe worth it. It still left us feeling a little woozy at times, and the Lao lady who we picked up for part of the journey spent most of it being sick out of the window (so it's not just us foreigners at least).
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Me and a big jar!
Me and a big jar!
Keeps it interesting!
Keeps it interesting!
Abandoned Russian tank - one of th…
Abandoned Russian tank - one of t…
The main street in Phonsavan
The main street in Phonsavan
Military hardware in the lobby at …
Military hardware in the lobby at…
Heading to Luang Prabang
Heading to Luang Prabang
The road north to Luang Prabang
The road north to Luang Prabang
Phonsavan
photo by: droonsta