If you’re looking for something unique, the Buddha Park fits the bill. Locally known as “Xieng Khuan“, this weird sculpture park was built by a monk who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism.
So while the name itself implies that it’s full of Buddha images, it’s so much more than that. You’ll also find over 200 sculptures of gods, demons and animals from both beliefs.
If you’ve been traveling mainly in Southeast Asia and not exposed to Hindu/Indian culture, you may find these images a bit shocking. For me, it was oddly fascinating.
Read on to find out if it’s something you should visit when you’re in Vientiane.
Buddha Park in Vientiane – Opening Times and How to Get There
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm, every day
Admission Fee: 5,000 Kip (about $0.60)
How to Get To Buddha Park From Vientiane?
Buddha Park is about 25km outside of Vientiane, but there are many ways to get there – bus or tuktuk.
Hotels also offer van transfers but it’s quite expensive (they quoted us $60), so we decided to DIY it.
Go to Khua Din bus station (next to Talat Sao shopping mall), and take Bus #14. It costs 6,000 Kip and takes about 1 hour each way. It’s air-conditioned, which is perfect since the road is so dusty!
If you want to get their quicker (and don’t mind being covered in dust.. haha), you can get a tuktuk.
We took a tuktuk from our hotel to the bus station, and the driver offered to take us to Buddha Park for 250,000 Kip ($60) return. We declined. Also, while waiting for the bus, we decided to have lunch at a roadside stall right next to the station. A guy, who is most likely a tuktuk driver, told us that it will take us 2 hours to get there if we take the bus because of the frequent stops. We just ignored him, and a kind Lao lady showed us her phone. It was her way of telling us to download the Lao Bus Navi app. Khop Chai, Lao lady! 🙂
TIP: Download the Lao Bus Navi app so you can track the buses in real time. Helpful when you want to check when the next bus is coming, especially on your way back to Vientiane.
The Park Grounds:
Right next to the main entrance, you’ll see a huge pumpkin structure.
To get to the top (which has an amazing view of the park), you’ll have to go through the mouth of the beast, which in itself is picture-worthy! It’s quite popular among tourists and it was crowded, so we didn’t go up. But if you wanna go up there, then definitely do it.
There’s also a huge reclining buddha in the middle of the park.
The place is quite small, you can probably finish exploring it in just an hour.
What I Like:
It’s certainly a unique experience. Apart from Ubud, Bali and the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it’s one of my first few encounters with the Hindu belief. I want to visit India, but I’ll save that for another time (and another post!)
What I Didn’t Like:
You won’t find any information about the sculptures and there aren’t any tour guides for hire available on site. If you want to understand the sculptures, your best bet is to get a guided tour, or bring a Lao/Buddhist/Hindu friend with you! 😀
Is it worth visiting? You decide!
Whether you think it’s worth visiting or not is totally up to you. If you have limited time in Vientiane (24 hours or less), you might want to reconsider visiting this as it’s way out of town. You should set aside 3-4 hours in your itinerary if you want to visit the Buddha Park, that’s including the 45 minutes to 1 hour journey going there and back to Vientiane.
If you do decide to visit, or if you’ve visited the Buddha Park, let me know in the comments below and share your thoughts!