Laos is a country firmly set on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail. Vientiane, the capital city, is fully deserving of this status for its beauty and its diverse range of things to see and do during Laos travel.
My partner and I had heard about Buddha Park on the outskirts of town (about 25km away) and saw it is an opportunity to hire a motorbike and go exploring. We hadn’t anticipated just how unfinished many of the roads were, however, so it’s safe to say that this was one very bumpy ride! By the time we arrived the heavens were looking rather menacing and we just managed an hour or so to wander around before a serious monsoon storm broke.
Buddha Park, Vientiane
From first glance, you would be right to think that this park was ancient. The sculptures all look very weathered and authentic, almost as though each piece had been removed from an ancient temple somewhere else in Laos and moved to this giant outdoor arena.
In fact, the park is relatively new. Built in 1958 the collection of sculptures pay homage to both Hinduism and Buddhism.
The scale of some of the sculptures make this place truly magnificent. Surrounded by lush landscaped gardens, Buddha crowns and mystical figures tower above you, reaching up for the sky.
There was something stirring about the sky becoming so moody as we slowly made our way between the outstretched arms of deities and mythical figures. I couldn’t help but imagine as I heard thunder rumble that these epic behemoths might suddenly spark into life.
One of the most striking and somewhat odd sculpture is the large pumpkin shaped one that you can climb into and out of its gaping mouth.
At the beginning of my current Round the World trip, when I arrived in India, I was very excited by all the fascinating temples that I would see both there and in Southeast Asia. By the end of five months I must say that I had a bit of temple weariness. You can only see so much statues of Buddha himself or Shiva and her many arms.
At Buddha Park, however, I couldn’t help but be newly inspired by the craftwork that goes into the sculptures that make up temples and religious sites. This place was magnificent.
And to make the day even more memorable, our little pop pop motorbike decided not to start when we tried to leave. We had to wait in the pouring rain for over an hour whilst the hire company came out and fixed it for us. This would have been annoying, but in fact it just gave us more time to admire these great structures.