On our second day in Vientiane, we had a couple of destinations in mind, that were a bit far from city center, so we decided to rent a motorbike to get around more efficiently.
Our first stop was Pha That Luang, a large Buddhist stupa covered in gold and regarded as the most important Laotian national monument. Built in the 16th century, it really is quite stunning and impressive to walk around. It wasn’t terribly crowded and you can also buy a flower to offer if you want to.
We were permitted to enter one of the halls and found that it was full of truly visionary paintings!
We spent quite a bit of time exploring the grounds and all of the sculptures around Pha That Luang. We visited quite a few temples in Vietnam but this was easily one of our favorites places.
Our next destination was Buddha Park, located about an hour outside of Vientiane. We downloaded a map onto the tablet (better safe than sorry) and made our way there on our motorbike. On the way, we passed a couple of noteworthy sites including the Lao Brewery and the Friendship Bridge that connects Laos to Thailand.
When we arrived at Buddha Park, we paid a small fee to park our moto and another to enter the park. We also had to pay extra to take a camera in but all in all it still added up to less than three dollars.
We had been there for no more than a few minutes before Jojo had decided that this was his favorite place we had ever visited. At the front of the park near the entrance sits a large pumpkin-shaped structure that you can go inside and climb to the top. Inside, there are some of the creepiest and downright disturbing statues we had ever seen. Come to find out, the three levels inside the pumpkin structure are meant to represent hell, earth, and heaven. You enter through the mouth of a demon and climb your way up through hell and earth, to heaven where you can look down on the entire park.
The entire park is full of beautiful and bizarre statues that you can walk through and look at. Some of our favorites were the enormous sleeping buddha and this other scaley manfish thing eating what looked like another head…?
At the far end of the park is a tower that you can climb into. The steps start out normal sized, but get narrower as you ascend until only your tip-toes can fit on the step.
We had worked up an appetite exploring the park and decided to stop for lunch. After waiting an hour and a half for our food (we will literally always sit that long before bothering to ask what is going on), we walked around the park one last time, then headed back to Vientiane.
For dinner we couldn’t resist going to Lao Kitchen again for some duck laap – it is that good! This time, we also treated ourselves to a dessert of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk with slices of mango–yum.
Breakfast: 55,000kip ($6.77 USD)
Moto Rental: 80,000kip ($9.85 USD)
Buddha Park: 13,000kip ($1.60 USD)
Parking: 5,000kip ($0.62 USD)
Lunch: 46,000kip ($5.62 USD)
Green Tea Cappucino: 25,000kip ($3.08 USD)
Dinner: 129,000kip ($15.88 USD)
Accommodation: 70,000kip ($8.62 USD)
Total Spent: 423,000kip ($52.06 USD)