Vientiane, Laos (11.7.11 – 11.8.11)

My time in Vientiane began as is becoming the norm, got the bus, then a tuk-tuk, then found a hostel. There wasn’t a tremendous amount that I wanted to do while I was in Vientiane, due largely to the fact that I’m reaching my saturation point on temples. I almost feel badly about it, but it happened in Europe as well. I got to a point where I had seen so many churches, and so many museums, it was hard to continue wanting to visit these places. So, I became more selective, and that’s what happened in Vientiane. On Monday, I spent a lot of the day hanging out in coffee shops, caught up with the boyfriend, caught up on emails, and read for a while. I later went to visit a temple in town that sounded interesting, but I’d decided that it would be the only one in Vientiane that I would see. It was called Wat Si Saket and it boasts over 2000 buddhas because a huge number of small ceramic buddha statues sit in nested shelves in the wall. It was beautiful and I was glad that I visited.
On Tuesday, my goal was to visit Xieng Khuan, or Buddha Park, which is a sculpture park containing over 200 statues of buddha, both Hindu and Buddhist. Though it wasn’t far from the city, it took over an hour to reach. The park is quite beautiful, and was full of some really spectacular sculptures, including a 400 ft long reclining buddha. Another sculpture of interest is one that immediately catches the eye; it’s a huge gourd shaped sculpture, which you can climb into through the mouth of a demon. Inside, there are tiny passageways and staircases, enabling you to explore the three stories of the sculpture, each of which house many more religious sculptures. The stairways lead all the way to the top of the sculpture, so you can climb on top and get a view of the whole park; it was fantastic. The journey back to town took over an hour again, by which point I was a few minutes later for my Skype date with Michael, after which it was time to head to the airport. I flew from Vientaine to Bangkok and spent the night in the airport because the next day I had an early morning flight to Surat Thani. From there I was planning to travel to Koh Phangan in order to attend the highly renowned Full Moon Party!

Wat Si Saket

The large gourd shaped sculpture. Wikipedia tells me that the three interior levels represent hell, Earth, and heaven.

Some of the sculptures inside; I’m not sure what level this is from. The mud caked on all of the statues is evidence of the flooding that plagued the country.

Heaven

One of my favorite sculptures in the park

The sculpture park was the only thing I knew I wanted to see in Vientiane, and it was absolutely worth it. Vientiane was nice, but the day and a half I spent there felt like enough.

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2 responses to “Vientiane, Laos (11.7.11 – 11.8.11)

  1. Don’t feel bad about being ‘templed out’. I know lots of people who’ve been to this part of the world and they all say the same.

    • It’s hard not to feel that way after a while. I still try and see ones that sound particularly interesting or different, but otherwise I’m at a point where I no longer feel it’s worth the time or money.
      After a few months back home, I’ll be itching to go see some temples again!

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