Continued from Thailand – Laos Travel: Day 12 – Part 1 – Good Morning Nong Khai, Border Crossing & Hello Vientiane! For pre-travel, please refer here.
Note: This post is very long because I present all the pictures from every corner of this area to the point where you don’t have to come here.
Oh God, even in 2020, I’m still writing about the same travel story? Persevere to complete post after post. Don’t worry, the remaining 3-4 posts will finish all these stories.
Ok after we boarded bus number 157, the bus continued towards Buddha Park which is a park full of stone carvings by a local man named Luang Pu. It was first built in 1958. It should be noted, this place is not a place in the name of history that is hundreds of years old as it is in Ayutthaya.
The journey takes 30 minutes with a distance of only 8 km from Thanaleng border crossing.
This is about the history of Buddha Park in brief. Its founder, Luang Pu or the real name Bunleua Sulilat, during his youth, wandered in a forest and suddenly fell into a cave. There, he met Keoku, a spiritual mentor. The name Keoku is immortalized as Sala Keoku, referring to the real name of this Buddha Park in the local language. Psst… talking about spiritual mentors, I must have imagined like a guru in the movie Kung Fu Panda in the form of a tortoise. After studying with Keoku, Sulilat showed a significant interest in making stone sculptures referring to his previous understanding of studies and began in 1958. As a result of the communist revolution in 1975, he brought himself to Thailand by crossing the Mekong River.
Three years later, he returned to the original site of this Buddha Park and resumed the work of carving stone statues. The uniqueness of its sculpture is because it combines the spiritual artistic value of the shadow of the supernatural that exists in two faiths namely Buddhism and Hinduism. He eventually earned the respect of the locals and earned the title of Luang Pu, which is a title that should have been earned by high-level monks. However, some locals say that he is mentally ill.
A few years before he died in 1996, he had fallen from one of his builds and sustained internal injuries. As a result, it affected his health until he died.
The story of the construction of this carved stone reminds me of the story of Ayah Pin in Terengganu a long time ago…
This is the entrance to Buddha Park.
But before entering, we hung out outside to stretch our bodies because we would go inside by carrying the weight of the backpack fully while walking.
It turns out that there is a lot of dust here. Although the main roadside lands have piles of sand for road paving work, I am sure the situation around Laos is indeed dusty everywhere. In Cambodia, it is also said to have a similar situation.
Look at the dust on the street on the other side and the lands in the inner parking lot of Buddha Park.
Anyway, we took a picture of the memories at the entrance gate first. Later, if we are tired, there will be no mood to take pictures.
The park is open from 8.00 am to 5 pm.
This is the payment counter located next to the entrance gate. The entrance fee for each visitor is 5000 Kip, approximately MYR2.30 according to the current exchange rate. In my opinion, the price is very cheap and children under 6 are excluded. Bring a camera? Need to add 4000 Kip which is equivalent to MYR1.85. It is not very expensive.
Note: We paid in Baht because we did not have the opportunity to exchange currency and have not reached the capital Vientiane yet.
Here is the ticket.
Near the entrance, we were also interested in the roasted (or smoked) bananas sold there.
Apart from smoked bananas, there are also local products such as peanuts, sweet potatoes and others.
Roasted corn is also available as well as a pomelo. We only bought baked bananas, four pieces and just to taste.
For those with small children, here is also entertainment for them.
While Aqif was playing, we also tasted the smoked banana we bought earlier.
A little history about this place.
Gathering area for any public event or religious ceremony here.
Here there are also grocery stores. If you are coming from the Thai border and have not checked in to the hotel, you can also relax here.
It was time for us to enter the courtyard of the area where there are interesting buildings.
On the left side of the main route to this compound, there is an information center.
This is the inside of Buddha Park, quite spacious as well. At the far end, there is still a lot more architecture and sculpture but in a small form.
Round-shaped architecture. I’ll show you the inside later. Yes, to enter it must enter through the mouth of the gods. When looking at this picture, I thought, maybe this round architecture is his belly?
In ancient times, the science of spirituality or more precisely the science of divinity was very widespread. Look at his right finger. This is what is called “old sharia” before the prophet Muhammad SAW. Also called Hanif religion, monotheistic religion or the religion of “The One” (the one god @ monotheism). In the past, many old teachings were credible. But now it is no longer when such statues are worshiped as gods. Whereas, they were educators in ancient times.
The round shape like a motorcycle sprocket in his left hand has a history and meaning in the science of divinity.
I was just about to pose for a picture, Aqif suddenly ran to climb the statue. This is the largest reclining Buddha statue I have ever seen.
Previous era? Willing to kneel to gain knowledge.
Nowadays? Worshipping it as a god.
The world is upside down …………
Reclining Buddha statue from the front view.
