Buddha Park is a sculpture garden housing a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures in a park like setting on the banks of the Mekong river outside Vientiane.
Buddha Park is a surreal and fanciful sculpture garden full of Hindu and Buddhist statues about 24km (15 miles) out of town heading south along the river. It is a concrete testament to the obsession of Luang Pu, a shamanist priest who conceived and started building the park in the 1950s. He died in 1996. The statues are captivating, whether they are snarling, resting, or saving maidens in distress (or carrying them to their doom — it’s hard to tell). Luang Pu gained a big following before the Communist takeover with his message combining Hinduism, Buddhism, and mythology into a pluralistic hodgepodge of beliefs.
Buddha Park, also called Xieng Khuan (Spirit City), is built 25 kms southeast from Vientiane, which is in Laos. This park is located in a field near the Mekong River. This field consists of around 200 concrete statues depicting Buddha and Hindu Deities along with other mythical creatures. These statues are considered to be more than 500 yrs old.
This park was constructed in 1958 by Luang Pou Bounlua Soulilat, a priest, who fused Buddhism and Hinduism. However after 1975 revolution, he fled from Laos to Thailand and his garden was taken over by the state. After the state took control over this park they converted it into a public park.
According to the folklore, this park consists of a Savan, located at one end of the park, where the spirits of noble people are present. These spirits are considered to bring harmony to all. There are various statues of Buddha; Avalokiteshvara – a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas and is portrayed in different cultures as either male or female. There are numerous sculptures of Buddha, and Hindu Gods and mythological figures including Shiva, Vishnu and Arjuna.
Buddha Park Highlights
It was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, a monk who studied both Buddhism and Hinduism. This explains why his park is full not only of Buddha images but also of Hindu gods as well as demons and animals from both beliefs.
The most outstanding ones include Indra, the king of Hindu gods riding the three-headed elephant (aka Erawan and Airavata), a four-armed deity sitting on a horse and an artistic deity with 12 faces and many hands, each holding interesting objects. They are all equally impressive not only because of their enormous size but because they are full of interesting details and interesting motifs.
There is a local eatery and café offering food and drinks to tourists at one end of the park right next to the Mekong River that makes a great spot to chill after all the walking and climbing. Among the popular snacks are papaya salad, fried bananas and cold Lao beer. It also has a souvenir shop and restrooms. There is a small fee for entering the park as well as for photography.
Best Time To Visit
The ideal time to visit Vientiane is between November and March.
Opening Hours: Daily from 08:00 – 18:00
Location: About 25 kilometres southeast of Vientiane, along the Mekong River
How to get there: The Buddha Park can be reached by public bus or tuk tuk