Explore ruins dating to the 14th century that crown the hills around the ancient Phuan Kingdom capital, Muang Khoun, which was levelled during the Indochina war. A 30-km drive southeast of Phonsavanh passes a stone wall with brick archways, leftovers of France’s colonial presence. The giant Buddha at Vat Piawat, first built in 1564, still sits erect overlooking Muang Khoun, though only the temple’s pillars and short wall sections remain. Once buried in the forest, the 450-year-old That Foun Stupa stands tall next to a road outside town, and though bombing raids most- ly destroyed Vat Si Phom, enough remains to envision its glory when constructed in 1390.
Location: From Phonsavanh, follow Route 10 southeast for about 30 km.