Just East of Vientiane, about twenty kilometers, lies a unique curiosity. Temples and pagodas dedicated to Buddha aren’t uncommon in the region, in fact they dot the landscape like freckles. Often the golden shrines blend into one another, and as a solo tourist, it’s easy to quickly mistake one for another. In Laos tours, however, the religious dedication spills over to a personal shrine, a beautiful anomaly.
The concrete Buddha park outside of Vientiane is a true wonder, an act of dedication that stands out for its modernity. Whereas most temples and statues you tend to see on travels through the region are hundreds if not thousands of years old, the Buddha park was built by an individual mere decades ago, in 1958. This mystic’s dedication is shown beautifully through the enormous statues of both Buddha and a variety of Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as fantastic beasts, real and imaginary.
Prior to arriving in Laos, my plan had been to rent a motorbike and trek there myself, across the countryside. Fortunately for me, I decided to hire a private tour guide, who advised me that, especially around the time I was there, the police were on the lookout for tourists driving around the area. It was common to find tourists pulled over for minor infractions, paying “fines” to the police for their drivers' licenses back. It would’ve been a minor inconvenience, but one I didn’t want to deal with. Private tours like this, weren’t initially appealing to me, as I normally like to travel alone in laos, xperiencing the area and the culture for myself. In this case, however, a private Vientiane tour was perfect.