Ponsavan is a small town south of Luang Prabang, not far from which is the Valley of Jars, one of the mysterious places of antiquity. Thousands of huge stone jugs are scattered over a large area, whose origin and purpose have not yet been unraveled. The size of the jars reaches 3 meters, the weight is up to 6 tons, and the age is presumably from 1500 to 2000 years. Anthropologists and historians have suggested that the jars were used either as funerary urns or to store water. According to one Lao legend, giants lived in this valley, and according to another, the Lao king, having defeated his enemies, ordered to make jugs for making a large amount of rice wine. The platforms with jugs are elongated along one line, which also suggests the presence of an ancient trade route, which was served by platforms with jugs. The valley is only partially open to tourists, as this part of Laos was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War.
Pakse is located in the southern part of the country and is the third largest city in Laos and the capital of Champassak province. The city has preserved several colonial buildings, mostly of the Sino-French style, as well as a provincial museum with a collection of artifacts from the pre-Angkor period. Most often, Pakse is used by tourists as a starting point for other excursions in the south of Laos, for example, to the Bolaven Plateau, to the ruins of the Khmer temple of Phu Champasak, to Sipandon
The Bolaven Plateau is an hour’s drive east of Pakse at an altitude of about 1200 m above sea level, and is famous for its untouched nature, beautiful waterfalls, ethnic minority villages, tea and coffee plantations, ethnic villages. While this is a little-known place for a wide range of tourists, and therefore we have a special charm. The climate here is pleasant and cool even in summer. The “pearl” of the plateau is the Fan waterfall, which consists of two streams falling from a height of 130 meters.
Champassak is 30 km away. south of Pakse and is famous for the ruins of the Wat Phu Champassak temple complex, which is under the protection of UNESCO. It was here that the first capital of the Khmer Empire, Chenla, arose long before the advent of the Angkor Empire. The first buildings on the territory of the complex date back to the 5th century, but the surviving structures were built in the 11th-13th centuries. Until the 16th century, Wat Phu Champassak was the religious center of Hinduism, and later became a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
SIPADON: (“Four thousand islands”)
Sipadong is the southernmost part of Laos, the place where the Mekong reaches its maximum width, overflowing into several branches and forming over 4 thousand islands and amazing waterfalls. The size and number of islands depends on the season: during the rainy season, some islands go under water, and during the dry season, the water level in the Mekong drops, and thousands more small islands appear on the surface. On the islands, less subject to flooding, there are settlements of local residents. Small boats provide communication between the islands and the mainland several times a day. During the time of Indochina, there was a colonial French resort on these islands, and until now, among the dwellings of local residents, there are dilapidated, unoccupied stone French villas, swallowed up by the jungle. Sipadon is a stunningly picturesque place – it gives shelter to all travelers who want to stay for some time away from civilization and admire the breathtaking landscapes. The main entertainment here is relaxing in a hammock, watching amazing sunsets, cycling around the islands, as well as boat trips, during which there is a chance to see unique freshwater dolphins living in the waters of the Mekong.
Caves: Pak U Caves are 25 km away. north of Luang Prabang up the Mekong River. To get to this cave, you need to make an hour trip along the river, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and small villages along the way. In the caves there is a whole complex of statues and bas-reliefs of the Buddha, belonging to different times, styles and gathering here for centuries. Near the caves is the village of Bang San Hai, famous for the tradition of whiskey production.
Waterfall: Kuang Si Waterfall is located 32 km. south of Luang Prabang in the national park of the same name. This beautiful waterfall consists of a main cascade with a height of 54 m and a series of smaller cascades. Between the cascades there are several pools with water of a rich turquoise hue. Water flows through limestone rocks and layers of soil containing limestone, which gives such an unusual, bright and very beautiful color. The full flow of the waterfall is highly dependent on the time of year, since a significant part of the water that feeds the waterfall is rain. It is at its most full-flowing from August to November. The surrounding jungle with lush vegetation creates a truly fabulous landscape.