The Plain of Jars and the scarred city
Phonsavan Travel Blog› entry 12 of 15 › view all entries
Our trip to Phonsavan was to visit the plain of jars site, where huge, mysterious stone jars are scattered in several groups on the high plains surrounding Phonsavan in northern Laos. These jars are very old, I mean really really old. Their age is commonly estimated at 2000 years but erosion of the stone suggests they may be much more ancient. The purpose of these jars remain mystery today, but our local guide told us that they were probably used as funeral urns, so the bigger one are for the richer or with higher social status, the smaller one are for the common or kids. But some people also suggested that these jars were used to make the Laolao whisky. I really enjoyed the site here, it was so green, and so breezy, it was very different from Luang Prabang, and less tourist too.
During the Vietnamese civil war this part of Laos was heavily damaged by both the North Vietnamese Army, who claimed they weren't there and the U.S. Air Force who claimed they weren't bombing them (like the bombs just fell from the sky accidentally). Well in fact it is also called the secret war as the official governments denied that this war existed. The denied it because the US and Vietnanese government had signed the agreement specifying the neutralisation of Laos. But seems like none of these 2 parties took the agreement seriously. The stated purpose of the bombing was to deter communism in northeast Laos, and to block Vietnamese use of the Ho Chi Minh trail in the southeast.
Later that day, we went to a office that showing us video on how these UXO killed so many innocents, which majority are children and farmers. For children, the bomblet looks like a toy to them and they play with it not knowing that it might explode. And children also go around to collect the bomb shell (metal) to sell it for money, but some of them are actually bomblets that haven't exploded. It also kills the farmers when the farmers plodded the field and hit these UXO covered in soil with their hoe.