In short, it’s one crazy place that you wouldn’t expect to find here, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Lori and I are taking this particular Saturday to explore this one-of-a-kind place (well, almost one-of-a-kind, but I’ll get to that).
We caught the #14 bus to Xieng Khuan (some only go to Friendship Bridge/ Thai border, so you’ll want to confirm) at the Central Bus Station in Vientiane (across from Talat Sao “Morning Market”). We were pleasantly surprised that for 6,000 kip (US$0.75) per person each way we got a pleasant hour-long ride with air conditioning and comfy seats on one of Vientiane’s big Japanese-donated green and white city buses. If we had hired a tuk tuk for the day to take us out there it would have been between US$25-$40, and definitely not as comfortable of a ride. Currently, buses run all day long about every 20 minutes.
Entrance into the park was 5,000 Kip ($0.60) and an extra 3,000 Kip if you have a camera (though this does not seem to apply to smart phones with cameras).
Now that we have that formalities out of the way, bring on the Buddhas!
…Or…giant…pumpkin? Not exactly what I had in mind for a Buddha Park.
While there are numerous statues depicting the Enlightened One, himself, there are also many other religious symbols and imagery, including characters from Hinduism such as Shiva, Vishnu, and Arjuna.
All told, our day out ended up costing the us about US$14 (including roundtrip transport, entry, and a delicious and satisfying meal).
And just as promised, the #14 bus arrived less than 20 minutes after we saw the previous one pass. Granted, we sat in the bus for a half hour waiting at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge parking lot, but it was a small price to pay for cheap, reliable, and air-conditioned transportation back to the city.