Xieng Khuan Buddha Park
Although the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park location is in Laos, the exotic name is actually of Vietnamese origin. The words Xieng Khuan translate to “spirit city” in English and the park contains over 200 statues of both Hindu and Buddhist themes.
Also, the Xieng Khuan Buddha park location is situated alongside the Mekong river which serves as the border between Laos and Thailand. The riverside location on the Mekong adds a prolific ambiance to your park visit. Additionally, the river makes the drive from Vientiane more enjoyable.
Vientiane, Laos to Xieng Khuan Buddha Park
Fortunately, the Xieng Khuan Buddha park location is easily accessible from Vientiane by motorbike. From the Vientiane city center, simply go west until you reach Kamphengmeuang Road then go south (turn right) for about 10 kilometers and then veer left onto Thaduea Road.
Just follow Thadeau Road until you see the Mekong River on your right hand side, then continue another 7 kilometers and you will see the Buddha park location on the right.
To get back to Vientiane, just do the exact opposite. Additionally, the Buddha Park entry fee is 5000 kip, plus 3000 kip extra for cameras.
Xieng Khuan Buddha Park History
One of the most unique Buddha park facts is that Hinduism and Buddhism are distinctly different religions. However, the shaman who designed the park adhered to both. As a result, he adopted a hybrid religion that was a mixture of both Hindu and Buddhism.
Luang Pu was the name of the park founder and he developed his unique religion while he was studying in Vietnam. That is why the park has a Vietnamese name.
The construction of the statues was done by novices under the instruction of Luang Pu. However, the quality of the craftsmanship is excellent.
Perhaps divine inspiration? Possibly. The sculptures are all made of concrete and all appear to be very old.
However, the Buddha park history only dates back to 1958 when the construction of the park was completed. Therefore, the statues are not nearly as old as they seem to be.
Xieng Khuan Buddha Park Themes
One of the most spectacular pieces of work in the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park is a representation of Hell, Earth and Heaven. As a result, this unique sculpture consists of three levels.
Additionally, the sculpture is interactive and visitors can move through the sculpture and emerge on top. Accordingly, the lowest level is Hell and you enter the structure through the mouth of a demon.
Once inside the demon’s mouth, you enter a maze of different sculptures which represent the terrestrial world. As in life, the objective is to pass through and emerge in heaven.
After you finish climbing the system of staircases inside the terrestrial realm you then emerge in heaven. Heaven, is situated on top of the monument and appropriately you have a great view of the Buddha park from there.
Xieng Khuan Giant Reclining Buddha
Another prolific monument inside the park is the enormous statue of the reclining Buddha. Total length is approximately 40 meters.
Xieng Khuan Hindu Sculptures
There were also some prolific Hindu monuments inside the park. This was one of our favorites.
Or Just Exotic….
The Buddha park history lies in Buddhism and Hinduism. However, some of the statues at the park were just plain exotic and didn’t seem to be based in any religion.
Buddhist Monks Visit Xieng Khuan
There were a lot of Buddhist monks visiting the Buddha park which seemed to be a vindication of Luang Pu’s religious views. Or perhaps, they enjoyed looking at the exotic sculptures.
Xieng Khuan Buddha Park Location
The mystical quality of traveling through Laos and Thailand is largely due to the Mekong river. Luckily, a nice stretch of the drive from Vientiane to the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park location is along the banks of the Mekong. There are an abundance of little restaurants to stop for lunch of some cold drinks.
On the way back to Vientiane we also stopped off at the Thai-Lao Friendship bridge. As a gesture of friendship with Thailand, this bridge was constructed and connects the Vientiane prefecture in Laos with the city of Nong Khai in Thailand.
The bridge is located about 20 kilometers outside of the city of Vientiane, although it is on the way to the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park location. However, this friendship bridge is not the only one.
An additional friendship bridge was gifted to Laos by the Japanese and it is located near Pakse in Champasak Province. If you visit the Pakse golden Buddha you will have a chance to cross over it.
Unfortunately, security was not very excited to see us and we decided to leave after a couple of pictures. We would not cross over the bridge on this trip because we were going to be traveling exclusively in Laos.
A day trip to the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park should be listed as number one on the Vientiane to do list. The Buddha park facts are amazing and so are the exotic sculptures. However, the Mekong river and the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge are also a big part of it.