Archive for UXO

Hintang Archaeological Landscape / Park

Posted in Landscapes, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2014 by Thim Kwai

Another mysterious ancient site like the enigmatic Plain of Jars lies in the very east of north Laos: it’s the megalithic menhirs of Hintang Archaeological Park. The park consists of 72 different sites in the jungle with alltogether around 1,500 menhirs – that’s upright standing, long-shaped, pillar-like stones, hewn of schist. Additionally there are huge stone discs placed on the ground. The discs serve as closing lids for the entrances to underground chambers. It’s supposed by archeologists that the site was an ancient burial place.

Map of Hintang Archeaological Landscape

Map of Hintang Archaeological Landscape / Park

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Hintang Archaeological Park / Landscape’. Read here the whole article on Hintang Archaeological Park / Landscape.

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Bombs on Laos

Posted in Countries, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by Thim Kwai

The American Vietnam War

The American Vietnam War (1964 – 1975) was the third biggest war in the 20th century. 3.000.000 million Vietnamese lost their lives during the war, while 75.000 GI’s American GI’s were killed. There was also a lot of unrest in America itself, for millions of Americans were mobilizing against this war, and further millions of people in other western countries. There are a lot of documentaries and movies about this war – Apocalypse Now and Rescue Dawn are just two examples.

Not many people know that the war did not only happen in Vietnam, but also in Cambodia and Laos. That is because the war against Vietnam’s two smaller neighbours has never officially been declared. But it caused more destruction there than in Vietnam itself. The consequence in Cambodia was the total breakdown of civil society and the four years lasting rule of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge terror regime, which committed a genocide against the Cambodian population, killing two of the eight million Cambodian people. Before the American intervention Cambodia was among the most peaceful countries in the world.

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The Secret War in Laos

The American Secret Service CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) infiltrated Laos already after the French Indochina War. The CIA initiated from 1960 on a secret war here with a huge impact on the Laotian people in long term. Military air bases were built, among them infamous Long Cheng and others as e.g. the one in Vang Vieng. The Secret War was one of the biggest CIA operations in history and it’s official target was, among others, the destruction of the Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail, who was leading through parts of the Laotian-Vietnamese border region in the jungle. The Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail was the supply line for the north-Vietnamese troops leading to south Vietnam. The Secret War also targeted the Laotian communist resistance movement ‘Pathet Lao’.

Although also the USA accepted Laos on the Genevaer conference of 1962 being a neutral country, President Kennedy ordered in the same year a grand operation there. The CIA built the huge air force base in Long Cheng / Laos, what was growing up quickly. Long Cheng, built inmiddle of the jungle somewhere northeast of Vientiane, became with 40.000 inhabitants the second biggest city in the country, after the capital. It was the largest airport in Southeast Asia at the time. The starting and landing of up to 400 bombers and air freighters per day made it for a time the most busy airport in the world – although it didn’t appear on any map, was never mentioned in the news and was even a secret kept against the US congress. This war, officially seen, didn’t exist. The CIA led it’s own war here.

For it’s shadow war the American Intelligence recruited a bizarre mixture of mercenaries, anit-communists, arms dealers, extrem right-wing adventurers, veterans of the pigbay invasion (Cuba), Laotian military and – drug dealers. They recruited also big parts of the Hmong people, a mountain people of the region, as soldiers in a secret guerilla armee. The Hmong lost thousands of people in the fights against Laotian communists and Vietcongs. Their war continued for several more decades after the Americans left the region, while they were now under attack of the Laotian army. Laos’ war against the Hmong is another dark chapter of the American Vietnam War. It’s another genozide and a direct result of the American intervention.

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Bombs on Laos’. Read here the whole article on Bombs on Laos.

Asienreisender is completely non-commercial. You’ll find no adds on the website and it’s not following any other purpose than reporting independently.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender

The Plain of Jars

Posted in Landscapes, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2014 by Thim Kwai

An Enigmatic Landscape

Avery peculiar sight is the Plain of Jars on the Xieng Khouang Plateau in north Laos. It’s a large landscape in the wider mountainous surroundings of Phonsavan town, covering an area of about 5,500 km2. There are now a total of 85 registered sites where each between one up to hundreds of huge megalithic stone urns are spread irregularly, without any pattern, over the countryside. The urns or jars are hewn out of solid rock. Few of them have a simple decoration, and only one single piece shows a human figure (the anthropomorphic disc, see below). The shape at the urn’s openings indicate that they had lids, and there are some few lids left. Their size varies considerably; the smallest have the size of an average dustbin, the biggest reach a height of 3 meters and weight up to 6,000kg. The Plain of Jars is one of the oldest archeological sites in Southeast Asia. And one of the most enigmatic.

Jars on the Plain of Jars by Asienreisender

A variety of some of the jars on the Plain of Jars. All images and photocomposition by Asienreisender

The Plain of Jars is situated on an average altitude of 1,200m above sea level. It’s therefore not so hot here as it is in lower places in Southeast Asia; in winter it can be pretty cool, also several degrees celsius below zero. The landscape, as it looks nowadays, is widely deforestated. That’s, in this case, not due to the rampant logging activities in Laos, but a long-term effect of the American chemical warfare in the Vietnam War. The agent orange didn’t wash completely out of the soil, because there is not as much rainfall here as it is usually in the sub-tropes.

The Plain of Jars is not a mass-tourist destination. It’s off the road between Vientiane – Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang and few tourists find their way to the site.

Since years there is a pending application to make the Plain of Jars a UNESCO World Heritage.

But, what is the truly strange site about?

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘The Plain of Jars’. Read here the whole article on The Plain of Jars.

Asienreisender is completely non-commercial. You’ll find no adds on the website and it’s not following any other purpose than reporting independently.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender