Houses With Bomb Stilts
In the countryside of Phonsavan, in the northern part of Laos, the inhabitants of a Hmong village have decided that they should get something positive from their terrible History. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, American bombs were raining on this region as they were leading their “Secret War“, and it still has an very big impact on the lives of those who live there today.
The bombs used were cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are made of a shell that opens in mid air, releasing hundreds of “bomblets” that get scattered around the countryside. The mined land becomes unusable. Farmers risk their life at every step and kids play with the bomblets they find and get killed.
Nowadays, great efforts have been made to remove most of the unexploded ordnance (UXO), but many areas remain dangerous. In the village we are visiting today, the inhabitants still come across some UXO from time to time, as well as the “shells” of the bombs.
The pragmatic people of this village found in these bomb remains the perfect way to make their buildings stronger! If wooden stilts end up rotting rapidly, metal bombs remain strong. I even saw half a bomb used as a pot to grow onions (third panorama)!
The “Bomb Village” is commonly visited from Phonsavan and should be part of your plans as you tour the Xieng Kuang region, as you learn more about this dark page of History.
Address: Route 7, 30 km / 19 miles north east of Phonsavan
GPS: 19°33’31.49″N, 103°25’0.31″E
Best way to go: Tour with your guesthouse in Phonsavan
Entrance: Free / included in the tour
Duration of visit: 20-30 mins
Best season: November to April. Altitude 1100-1200 m, climate is cooler than other parts of Laos.