First thing we did was to look up the actual name of this Buddha Park on the internet. Because there wasn’t much information on this park except maybe the more common guide books. The 2 main names we found are Xieng Khouan (Buddha Park) and Xiang Kuang Buddha Park.
Don’t worry, because when you get to Vientiane Laos, you wont be confused as this park is one of a kind.
This attraction is about 24 km from Vientiane (We couldn’t tell exactly how far because we were panting at the first 15km). This Buddha Park is actually the size of 2 foot ball fields, filled with old and bizarre collection of stone Buddhist and Hindu figurines. These statues are scattered all around the park, and what most tourists do is to wander around the park admiring the statues. We were of course scratching our head to figure out what some of the figurines meant and doing. (We shall show you, so you can scratch with us)
This park was fashioned by unskilled workers and was created to spread their beliefs and to reveal to mankind their ideas about the universe.
We are a bunch of “smart asses” because we thought it would be great to ride a bicycle there. 24 kilometers? What is that….we have done better before!
Believe us when we say that, you need to be very fit to ride to the park. And you need to be able to stand the sun as Laos is really hot.
Alternative Transport: Bus 14 from Vientiane’s main station
We had to make a few pit stops to go to the toilet along the way. The only available toilets are small coffee shops and this petrol station. You needed to purchase something at the coffee shop if you were going to use their toilet.
The view along the way was really stunning and calming. The only thing that we got out of the whole bicycle trip was that, by riding to the park, we managed to see plenty of local activities and appreciate the natural surroundings. We passed the Thailand- Laos friendship bridge which was built-in the spirit of friendship and to promote trade and tourism between the two countries.
Did you know that in town, some travel agents charged up to 5 USD for a taxi to this bridge. There isn’t much to do here, and it is very dusty and dirty because of all the trailers and trucks carrying produce across the bridge. Come here only if you want to cross the bridge.
We also crossed the Laos Country Club, where the rich come to play golf.
The guy who came up with the idea to have a seafood restaurant built on stilts must have been a very creative person. This restaurant was of one of a kind here in Laos. Imagine dining on delicious Laos food amidst all the green and nature. (Ignore the plenty of cow shit on the ground though)
You can see plenty of these road side shops selling the same thing in Thailand. So after 2 hours of riding the bicycle, in the hot sun through stone, pebble and exhaust we finally arrive at the Buddha Park.
The park entrance was a little shaded and you could park your bicycles outside. But make sure you lock them.
Along they way, we must have seen like 20-30 other tourists sitting on a van or a public bus to the park and back. I could have sworn one of them were laughing at us!
In the entrance we were greeted by different stone statues. We will let these statues speak for themselves.
One happy family, with statues of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati and their sons Lord Ganesha (figure with elephant head) and Lord Murugan.
This scary mouth is actually an entrance to a huge pumpkin the size of about 3 stories high. This pumpkin was built to replicate the many layers of hell. The wind inside the cave was really cold and dark and the only light inside was from the tiny windows all around the pumpkin. By just sticking our head inside we could feel the shivers. I’m sorry but we did try to perk ourselves by gulping some left over beer Laos, but it just didn’t work. If you manage to go in all the way to the top, please do let us know.
Finally our verdict, is that this place is interesting and will only take you about 30 minutes of your time to explore the whole park. And it is definitely not worth it to cycle here. Because on the way back, we were exhausted and that was actually the end of the day for us. We had to cheat and bribe the tuk tuk driver to carry our bicycles to Vientiane. We paid around 6 USD for the tuk tuk.
Back to the hotel and slept the rest of the day. Advice is, take a bus or motorcycle.
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