Vientiane, Laos: The surreal Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)

Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan is a rather grotesque sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, Laos in a meadow by the Mekong River. It may be referred to as Wat Xieng Khuan although the park is not a temple.

The name ‘Xieng Khuan’ means ‘Spirit City’. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. The park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat. He was a Laotian monk who integrated Hinduism and Buddhism and later fled from Laos to Thailand after the revolution in 1975.

The statues are made of cement and are ornate, and sometimes bizarre, in design. The statues appear to be centuries old, though they are not. There are numerous sculptures of Buddha and characters of the Hindu lore. There are also sculptures of humans, gods, animals, and demons.

One notable sculpture resembles a giant pumpkin. It has three stories representing three levels: Hell, Earth and Heaven. Visitors can enter through an opening which is a mouth of a 10-foot-tall demon head (3,0 m) and climb staircases from hell to heaven. Each story contains sculptures depicting the level. At the top, there is a vantage point where the entire park is visible.

Dominating Buddha Park is a gigantic reclining Buddha which has become something of an icon for Vientiane.


3 Responses to “Vientiane, Laos: The surreal Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)”

  1. March 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Nice photos and stories behind this Wat Xieng Khuan. The very first time I visited the park when I was in grade school during the late 70’s. Shortly after that our family fled the country. During the 2005 trip back to Laos, I had a chance to revisit the park again and everything was the same as I remembered it. None of those statues ever get coat of paint.

  2. 2 prasanna
    June 4, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Notify me of new posts

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