Phonsavan Laos


Phonsavan Laos is the provincial capital of Xieng Khouang Province. It was built in the late 1970s and replaced the old Xieng Khouang which had been destroyed during the Second Indochina War. It is in the centre of the Plain of Jars and has a pleasant climate all year around, although it can become chilly on winter nights due to its elevation of 1,100 m. The long winding main street of Phonsavan looks like the setting of a David Lynch-inspired spaghetti western minus the tumbleweeds. As soon as you leave town the countryside is dominated by green hills and pine forests. Villages consist of colourful wooden houses. Ranching is the primary occupation. You will see more than one Hmong cowboy with brown and violet cowboy hats. During Hmong New Year there are even bullfights in Phonsavan.

Phonsavan Laos

Phonsavan Laos

Phonsavan Laos

The best-known tourist attraction is the nearby Plain of Jars, which is to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status. The main economic activities in Phonsavan are governmental administration, mining companies from China and Australia, tourism and the work of NGOs clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Phonsavan is home to various ethnic groups, such as the Phuan, whose ancestors once founded the kingdom of the same name; the Hmong, whose New Year’s celebrations in Xieng Khouang are famous throughout Laos; the Khmu, and the Tai Dam. There is also a minority of Laotian Chinese and Vietnamese, as well as some international workers and missionaries from Korea and Western countries. Typical local products are natural dyes and textiles, each with an individual pattern depending on the ethnic group, basketry, mulberry paper umbrellas, spoons made from war scrap or embroidery.

Phonsavan Laos

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