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Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane Buddha Park

The strange but unique Buddha Park in Vientiane has been one of the most interesting places I have visited in my many years of travelling.

Trust me when I say strange and unique, but after you see the photos of this park, you too would want to make a visit here one day.

Well, when I travel, I not only want to see commercial places but often, I love to explore the unique off-the-beaten-path places in any country. And over here in Vientiane, this is one of them.

Buddha Park Vientiane

This quirky but meaningful park was built in 1958 and features various Buddha sculptures, characters of Hindu Lore, Gods, Animals, and even Demons.

Buddha Park is also located along the great Mekong River's shores, which is out of the main Vientiane city area. Foreigners and even locals would visit this wonderful place which is locally known as Xieng Khuan.

Fortunately for me, we rented a motorcycle to make our exciting trip there. It was one of our best adventures while travelling in Laos.

Riding over 25 kilometres and getting lost along the way was really adventurous and exciting for the two of us.

We even met some other foreigners who were also on rented bikes during our journey and were equally lost, so we ended up going in a small convoy at the last few kilometres.

In my opinion, I find that Laos overall is a safe and beautiful place, and the people are friendly and helpful.

Laos Buddha Park
Interesting statues at Buddha Park Laos.
On reaching Buddha Park after about 30 minutes of motorbike riding and asking for directions, we found a bike parking just outside the park.

After parking, there is a ticket counter where you pay 2,000 KIP to enter the park, and once inside, you will be amazed by the statues and sculptures in the park. I spent a good 3 hours just relaxing and enjoying the moment with my partner Lilian.

Strange Pumpkin.

One of the first things you will see in the park is this huge pumpkin structure which is about three stories high, and you can climb inside it to get to the top of this structure.

I was told by a local that the three stories apparently resemble the three levels in life: Heaven, Hell, and Earth.

Photo of Buddha Park Laos
The strange but interesting entrance to one of the attractions here.
To enter this giant pumpkin, one would have to go through the structure's mouth, as in the picture above.

Once inside, you walk around the pumpkin to find a stone ladder leading to the next level until the top.

Inside the pumpkin.

There is absolutely nothing inside except concrete, and it just goes around till the top, where there is a small opening for you to climb out to the top of this round pumpkin structure.

Pumpkin antenna.

Once on top of the statue, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the entire park, which translates as a great photograph moment here at Xieng Khuan.

Looking up, there is a strange Antenna that resembles some Buddha motif, but I could be wrong here.

Vientiane Buddha Park Photo
View of Buddha Park.
I spent a good 15 minutes up on the giant pumpkin overlooking the entire park and seeing all the strange but beautiful statues and sculptures.

Then I asked myself how and why someone built such a unique and beautiful park and the objective of this park.

An odd-looking fish-like statue at Xieng Khuan.
After a good top view of the entire Xieng Khuan park, we went down and started to further explore the statues close up.

Walking around, you will encounter all sorts of strange statues, but there is no English information about any of them. So the lesson here is to engage a local English speaking guide.

Many of the statues and sculptures may look ancient, but the park was only built around 1958, so it is less than a century old.

Statue at Buddha Park
One of the larger statues with interesting motifs carved into it.

Buddha Park Strange Statues
A massive reclining statue.
At Buddha Park, you will also come across a massive 40 meter reclining or sleeping Buddha statue.

This is one of the main attractions in the park, and as it is so huge, I had to step way back just to take a picture of it.

Looking around the statue, I noticed that they have an altar for those who wish to pray.

Vientian David Hogan
A photograph moment at the large statue here.
Photo of Vientiane Buddha Park
A 3-headed elephant statue in the park.
Walking around, I came across more statues of various animals and gods scattered around, and some of them are actually confusing or terrifying.

And if you continue to walk to the end of the park, you will reach a Mekong River section, but the area is sealed off.

You can find a local canteen or local cafeteria at the end of the park that sells some local food and drink, which is highly popular among the visitors here.

I noticed many foreigners having some cold Lao Beer admiring the Mekong River's beauty and its surroundings.

