During my trip to Laos with Intrepid in 2008, I visited Xieng Khuan (“Spirit City”) or the “Buddha Park” at 25km southeast from Vientiane in Laos.
This sculpture park contains over 200 Hindu statues and Buddhist statues and is – even though a bit strange- definitely worth a visit.
Buddha Park Vientiane: An Unusual Visit to Xieng Khuan Laos
Xieng Khuan Buddha Park
Technically, the Budha Park is not a temple (or ‘wat’ in Lao), but sometimes it’s referred to as “Wat Xieng Khuan” as you can find various religious images in the area, including a massive 40-metre high reclining buddha image.
The park was founded in 1958 by priest-shaman-guru-monk Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat. As he studied multiple regions, you can find statues from both Hinduism as Buddhism in the park. After the revolution in 1975, he fled from Laos to Thailand where he built another sculpture park, Sala Keoku in Nong Khai. Both of the buddha parks are located right next to the Thai-Lao border, only a few kilometers apart from each other.
Take a TukTuk to the xieng khuan laos buddha park
The Statues at Vientiane Buddha Park
The statues in this laos buddha park are made of reinforced concrete and are all pretty much bizarre. Although the statues seem ancient, they aren’t. And they are also not very tough, as they are made with cement and steel frames. Quick to build, but much less durable than the traditional stone carvings. You can see that most of the sculptures are wearing and crumbling.
Walking through the park, you don’t really get an explanation for the statues, but they definitely make some great photos. If you get tired of looking at strange creatures with several arms and grotesque monsters, you can always go for a quiet picnic on the grass and come up with your own stories behind the characters depicted.
The Best Viewpoint
Get a good view from the top of the dome structure, you’ll have to enter through the demon’s mouth though!
Inside the main dome, believed to represent heaven and hell…
If you are in Laos for a while and deciding on things to do in Vientiane, making this day trip is definitely worth it, I’ve never seen anything like it! The park has a small restaurant at the end, which is a nice spot to sit with some Beer Lao and fried rice while overlooking the river, very relaxing!
After a day of climbing and taking photos, I was quite relaxed!
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00-16:30, 5000 kip admission, 3000 kip for your camera.
Location: The Buddha Park Laos can be found about 25KM outside Vientiane, past the Friendship Bridge
How to get there: Bus number 14 runs regularly from the central Khua Din Bus station, opposite the morning market. Tickets are 6000 kip each way. Or let a tuktuk drive you there! It takes about 2,5 hour return.
Disclaimer: I did the this Great Indochina Loop Tour with Intrepid in 2008, all at my own cost. Can highly recommend it!
Would you be interested in visiting the Buddha Park?