One of the cultural and historical highlights of visiting Lao is to go to Phonsavan and see the Plain of Jars. Sadly, most visitors to Lao miss this as it's somewhat out of the way from the other more common and bigger stops on the the Lao travel path.
The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. Scattered in the landscape of the Xieng Khouang plateau Xieng Khouang, Lao PDR are thousands of megalithic jars. These stone jars appear in clusters, ranging from a single or a few to several hundred jars at lower foothills surrounding the central plain and upland valleys.
The Xieng Khouang Plateau is located at the northern end of the Annamese Cordillera, the principal mountain range of Indochina. Initial research of the Plain of Jars in the early 1930s suggested that the stone jars are associated with prehistoric burial practices. Excavation by Lao and Japanese archaeologists in the intervening years has supported this interpretation with the discovery of human remains, burial goods and ceramics around the stone jars. The Plain of Jars is dated to the Iron Age (500 BCE to 500 CE) and is one of the most fascinating and important sites for studying Southeast Asian prehistory. (from wikipedia)
I was fortunate in that when I visited the sites the sky was clear. The mornings and evening of my time in Phonsavan were full of grey skies and tons of rain. The drive to sites 2 and 3 were full of bumps and more bumps as well as some roads washed out from the rain or just mud. Needless to say I was not in the best of moods because of this and my bum had still hurt from the previous days travels on off-roads. So while the Plain of Jars was something to behold, it was somewhat lost on me as I was too grumpy and in pain to really care about much else. I remember telling myself to get over being grumpy, but that didn't help much. I was somewhat reminded of visiting the Dolmens in Korea with Mr Kim. Although these sites were impressive in one way or another, it sort of left one in a sense of wonder but also in a state of wanting more. All that said, I am glad I got the chance to visit the sites.