Xieng Khouang is a province set in the northeast of Laos across a high flat plateau. For many years – up until 1975 – it was the middle of a battle zone. As a result of this, visitors are advised to stick with guides and approved trails in case of any unexploded bombs.
The area is known as the ‘plain of jars’ as hundreds of chunks of huge rock are scattered around on the plateau – and no-one knows why they are there.
The province houses a population of around 200,000 people. Many chose to live here because of the pleasant climate. As the plain is set at an elevation of 1200m it is never too hot or too cold in the various seasons, and also gets less rain during the rainy season.
This town is the Capital of Xieng Khouang province – but was only constructed during the 1970’s. It replaced the old Capital of Muang Khuon which was destroyed during the war. The town is a haven and very peaceful with the colouful wooden houses, livestock wandering around the town and the occasional Hmong cowboy!
Trekking and Hot Springs
As this area was a hotspot for bombing during the war – history buffs love to get out and have a look around the small hills and plantations, but as the plain is still covered with live unexploded ammunition you should always be escorted by an experienced guide who will keep you on the right track. There are many hot springs dotted around the plain also, your hotel or guide can show you how to get to and access them, and enjoy a bathe in the steaming fresh water.
This small town was used as a landing site for the Americans during the war, and was therefore mostly destroyed. It has been through a gradual re-building since and has retained its status as a small and quaint town, showcasing many of the qualities the area has to offer. There are still some remaining temples scattered around the town which visitors can view, as well as the War Ban Phong where monks still reside.
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