Buddha Park in Vientiane: The quirkiest place in Laos

what to do in Vientiane

A must-see in Laos: Buddha Park in Vientiane

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WHAT TO DO IN VIENTIANE? VISIT BUDDHA PARK! 

If you are visiting the capital of Laos, then you should stop questioning what to see in Vientiane or what to do in Vientiane.

There is one place where you should go. Visiting that place crowns the list of the best things to do in Vientiane.  This is a place like no other in Laos.

It is called Buddha Park and it is the quirkiest place in Laos.

buddha park in Vientiane in Laos

BUDDHA PARK IN VIENTIANE: THE QUIRKIEST PLACE IN LAOS

The Buddha Park is also locally known as Wat Xieng Khuan, or the Spirit City temple. Sometimes it is even referred to as Sala Xieng Khuan (Sala means the ‘Place for meditation’).

This rather eccentric sculpture park with more than 200 statues of gods, demons, humans, animals and bizarre creatures is the quirkiest place in Laos.

Located just on the outskirts of Vientiane and along river Mekong, Buda Park is one of the most visited sites in Laos ever and it deserves to be on every Laos itinerary.

buddha park in vientiane in Laos

Reclining Buddha statue in Buddha Park 

This is a place where fantasy meets mythology and where Buddhism faces Hinduism. Religious and mythological sculptures in Buddha Park create a deeply mystical and bizarre atmosphere. 

The park is not only lucid, creative, eccentric but also sacred and otherworldly. Buddha Park Laos is inarguably the playground of a mystic and an artist.

The mix of Buddhist and Hindu statues reflects the personal philosophy and beliefs of Bunleua Sulilat, a mystic teacher, and creator of the park. 

Buddha statues, Vishnu statues, and Shiva statues are all over the park. Statues in Buddha Park may look ancient, but in fact, they are merely 60 years old. While Bunleua Sulilat designed all the statues, his followers built them.

buddha park in vientiane in Laos

Some sculptures are religious, some are mythological and some of them are a matter of visitors’ eternal wonder.

Like the odd giant pumpkin in the park. The pumpkin’s entrance represents a demon’s mouth. After entering the pumpkin visitors need to climb three floors representing Hell, Earth, and Haven. Coming to the top of the pumpkin, they reach the Haven.

And in the end, the Haven treats them with marvelous views of the park.

buddha park in vientiane in Laos

BUDDHA PARK: CREATOR

A Thai born priest-shaman and mystic-artist Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat created the Buddha Park Vientiane in 1958.

Although the majority of his life Bunleua Sulila lived in Laos, he was born as a Buddhist in Thailand and studied Hinduism in Vietnam.

Hence, during his spiritual and artistic life, he advocated a mix of Buddhism and Hinduism. As such he found many followers in Laos and Thailand who called him Luang Pu, meaning the Priest.

Therefore, he was treated as a cult leader and a mystic.

BUDDHA PARK: A PARK, TEMPLE OR TOURIST ATTRACTION?

First of all, the Buddha Park in Vientiane is officially a public park.

Considering the amount of Buddhist and Hindu images it holds and visitors who come to meditate there, it is a temple or Wat.

But, taking into account the number of people who come to visit it, it is unquestionably a top tourist attraction.

Given that, the Buddha Park in Vientiane, or Wat Xieng Khuan (the Spirit City Temple), is all mentioned; a park, a temple, and a tourist attraction.

And maybe even more: a timeless sensation?!

BUDDHA PARK: PECULIARITY

And for the end, one peculiarity.

Just across the Mekong, on the Thai side of the river, Bunleua Sulilat created a twin park.

He ran away from Laos to Thailand after the communist revolution in 1975. He named park the Sala Keoku, or the Hall of Keoku, after the hermit Keoku who was his spiritual mentor.

WHERE EXACTLY IS BUDDHA PARK IN VIENTIANE

Vientiane Buddha Park is located about 15 mi (25 km) southeast from Vientiane.

HOW TO GET TO BUDDHA PARK IN VIENTIANE 

The cheapest way to get to the park is by public bus from Talat Sao, the central bus station, in Vientiane. Bus no. 14 goes every 30 min from Talat Sao to Thai-Lao Bridge of Friendship. The price of a one-way ticket is 8.000 kip.

ADDITIONAL INFO: OPENING TIMES AND ADMISSION

Buddha Park Vientiane Laos is open from 8 am – 5 pm.  The entrance fee to Laos Budhha Park is 5.000 kip. An additional fee for a camera is 3.000 kip.

WHERE TO STAY IN VIENTIANE

Recommended accommodation in Vientiane – Vientiane hotels and Vientiane hostels

BUDGET: My Box Hostel & Cafe, Sailomyen Hostel

MID-RANGE: Vientiane Garden Villa Hotel, Bloom Boutique Hotel & Cafe, S 2 Modern Boutique Hotel

LUXURY: La Seine Hotel by Burasari, Crowne Plaza Vientiane, Green Park Boutique Hotel

There are three questions and one answer.

Three questions are: What to see in Vientiane? What to do in Vientiane? And, where to go in Vientiane Laos?

And the ultimate answer is: visit Buddha Park in Vientiane.

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO.

40 comments

  1. Really cool Mili. We missed this park when traveling to Vientiane about 4 years ago. Quirky and a bit weird. Like much of SE Asia LOL in certain ways. I dig how the creator mixed a few different religions. We can all use some opening up to see things from a different point of view.

