Indochinese war sites

During the Second Indochina War, Xieng Khouang was the scene of extensive ground battles and intense aerial bombardment due to its strategic importance. The provinces of Houaphan and Xieng Khouang had been the stronghold of Pathet Lao forces and their Vietnamese allies.

The heavy aerial carpet bombardments to neutralize those forces or to drop off unused ordnances after returning from missions in Vietnam turned the Plain of Jars quite literally into the Plain of Scars and the most heavily bombarded areas per capita worldwide. In addition to bombs massive quantities of defoliants and herbicides were dropped.

Evidence of the intense fighting can be seen in the cratered landscape in in war relics such as bomb shells, tanks and military positions. The resourceful locals refashion war scrap into items for everyday use, e.g. spoons in Ban Napia village, vegetable planters, fences, tools, pumps and barbeque fireplaces.

The extent of the bombardment is in particular evident at Ban Khai, 36 km northeast of Phonsavanh and Jar sites 1 and 3; here the landscape is pockmarked with craters. Driving north along Route 7 plenty of creatively modified war scrap used in local architecture catches your eye. In Tajok, a Hmong village along Route 7 (30 km northeast of Phonsavanh), you can discover lots of bomb casings reused as barn pillars, fences and for other uses.