This north eastern province of Laos sits on an elevated plateau giving it a pleasant climate all year round, and a landscape of rolling green hills, mountains and steep pine forests.

It’s capital, Phonsavan, typifies most of the province’s towns and villages conjuring up a resemblance to the American West frontier towns with their colourful wooden houses, wide through-fares and surrounding cattle ranches. However what this province is probably most famous for it is the ‘Plain of Jars’.

The Plain of Jars – a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a megalithic archaeological landscape said to be associated with prehistoric burial practices but of which little is known about the civilisation that created them. Separated into three main sites, some of have been damaged by bombing during the Vietnam War and by bandits, but remain one of the most important prehistorical sites in all South East Asia.

Given the diverse topography of the Xieng Khouang there is plenty opportunity to get adventurous and explore its cave systems, lakes, hot springs and waterfalls. Also if you’re here over New Year, you’ll be in for a treat as Hmong New Year boasts bullfighting, dancing, music and more to celebrate this ethnic group’s vivid culture and traditions.

What to do

  • Guided tours of the Plain of Jars
  • Tham Piu and Tham Xang Caves
  • Hot springs, waterfalls