Phonsavan: General information
Phonsavan (Phonsavan, Phonsavan, and also Muang Pek Xieng Khouang) is a city in Laos, a popular tourist destination. Located in Northern Laos close to the border with Vietnam, at an altitude of 1,100 meters (Luang Prabang on the map of Laos). Phonsavan is a very small town (population of about 35 thousand people), although it is the capital of the province Senkung (Xieng Khouang). The city is very young, was founded in 1975 to replace the completely destroyed during the war, the provincial capital city of Xieng Khouang.
Among tourists, Phonsavan is known primarily for the fact that but is in the center of the "plain of jars". If not for this fact, the city is unlikely to attract any tourist. Places around the city are also witnessing the so-called "Secret war" in Laos, held in the period from 1960 to 1973, and it is like another attraction of the city. The city and its surrounding area also known as the place of residence of many traditional tribes. There are several natural attractions: lake, waterfalls, hot springs and caves.
In the city there are a dozen other hotels, cafés and restaurants. No entertainment here.
Weather, seasons in Phonsavan
Weather in Phonsavan year-round warm, however due to the fact that the city is at an altitude of 1100 metres, it is cooler and more comfortable than in other cities of Laos.
The rainy season takes place in Phonsavan from April to September. It is a very rainy time and it is better to avoid visiting during this period.
The dry season from October to March is the best time to visit.
Tourist seasons in Phonsavan months*
* best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit
Current weather in Muang phônsavan the forecast for the near future:
How to get to Phonsavan
First of all, it should be noted that the various schedules and reservation systems of the city can continue to meet under his second name of Xieng Khouang or Xiengkhouang. To get to the city only by plane or bus.
On the plane to Phonsavan
Near Phonsavan airport Xiang Khouang Airport (airport code to XKH search). As of December 2012 in the airport are run by the airline Lao Airlines has daily flights from Vientiane. The flight from Vientiane is 13:40 arrival 14:10, return flight at 14:40.
During the low season (may-September) number of flights can be reduced to 4 a week.
Buy tickets from Vientiane and other cities with connecting flights to Phonsavan can help with a search form:
Minimum prices for flights from Moscow to Luang Prabang:
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Minimum prices on flights from Russia to Luang Prabang:
The bus to Phonsavan
Best and cheapest option to get to Phonsavan is the bus. However, you should be prepared for a long and uncomfortable journeys on local buses. Despite the short distances between cities, by bus can take considerable time as it passes through winding mountain roads. All buses, except the buses from Vientiane leave the Phonsavan and out early in the morning.
The main bus station is located in the Western part of the city (see map of Phonsavan). There is another new bus station, which serves only flights to Paksan (Paksan), and a bus station vans, where you can go to Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.
A tentative schedule and directions of movement:
- From Luang Prabang. From Luang Prabang to Phonsavan and back daily bus from the Northern bus station of Luang Prabang. To buy tickets for it available at the tourist Agency on the street for 120 million Kip (Laos money) or 95 thousand at the station. Departs at 8:30, journey time 8 hours.
- From Vientiane. Daily recovering several buses in 06:30, 07:30, 09:30, 16:00, 18:40, 20:00. Journey time is 10 hours and cost 110 thousand bales.
- From Samoa (Sam Neua). Departs at 08:00, 10 hours and cost 80 thousand bales.
- From Vang Vieng (Vang Vieng). Departs at 8:00, 6 hours, price 110 thousand bales.
- From Vinh (Vinh, Vietnam). There is a bus service with the Vietnamese city of Vinh, which, in turn, is accessible from other cities of Vietnam by train or bus. This bus service is not regular and varies from season to season: sometimes the buses leave daily, sometimes four times a week (from Vinh on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday; from Phonsavan on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday). From Vinh and Phonsavan these buses depart at the same time early in the morning (in 2017 at 06:00). The cost is $ 18-20.
When you enter Laos at the border crossing you can obtain a visa on arrival.
- From Hanoi. There is irregular seasonal bus from Hanoi to Phonsavan. Costs about $ 50 dispatched on Mondays.
Schedule information collected from different sources at different times and can vary considerably, so it should be taken as a guide only.
How to navigate in Phonsavan
For travel in Phonsavan transport is not required. The town is quite small, and all of it can be explored on foot. Even from the airport or bus station to the city centre no problem to walk with light Luggage. If there is a need to move around the city use a tuk-tuk 1-1. 5 dollar per trip.