In spirituality, the palm of the hand is not a sign of rejecting an offer, but of ‘filling’. Ever seen people do spiritual healing? That’s the ‘filling’ I meant.
For the next post below, I present some pictures and interspersed descriptions for those pictures.
It is said that the figure who carved this place has got a picture of the shadow of nature or the supernatural dimension over there. Presumably, what is the shape of a deity in a real silhouette with snake legs? Looks really big.
Reptiles or cold-blooded animals are often associated with nature over there. In Islam, snakes are one of them. On the positive side, snakes are wisdom. And also, without the serpent, man has no chance of being expelled from heaven and living on earth in order to live a life of being a man of faith.
At first, I thought it was Ouroboros, but it wasn’t. There’s another name I’ve forgotten.
Had these all been real snakes, curled up, standing upright and many, it would have been horrifying and amused for some people. Luckily I’m not amused by snakes.
This area has reached the end, which is near the Mekong River. There is also an interesting hut there. Without further ado, we go straight to the hut.
We rested for a while here while enjoying the view of the Mekong River.
Unfortunately, between the fields to the river, there are rows of water lettuce and lotus plants.
There is no charge for renting this cottage. Just order any drinks. However, the price of drinks is a little expensive. Usually, the price of drinks will include the rent of the cottage which is calculated as a hidden price.
While Tatie rested in the hut and took care of the backpack, Aqif and I stepped to the end of the field.
To my right, there are also many more huts. For those who want to hang out here, it is better to choose the hut on the right for more privacy.
Excited to see the Mekong River up close.
I’m not sure whether it’s water lettuce or lotus plant. To be sure, this is the only limit we can reach.
What I found, the Mekong River for the part that passes through major cities is very polluted. The river water is already yellow.
View of the rest hut as a whole. It doesn’t look hot, but the heat is actually strong. This is why I started to have a fever.
I went back to the hut and suddenly next to us there were several young people dressed the same.
Climbing for success…
I’m not the type who likes to work halfway. But this one had to be halfway.
Just imagine that this thing is real and its body is in the ground but its mouth is on the ground surface. The round circle is a tooth.
As it lay down, you passed by him. He asked, “bro, where are you going?”
It looks like a sculpture that tells about the lives of ancient people who had children, but it’s not. This is an allusion to the life between the time before the soul descended into the world, the time during life in the world and the time after death (afterlife).
This is a scam. Not real monks but pretending to merely profit from alms from tourists. It will usually ensnare small-minded tourists who feel like “if I don’t contribute anything, who knows, maybe he’s an incarnation of an angel that appears to test us”.
Why don’t I pose like him ???
This is the tallest standing statue here. Almost equal to the height of a 4-story building.
I actually want to take pictures of these statues. Hopefully, that woman doesn’t think I intend to take a candid picture of her.
It was time for us to go inside, except for Tatie who was tired of exploring. I left my backpack with her.
The path inside looked like it was dusty but it wasn’t.
This is the inside, the atmosphere is like the underworld!
Coincidentally, there was a tourist here and I asked for his help to take a picture of us.
Calm down, the statue does not appear suddenly and cross next to us. He just stood there. Because I brought a small boy, we didn’t go up because the average stairs here are steep and quite high.
I don’t know the metaphor behind this scene of sitting while holding each other’s skulls.
When looking at the thorny mace he was holding, it turned out that this was symbolic of hell and torture.
One of the most beautiful pictures I ever took during this Thailand-Laos trip.
This round construction as a whole represents a metaphor to the ‘stomach’ i.e. the world of lust. Once trapped, fascinated and stunned, will accumulate all kinds of sins.
Ok, it’s time for us to leave this place. I’m really tired.
Waiting for bus number 14 again here. Then we had to take another bus when we arrived back in Thanaleng. Don’t be like us. As a result of being tired, we forget that the position to stop the bus is across the road (left-hand drive), not in the position where we stand as in Malaysia.
Somewhat suspenseful. In fact, the driver of bus number 14 was kind to enter in the opposite direction and stopped in front of the entrance of Buddha Park.
Aqif likes to sit in the back. This bus is not crowded.
After transiting in Thanaleng, we took bus number 10 to Vientiane city. There are many passengers. I also sat in the middle of the bus lane. The cool thing is, a small chair specially used for brushing clothes in the toilet is also provided to sit here in the middle!
There is a story here. As a result of the crowded passengers, there were two young Laotian women in traditional dress inviting me to sit in threes on a chair that could only be occupied by two people. If you are single, wow this is a chance! Even though my wife was just standing next to me, they were not shy to invite me to sit with them. That’s why I’m sitting on a plastic chair. I need to respect my wife.
Continue to the blog entry that caused our mood in Laos to be bland!