I left Luang Prabang for Phonsavan a day after after my sister left Luang Prabang. After multiple options of where to head to I decided to stick to my original plans and got the 8hr daytime road trip to Phonsavan, arriving just in time for dinner. At lunch we stopped briefly in a transit town where I ended up chatting to Cecile from France, well, the French Reunion Island off Madagascar. She was to become my travelling partner and fellow conned merchant for the next day’s trip to the Plain of Jars.
Phonsavan is a pretty, well it’s fair to say, dead town. There’s on strip with guesthouses and a few less than outstanding restaurants. And it’s cold (at least it is in October, but not as cold as other places in Laos). We stayed in Phoukham Guesthouse which turned out to live up to it’s phonetic English sound (alberit slightly manipulated) – “F*ck’em”. We paid three times as much as the other two girls on our tour the next day, and he refused to take me to the town I really wanted to see (he wanted an extra $15 each for that, despite already paying $12 more than others). After some negogiating (pleading) I decided to bin visiting the town over giving him extra cash so left Phonsavan a tad disappointed as I never managed to see the town that has houses constructed of UXO (UnXploded Ordnance) stilts. About the most interesting thing about Phonsavan, but in a very sad way, is that it’s the home of the UK based MAG group that tries to find UXO in the area, which was the most bombed in recent wars. Their office only pointed me to the website when I asked about volunteering and how you went about it. They must be well funded though as they had a load of flash 4×4’s outside.
Oh yeh – the Plain of Jars…is it worth the trip? If I had known I probably wouldn’t have done it, but I did as it was on my way to Sam Neua / Vieng Xai and it broke up my journey. Our tour guide didn’t give us too much background, but that’s partially as their origin isn’t totally understood yet. I’m sure it’s of interest to many, but it is just a field with ancient rock jars on it, which are pretty weird in their own right.