Pha That Luang and Buddha Park – “The Most Psychedelic Place in Laos”

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.

DSC_0331
Nicole in front of Pha That Luang

DSC_0332 DSC_0333 DSC_0337

We were permitted to enter one of the halls and found that it was full of truly visionary paintings!

DSC_0338 DSC_0346 DSC_0342

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.

DSC_0349 DSC_0361 DSC_0356 DSC_0352

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.

DSC_0374
The pumpkin structure in Buddha Park
DSC_0368
Jojo entering the demon head at the base of the pumpkin
DSC_0390
Terrifying sculptures in the ‘hell level’
DSC_0387
Climbing into the ‘earth level’
DSC_0381
We made it up to heaven!
DSC_0384
View from the top of the pumpkin structure

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…?

DSC_0397 DSC_0408 DSC_0402 DSC_0399

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.

DSC_0418

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.

IMG_2389
Enjoying some duck laap and thai curry at Lao Kitchen

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)