For trips outside the city you can rent a transport or hire a vehicle with driver. The city has several rental offices where you can rent a bike (20 thousand bales per day), motorcycle (100 million Kip), and travel agencies, even car with driver (500 thousand bales).
Things to see, what to do in Phonsavan
In Phonsavan to see and do almost nothing, at least not yet. There is not even any interesting temples, as the city is quite new (built in 1975). From city there are cafes, restaurants, and local exotic markets.
Outside the city visit in the first place, the plain of jars, place-evidence of the "Secret war", traditional villages and natural attractions.
Even if you decide to visit the attractions on their own on a rented vehicle, it is better to hire a for the travel of the guide (it will cost about the same as renting a bike). Without a guide to visit the sights outside the city will be very difficult because the maps are almost there, the population absolutely does not speak English, and almost no signs
Valley of the pitchers
Plain of jars is one of the most famous attractions of Laos. Currently, UNESCO is considering to take this place under protection.
Valley of the pitchers is a huge field with a huge stone jars in age from 2500 to 3000 years. With these pitchers involves a lot of mysteries, and yet the answer is much less than questions. The jugs are made from stone that is not found in this location, ie they are brought from somewhere. It is unclear how it was possible to make such huge jugs (most of them large 3.5 metre) in such large numbers (there are thousands). Well, it is still unclear the purpose of these jugs. According to different versions, they were used for cooking, for storage of rice for cremation and burial.
During the civil war (Secret war) in place of active bombardment, many of the jars were damaged. In the fields still left many unexploded shells and constantly works to clean up the fields from them. For this reason, access to tourists are only open certain sites, but even they are not encouraged to stray off the marked trails. The most popular are sites 1, 2 and 3.
Seek to visit all the sites, if you have limited time and finances, do not have to understand the scale, it is enough to visit one.
🚶 How to get: visit the plain of jars yourself (for leased vehicles) or buying a guided tour in one of the travel agencies in town. The cost of the tour with a visit to all three sites is on average 150 thousand bales. per person for group tour. However, you should be ready to fork out and pay for the whole tour is about 500 thousand bales, since the full group is offered here is rare.
To the first landing can be reached by bike if you can manage 15 miles there and back.
💵 Entrance fee / ticket price: the entrance to each platform is worth 10 thousand bales.
Around Phonsavan are several traditional villages. It's not the places that used to see most of the tourists. These villages are not tourist attractions, where tourists once the threshold is met by souvenir sellers, but for photography you have to pay. Yet it is very real, not spoiled by tourist influence places that are very interesting to visit. But to do it better with a local guide. In an excursion to the valley jars of your choice can be included in the visit of some villages.
Evidence of the "Secret war"
During the civil war between 1960 and 1973 in these places was very intense battles. As a result, even the former provincial capital city Senkung (Xieng Khouang) were completely erased from the earth. Now carry tourists to different attractions that testify about those fights. This bomb craters in the fields; the cave where he was hiding refugees; the remains of an old Soviet tank. I should say that it sights on the fan, so as to see almost everything.
Hot spring Nam Horn (also Baw Baw Nyai and Yai)
This place is situated in 70 kilometers to the East of the city on highway No. 7 near the town of Muang Kham. Really source there are two and they are called Baw Baw Nyai and Yai. They are close by. But dip them in it, they are not equipped for this, one needs only to look at them, and not a particularly great spectacle. But there is a possibility to stay in one of the two hotels where you can take a hot bath from the source.
Hotels in Phonsavan
Hotels in Phonsavan abound. To date, there is a clear oversupply of hotels and the lack of tourists in these parts, so even in the high season here you can find a hotel for the incredibly modest sum of $ 10. Book in advance does not make much sense. On arrival in the city on the bus or in the airport you will be greeted with suggestions to increase and move into one of the hotels. It makes sense to settle in the cheapest hotel, but a little more expensive, the level of the hotel will be much higher.
If you decide to look for a hotel yourself, then most of the hotels located along the town's main street Saisana Road which is also highway 7. A number of hotels located outside of the city.
Find and book accommodation in Phonsavan you can on these sites or through a search form from Agoda:
- Search hotels in Phonsavan for Agoda.com
- Search hotels in Phonsavan for Booking.com
- Looking for accommodation in Phonsavan on Airbnb and get a bonus of 2100 rubles for first booking