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Vientiane's Buddha Park surreal and fanciful

By: Anthony Galloway Posted: December-30-2010 in
The view from atop the great pumpkin - click for more photos
Anthony Galloway

Buddha Park, (the park is not a temple) also known as Xieng Khuan (meaning Spirit City), is a surreal and fanciful sculpture garden full of Hindu and Buddhist statues located about 24km (15 miles) out of town heading south along the river. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues.

The park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat. Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat was a priest-shaman who integrated Hinduism and Buddhism and later fled from Laos to Thailand after the revolution in 1975.

Buddha Park is a bizarre place. Although the statues look much older, they are made of concrete and seem to resemble ancient stone carvings...making the whole area looking like a remnant of an ancient Lao temple or courtyard.

There are sculptures of humans, gods, animals, and demons. One notable sculpture resembles a giant pumpkin. It has three storeys representing three levels - Hell, Earth and Heaven. Visitors can enter through an opening which is a mouth of a 10-foot-tall demon head (3.0m) and climb staircases from hell to heaven. Each storey contains sculptures depicting the level. At the top, there is a vantage point from where the entire park is visible. Another sculpture, an enormous 40-metre-long reclining Buddha, is also a park attraction.

Admission to the Buddha Park is 5,000 Kip. There's another 2,000 Kip fee for a camera.

You can get to the Buddha Park by tuk-tuk. Most of the travel agencies or the local transports around town can take you there and back or, alternatively, take the #14 bus (route numbers are in the front window) from the station outside the Morning Market in Vientiane, a pleasant ride a little past the Friendship bridge.

Source: Wiki - Buddah park


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