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Ideal duration: 1-2 Days

Best Time: October - February Read More

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"Caves, Waterfalls and the Plain of Jars "

Phonsavan Tourism

Located in central Laos, Phonsavan is the capital of Xieng Khouang province. It is known for the fertile plateau lined with rolling hills, caves, waterfalls and series of archaeological sites consisting of the mysterious plain of jars. It is one of the recommended places for tourists visiting Laos to explore Phonsavan for its natural beauty and ancient history.

Phonsavan is a city located in Central Laos and is the capital of Xieng Khouang province. It is known for the fertile plateau lined with rolling hills, caves, waterfalls and series of archaeological sites consisting of the mysterious plain of jars.

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History & Significance

Xieng Khouang was the old name of Phonsavan, which was destroyed in the second IndoChina war. The new city of Phonsavan was built in the late 1970s. Hmong ethnic group constitute the majority of the local population. The other ethnic group is Phuan, who lived in the kingdom of the same name.

The unique New Year celebrations of these groups date to ancient times where large scale traditional performances would take place. Some of the occupations practised by these communities include basketry, weaving fabrics, making paper products from mulberry and local liquor, including Whiskey.

Places to Visit

Plain of Jars - The Plain of Jars is known for the megalithic or giant stone jars belonging to the Iron age over 2000 years ago. Thousands of massive stone jars of all shapes and sizes lie scattered, many of them still undiscovered amidst deep jungles. This site, discovered in 1930, is one of the most popular attractions in Phonsavan for tourists who come to explore these mysterious jars.

Tham Piu Cave - It is located about an hour away from Phonsavan, but can be visited as a day trip. It was one of the many caves in the Karst mountains that was the centre of refuge during the American and civil wars. It takes about 2 hours, and the best way to get there is by hiring a cab. The entrance fee is 5,000 LAK.

Tham Xang - Tham Xang is one of the caves used by the revolutionary fighters which houses a hospital, school and other buildings. The journey to both the caves involves passing through the beautiful green countryside of Laos.

Nong Tang Lake - Surrounded by limestone cliffs, Nong Tang is a large natural lake located about 50 km from Phonsavan city centre. It is popular among the locals for picnic and also a great source for fishing.

Tad Ka Waterfall - Located in Nong Het, Tad Ka is a lovely cascading waterfall surrounded by limestone karst mountains. It is one of the most popular day trip options from Phonsavan, which is also quite popular among the locals who picnic here during the weekends and holidays. The path to the waterfalls is not easy to find, and hence taking a guide is recommended.

Tad Lang Waterfall - Another beautiful waterfall located amidst deep jungles, Tad Lang is tiered and flows to the bottom of the valley, which can be hiked and is a popular picnic spot.


  • Phonsavan has limited accommodation options that get booked quickly during peak season. It is recommended to book your stay in advance.
  • The caves are not accessible after dark, so plan your trip during the daylight time. Also, there are no public toilets and food and drink options are limited.
  • If you plan to rent a bike to explore the Plain of Jars site on your own, make sure you have sufficient fuel as there are no stations on the road once you go out of Phonsavan town.
  • There are very few options for food and drinks near the plain of jar sites. So carry your food and water. Also, there are no public toilets.
  • It is strongly suggested to stay in the marked trails while visiting the sites. Venturing out of these paths can be dangerous as the places are still home to undiffused bombs dropped during the Vietnam war.
  • Carry sunscreen, umbrella or a hat as it can get scorching in the afternoon.
  • Also, it is recommended to wear good hiking shoes as it involves a lot of walking around.

Best Time to Visit Phonsavan

Commuting within Phonsavan

Phonsavan Photos


FAQs on Phonsavan

What is famous about Phonsavan?

A great combination of nature consisting of caves and waterfalls along with abundant historical sites make Phonsavan an excellent destination to travel in Laos.

What is not so good about Phonsavan?

The remote location of Phonsavan and the travel time might not favour those travelers short on time. And people who don't enjoy history or architecture much might find this boring.

Who should visit Phonsavan?

Phonsavan is ideal for all kinds of travelers, including solo travelers, couples and people traveling with kids. Tourists who enjoy the outdoors, history and nature, will love the city more.

What is the best time to visit Phonsavan?

The best time to visit the Phonsavan is between October to February, when the weather is not hot, and the humidity is manageable. It is excellent weather to be outdoors and explore the archaeological sites. From late February, summer sets in slowly with March to May being the hottest months. Monsoon begins in late July and lasts until September.
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What is the best way to reach Phonsavan?

There are regular buses from Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Vang Vieng to Phonsavan. It takes between 8 to10 hours, depending on the city of departure, and the prices of the buses are around 20 USD per person.

From Phonsavan, you can rent a day trip through your hotel or guesthouse to explore the attractions, which will cost about 25 to 35 USD per person, which will cover your transport as well as a guided tour.

You can also rent a taxi or hire a motorbike to explore the sites on your own. The price varies between 30 to 50 USD for a car per person, and a bike on rent costs about 15 USD per day.

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What are the places near Phonsavan?

The top places near to Phonsavan are Vientiane which is 175 km from Phonsavan, Luang prabang which is located 120 km from Phonsavan, Luang namtha which is located 87 km from Phonsavan, Udomxai which is located 177 km from Phonsavan, Hanoi which is located 325 km from Phonsavan

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