Vientiane

Vientiane Travel Blog

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Breakfast in Vientiane.

Today's choice for breakfast was pretty hilarious, you could either pick 'Fried egg', which came with bread, jam and fruit, or 'French Breakfast' which was the same without the egg! Mieke had been sick last night but fortunately nothing serious. She was feeling a bit off today but would recover well. It was a bit of a riddle what this had caused since we'd all been eating the same stuff and none of the others had any problems.

Today's main event was a visit to Xieng Khuan ('City of Spirits'), better known as the Buddha Park, 24 kilometers outside Vientiane. Maybe it was the spending spree of yesterday's sauna, but more probably it was our sense of adventure that made us decide to take the local bus instead of a tuk-tuk.

Local bus to the Buddha Park.
We walked to the bus station next to the morning market and were fortunate enough to jump on Bus 14 before it was completely packed with people. A drive of about an hour took us to the park. This was a seriously surreal place where one Bunleua Suliat had created a park full of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures in 1958. Numerous concrete statues depict the Buddha, Vishnu, Krishna, Kuan Yin, Hotei, Avalokithesvara and other deities in various poses and mudra's. The park is dominated by an enormous reclining Buddha and a pumpkin shaped monument with three levels. When you entered the core of this monument you ascend from hell (where people were being tortured) to earth to heaven. Eventually you come out on the roof where you've got a nice view of the full park.

It was nice to stroll around this serene and peaceful place and baffle at all of the sculptures.

At the Buddha Park.
Before heading back we had a beer by the bank of the Mekong. The drive back on Bus 14 was even funnier than coming here. With every stop of the bus more people and bags got in, with people climbing up and over seats to squeeze themselves into an empty spot. We passed the Friendship bridge that connects Thailand with Laos and halfway the afternoon we were back in Vientiane, where we decided to have a noodle soup in a restaurant at the bus station.

There was one temple left to visit here, Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan. We arrived here at the right time since these was a prayer taken place in which the monks and laymen participated. A 5,8 meter high Buddha at the end of the prayer hail, weighing several tons gave it's name to the temple, which means 'Temple of the Heavy Buddha'.

Reclining Buddha at the Buddha Park.

We ended up at one of the beer gardens that line a stretch along the Mekong to watch the sun setting over the river and Thailand. Because of the clouds it wasn't nearly as pretty as the one we'd missed yesterday, but it was a peaceful moment anyway. We had an excellent dinner at the nice Bor Pen Nyang rooftop restaurant, overlooking the beer gardens and Mekong.

Vientiane had been a bit of a shock when we arrived two days ago, such an enormous change from the rest of Laos. Still, the atmosphere is as laid back as most of the other places we'd been to. The city retains the Lao spirit and the smiles abound and 'baw pen nyang' is still the motto of each day. What a relaxed place.

Biedjee says:
local buses: always a great way to travel
Posted on: Nov 29, 2009
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Breakfast in Vientiane.
Breakfast in Vientiane.
Local bus to the Buddha Park.
Local bus to the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
Reclining Buddha at the Buddha Par…
Reclining Buddha at the Buddha Pa…
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
Reclining Buddha at the Buddha Par…
Reclining Buddha at the Buddha Pa…
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
Avalokiteshvara at the Buddha Park.
Avalokiteshvara at the Buddha Park.
Nose-flute player at the Buddha Pa…
Nose-flute player at the Buddha P…
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
At the Buddha Park.
Beerlao a the Mekong.
Beerlao a the Mekong.
Inside the Buddha Parks pumpkin.
Inside the Buddha Park's 'pumpkin'.
Inside the Buddha Parks pumpkin.
Inside the Buddha Park's 'pumpkin'.
View from the Buddha Parks pumpk…
View from the Buddha Park's 'pump…
Monk at the Buddha Park.
Monk at the Buddha Park.
Ed at the Buddha Park.
Ed at the Buddha Park.
On top of the Buddha Parks pumpk…
On top of the Buddha Park's 'pump…
Back to Vientiane in the local bus.
Back to Vientiane in the local bus.
Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan
Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Maha…
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Mah…
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Maha…
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Mah…
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Maha…
Prayer service at Wat Ong Teu Mah…
Chilling at the Mekongs beer gard…
Chilling at the Mekong's beer gar…
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Sunset over the Mekong.
Thailand by night. ;-)
Thailand by night. ;-)
Vientiane
photo by: skydiver