    Ryan

  2. You can see why this is one of the most visited site in Laos. It’s interesting, the location is accessible and that pumpkin! That was my favourite piece of work.

  3. How fascinating that safe haven can be found on top of a pumpkin. On the subject of word games. Our guide in Thailand told us that the generic translation for pumpkin thai is fuk. Therefor, a pumpkin head is fuk head. Then he laughed to himself. Games aside, this looks like a really neat and quirky place.

  4. I love all these travel blogs because it opens your eyes to so many places that you wouldn’t even know existed otherwise. This was very well written and now I am extremely inclined to visit!

    1. Hey Rhonda,

      in my opinion you would make a huge mistake not to visit Laos. It is one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia.
      Just to say, Laos has gorgeous nature, Luang Prabang is absolutely beautiful, Lao people are kind …

      I wish you to visit Laos someday. You would be surprised how wonderful the country is!

      Milijana

  5. Its so strange that whenever I read about Laos, this park never featured. Seems like a hidden or an underrated gem to me, but totally worth it. Those sculptures are so amazing that I can just keep looking at them, and for travellers and photographers such places are dream like.

    1. Interesting. Before writing this post I thought everybody knew about the Buddha Park and even was weighing to write about or not. Probably I have read many ‘strange’ travel books in my childhood, since in I have heard about it back then. 😂
      Now I can only laugh at myself and I am glad I have written the post.
      Above all, it is always my pleasure to write educative, informative and inspiring posts. 😊

  6. I’ve actually been there myself when I was in Vientiane and loved exploring all the statues. I have so many pictures from here, and you’re right it is one of the quirkiest things you will see in Laos, and the view of the park once you come out of the pumpkin does the park it’s justice. Glad to see you had as much of a good time there as I did 🙂

  7. From the first photo you know it is going to be quirky! And I love quirky.

    With over 200 sculptures I could spend the whole day there just photographing. I can see why it has become a top tourist attraction.

  8. Oh what a beautiful place! I have started thinking about planning a trip to Laos, and the Buddha Park is now definitely on my list. As I looked at your first photo I thought how the Buddha statues reminded me of Thailand, so was not surprised to read on that it was created by a Thai-born priest. I love that it’s a public park too!

  9. Amazing sculptures in the Buddha Park. Something so different. I like such off beat places. Hope it gets maintained well for long.

  10. Laos has been on our bucket list for so long and this post made me want to pack and go! Buddha Park Vientiane would definitely be our thing to do, as we love this kind of visits, out of the beaten path and a bit eccentric! Thank you for the tips!

  11. Wow, a wonderful Park that can be considered as a temple and can also be a top tourist attraction, since there are a lot of people who come to meditate here. Knowing that this is a Public Park, people comes here to not just meditate, but probably just enjoy what this Park has to offer. I love that you have elucidated the history of the place. I will surely add this in my bucket list of places to see.

  12. Wow! I love how nice this Buddha Park is in Vientiane. Thanks to Luang Pu Bunleua Sulila for building this beautiful park. THis post is so interesting that two religions are combined so thanks for this very informative post.

  13. Even I thought they are ancient ones when I saw the first photograph. I think they have done a great job in replicating the classical sculptures of SE Asia. Haven’t seen much of Vientiane anyway so it was great reading this.

  14. I love how you get to find out about all the quirky things on blogs that travel guides usually do not mention! I’ve never heard of this park, but then again I have never been to Laos and haven’t really done the research. Love the story about the twin park on Thai side of the river- have you been to that one as well?

    1. Thanks, Anja! I am glad you have found my post informative.

      From Vientiane I went to Luang Prabang and left the twin park for another trip in future. 😉
      Hope to write about the twin park someday. It could be fun to write about the parks with some time distance!

  15. What a park (or temple or attraction?) to experience! I love the idea of just spending and afternoon there and contemplating the sculptures. There so much interesting stuff going on there! Quirky indeed!

  16. I have never been to Laos but it is definitely on my list of places to visit. I like the Buddha Park. I have not heard of it before and reckon you get some amazing photos there. How interesting is that pumpkin, I can only imagine the views.

  17. A truly fascinating place. I especially liked the pumpkin sculpture (kind of reminds me of James and the Giant Peach). We’ll definitely gonna need to visit this place, when we are in Laos.

  18. We only went to Luang Prabang when we traveled to Laos in 2014, and didn’t have enough time to head to Ventiane. But we’d love to go there as well next time, especially since this Buddha Park looks really interesting! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us!

  19. I’ve never been here but have read lots about it – it sure does seem very quirky! But I imagine it would get really busy. The sculptures and statues are so impressive! It seems a bit like an artist’s take on religion?

  20. amazing, its quite photogenic place and this summer i was planning to visit somewhere new. so this place perfect for me and my new photoshot project. thanks for sharing good trip experience.

  21. Whoa! That’s indeed a very peculiar park..
    I would be confused on how to behave first of all.
    Sometimes it so happens that such a place is believed as a religious symbol by locals and when someone clicks quirky photographs like a park, they end up hurting their religious sentiments!!!

  22. Vientiane looks great place as it has wonderful park with Buddha statues. I never saw Buddha statues in open park as always visited Buddhist temples, but this place looks unique and photogenic.

  23. Such amazing pictures. I have never seen so much beauty at one place. Someday, I’ll sure love to visit and return with my own experience to share. For now your blog is enough.

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