After the destruction of the old Xieng Khouang (nowadays Muang Khoun) during the Second Indochina War, Phonsavanh was built in the late 1970s to replace the dismantled city. The area was one of the most heavily bombed in the country, being Laos the most heavily bombed country in the world. Nowadays the locals use bomb casings and other remains to resourcefully build fences, parts of their houses, fireplaces and tools.
The countryside surrounding Phonsavanh is a beautiful hilly area that during and after the wet season is covered with green grass and pine trees, very different from the rest of Laos. Perhaps what makes Phonsavan popular nowadays in the fascinating Plain of Jars, an area in the centre of Xieng Khuang littered with large ancient stone vessels believed to be ancient funerary urns. The origin of these giant jars is unclear and the mystery has sparkled international debate.
Phonsavan is experiencing a bit of tourism development and its infrastructure is a work in progress. Although the Plain of Jars remains one of the main attractions, Phonsavan serves as a base to explore other fascinating areas with hot springs, waterfalls, lakes, caves, cliffs and underground rivers.