Paintings done by Lao artist
Posing with some of the beautiful Lao paintings sold near Buddha Park.
After spending a good two hours here, we head out as a long bike ride back to Vientiane city. There is also a souvenir shop that sells books and some beautiful local paintings on the way out.

I recommend that you buy some as they are really nice and much cheaper than those found around Vientiane. There is a public toilet available, and I had to use it due to the long journey back.

Lao Desserts
Local Lao desserts sold by the roadside.
Before departing, I saw a lady selling deep-fried banana fritters, and I just had to try some.

Honestly, they taste similar to what we can get in Malaysia, where we call it Goreng Pisang. The lady also sold some meat and fish balls on a stick which were quite nice and cheap.

I made multiple stops along the Mekong River along my journey back as there were many photo opportunities.

Mekong River Laos
View of the Mekong River on my journey back.
Renting A Bike In Vientiane

This is tricky, as anyone can rent a Vientiane bike, but you need to provide a huge cash deposit or your passport as a deposit.

Bike rentals are top-rated, but one has to exercise extreme caution when riding around here, namely if you are a westerner.

The local police will stop you if you do not wear your helmets or randomly to check if you have the rental papers with you.

Riding your motorbike to Buddha Park is a bumpy one, and some of the roads there are not tarred, and there may be a lot of dust.

So if you choose to ride a bike there, make sure you have a scarf to cover your face and again, always carry your rental papers with you.

Buddha Park Vientiane Information
  • Buddha Park is open daily, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
  • Entrance Fees is 5,000 KIP + 2,000 KIP for camera
  • Time Spent Here: About 3 to 4 hours including journey.
  • No English information, just basic entrance fees
  • Basic English is spoken by the locals here.
How to go to Buddha Park from Vientiane?

To get here, it is fairly simple as you can either self-ride here, take a taxi or book one of the tours in Vientiane City. Below are some of the way to get to Buddha Park;

  1. Rent a motorbike like I did as it cost about US$7.00 to US$10.00 per day
  2. Take bus #14 in front of the Morning Market at Vientiane
  3. Take a Tuk-Tuk or Taxi and be prepared to pay for this one.
  4. Tuk-Tuk cost about 700 to 1000 KIP from the city area.

Conclusion

If you are visiting this part of Indochina, don't forget to also read my other article on the 10 things to do in Luang Prabang, Laos.

I would recommend you renting a bike to explore the Lao countryside for those who love adventure travel, and you must be careful while riding in Laos.

I also trust you will not regret seeing this absolutely unique and intriguing place called Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos. This is truly one of those places that must be visited by anyone visiting this part of the world.

10 comments

StevenBoy1986 said...

wow.. the Pumpkin antenna really nice~~~ I like that tree...

Anonymous said...

nice write up, i wish i get the chance to visit places like this too one day.

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Steven, there's some real weird stuff in Laos too... hehe

Jane, thanks for the comment. One day can be soon. Just be positive about it and it will happen! For me, I did not even plan this trip. Just decided one day and I booked for 2 weeks ahead...

David

Noknoy said...

the pictures are so nice. I have been there many times.

S.Chin said...

Thank you.. :)

Malaysia Asia said...

Mapanoy, wow, nice to know you have been there many times. I plan for another trip. Maybe in 2010.

S.Chin, thanks for dropping by.

Regards,
David

Mike Yip said...

jeng jeng jeng.... come ler join me at Laos in December 2009. :p You know why I'm there.

Will be doing some touristy stuff on the 19th - 21st n back to Malaisiah on the 22nd :D

eunice said...

The statues r so diff from other parts of the world. Amazing.

Malaysia Asia said...

Mike - Wow, time as passed since Dec 09 lol.

Eunice, if you ever plan to visit the Buddha Park in Vientiane, let me know. It is truly amazing.

David

yao said...

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing this wonderful place. Just would like to find out if it is advisable to ride a bicycle to the Buddha Park. Will it be a very long journey? (30mins by bike will be around 1hour for bicycle?)

Thanks for the advice!