Buddha Park – A sculpture park that contains over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. This park was built before the version across the river in Thailand, but both were designed by the same man – Bunleua Sulilat, a priest-shaman who integrated Buddhism and Hinduism.
So after visiting Buddha Park in Nong Khai, Thailand (read about that one here), just across the Mekong River from the Buddha Park in Vientiane, I thought it only appropriate to go and visit the Laotian offering to compare Buddhas. To be honest, I think that overall the Thai version was more impressive. Possibly because it was built about 20 years later. There were more statues, it was slightly bigger and some of them were pretty damn magnificent. However, the Laotian version did have a building which you can go inside that housed what appeared to be a collection of figures from the depths of hell. Prepare yourselves!
Buddha Park, Vientiane, Laos
And so once again, what follows is a collection of photos from the park with some ridiculous commentary…
The park is situated about 20km outside of the centre of Vientiane, so you’ll need to find a way to get there. You can either opt for tuk tuk at a ridiculous cost of about 250,000 kip, local bus (about 15,000 kip I think. Relatively inexpensive anyway), or you can rent your own mode of transport such as bicycle or as you can see from the photo above – a sofa with an engine (pink horse riding helmet optional). Vroom vroom!
So this is an overview of what Buddha Park looks like. The entrance is on the bottom left. Look at all those statues!
He did it.
Is that a large snake in your hands or are you just happy to see me?
Didn’t I see this guy across the river in Thailand?
The many-faced, multiple armed Buddha statue makes another appearance on the Laotian side of the Mekong…this time with a bunch of skulls balanced on his/her/its head(s). Snazzy.
Somebody fetch this man a Mars Bar!
Mate, can you please just shut the f**k up, can you not see that we are trying to meditate? I don’t know why I have to tell you this EVERY SINGLE DAY!
A woman emerging from the mouth of some kind of reptilian creature, holding what appears to be a miniature human being…a common sight in ancient Buddhist scriptures.
I’m the daddy round here!
I didn’t mean it, honest… Your beard looks awesome!
Hanuman makes a surprise appearance in Buddha Park, Vientiane. Looking pretty camp here, don’t you think?
Another female character emerging from a reptilian/snake/lizard creature’s mouth.
This guy told her that one of her arms was fat. Now he’s dead. There is a moral to this story.
Yo, check out my lion bro.
Is it a crocodile? Is it an alligator? Is it a dinosaur? Is it a lizard? F**k knows.
The snake charmer of Laos was unaware of the massive 7-headed snake about to eat him from behind. I hear he was getting pretty cocky about his snake charming skills so it serves him right really.
Nom nom nom…
If you pull on my leg once more today, I swear I will go flip mode on yo’ ass!
Say “what?” again! Go on! I dare you!
They sold my other leg on the black market. Swimming has never been the same since.
I’m flying Jack! I’m flying!
This statue is pretty lame in comparison to THIS version on the Thai side of the Mekong. Just sayin’.
Is it a Garuda? Is it Hanuman? Maybe it’s Hanuda? Or Garunuman? Or maybe it’s just some bloke wearing fairy wings on his way to a hen party. Not sure how a man got invited to a hen party though. The bride-to-be must be his BFF. Only possible explanation.
So I bought these new shoes last Thursday…they are like, sooooo fabulous! And these trousers, aren’t they just to die for? Yes, I know, I am looking simply gorgeous aren’t I? The last person who disagreed is dead. Here she is. You want her? I’m not sure what to do with her now. Maybe I will feed her to my shoes…
STOP! Put that sword down and talk to the hand.
It appears that a monkey is offering me a pair of underpants on a piece of wood. If I keep pretending to meditate, maybe he will go away.
Please Sir! My legs are….meeeelllttiiiiinngg…..meeeeeeeeelllllllllttttttiiiiiinnnnnggggg…….aarrggghhh…..help…meeee….
Bloody white people…always getting in the background of my monkey/Buddha/elephant/underpants photos.
Shake those maracas like you mean it!So what I would consider the centrepiece (even though it’s not strictly in the centre of the park), is this large sculpture which you can enter through the ‘mouth’ as seen in the following photos. When inside, you realise that you are no longer in Buddha Park, Vientiane, but instead have arrived safely in the depths of the place known commonly as ‘Hell’. Evidence follows…
Open wide and pose for your photo!
Peace signs up! Sophie Segal from justagirlin.com enters the mouth of Hell. Check out her amazing adventures from around the globe right HERE!
The first level of hell. No sign of Cerberus though; maybe he’s out eating some doggy biscuits.
The staircase inside allows you to move up and down levels.
Various statues in various conditions and states of disarray.
After I rip off my victim’s heads, I usually lightly tickle them with the end of my nunchuks. I may look angry, but inside I am smiling because it’s so much fun! Hehe!
A miniature person being chased up a tree by a hell weasel, the most feared of all of the hellish demons.
My right arm may be broken, but I promised you that head massage and I am a man of my word so let’s get started.
…ok it’s your turn next. Would you like the full 30 minute massage treatment or I can offer you a 10 minute rub for 10,000 kip. No happy endings this week though. I gotta charge you for that from now on as my landlord just raised my rent prices.
In light of recent circumstances, are you willing to take back what you said about my mullet?
OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, I LOVE HELL! YAAAAYYY!!!!!
The Holy Grail has finally been found. You can stop searching now.
This photo just makes me think of the song ‘Surfin’ USA’ by the Beach Boys.
Sophie from ‘JUST A GIRL IN…’ becomes ‘JUST A GIRL OUT…of the mouth of hell, Vientiane, Laos’.
A rather fitting evil-looking structure sits on top of the big hollowed out building that houses all sorts of weasel demons and dark, twisted sculptures.
Back we go for more.
On the way out of the park, it starts raining heavily and we are forced to shelter in a small souvenir shop which sells all kinds of random, bizarre things like…
Dragonball Z and porn DVDs. Go Buddhism!
Sophie displaying her DVD of choice.
Buddha appears in many forms…the little known one is abstract Buddha, who happens to be mates with…
Abstract Jesus.And to finish off our visit to Buddha Park, we settle for some delicious (that might be a bit of a generous explanation) noodle soup with pork and beef!