Part of the application process for acquiring my one-year student visa in Thailand, was that I had to apply for it outside of the country, and I chose to apply in Vientiane, Laos. I figured I’d turn my visa run into a mini vacay of sorts and decided to stay for 4 days. I must say, I wasn’t impressed and I was bored out of my mind. I wasn’t a fan of the food, there weren’t many options for touristy activities, at least none that tickled my fancy, and the humidity was next level. While I was out on a sweaty stroll one afternoon, I walked past the bus station and the front of one of the buses read “Buddha Park”. I quickly googled what and where that was. It seemed interesting enough and the bus ride was only one dollar, so I figured, “Why not?”, and hopped on the bus. Worst case scenario, I get to enjoy an air-conditioned bus trip along the Laotian countryside.
After about a 45 min ride, I arrived at the Buddha Park, or Xieng Khuan (“Spirit City”) as the locals call it. It was founded in 1958 by monk and sculpture artist, Bunleua Sulila. It is public park that features over 200 Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, including an impressive 390 foot reclining Buddha. The center piece of the park is a massive 3-story structure, which you entered through a small opening shaped like a demon’s mouth. Within that sculpture there were dozens of other life-sized statues. There was also a winding pathway that led you all the way to the tippy top and out on to the roof for a bird’s eye view of the entire park. I spent about three or four hours at the park that day, there was so much to see and I didn’t want to miss out on any of it. I wished I had enjoyed Laos more overall, but every place isn’t for everyone. At least I’ll always have the memory of the Buddha park. This park is absolutely a requisite during your stay in Vientiane.