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Hmong New Year ’s Celebration

A Photo-Essay

Hmong New Year's Celebration - Phonsavanh, Laos

Hmong New Year’s Celebration – Phonsavanh, Laos

We arrived in Phonsavanh in the midst of the Hmong New Year’s celebration – to our great surprise!  This event seems to be widely unknown amongst Western visitors. On the first evening we missed the Bull Fights, so the next day we were determined to see the Festival on the edge of town. After a rough 12 kilometer drive, we reached what seemed to be a fair-ground, with various games going on, like throwing darts. Needless to say that serious karaoke singers were trying to out-do each other, a must at every social gathering in Laos. Again, no lack of food stalls serving cheap and delicious local food. Continue Reading →

UXO – The Aftermath Of America’s “Secret War”

UXOs or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO or Unexploded Ordnances, Phonsavanh, Laos

UXO stands for “UneXploded Ordnance”. Of the estimated 2 million tons of bombs, including 280 million cluster bombs dropped onto Laos between 1964 and 1973, about 30% did not explode! These have killed no less than 14.000 people in Laos in the last 30 years and crippled 44.000. The province of Xinuang Khoung, with its capital Phonsavanh, was especially targeted during the bombing raids. The USA suspected this northeastern province to be the hiding place of the communist Pathet Lao. Continue Reading →

Phonsavanh And The “Plain Of Jars”

Plaine of Jars, Site 3, Phonsavanh

Plaine of Jars, Site 3, Phonsavanh

Our favorite so far in Laos, because it is genuine… What a relief after the hyped-up Luang Prabang! Phonsavanh is a quiet little town with a tragic history that is evident at almost every corner. Apart from the mysterious jars scattered around at three different sites, it was the more recent history that captivated us: Xinuang Khoung Province was among those areas in Laos most heavily bombed during the “Secret War” between 1964 and 1973. An incredible 1.36 millions tons of bombs were dropped on the northeast and southeast of the country, making it the most heavily bombed place on this planet. A war on a purely civilian population that officially never happened! Continue Reading →