Back to Vientiane and Laos again!
Since I had seen most of the sights and places in the rather quiet capital of Laos and having written posts about it, I only spent a few days here on this trip.
One place I had missed on my previous trip was Xieng Khuan Buddha Park, which is about 24 km southeast of Vientiane. I had forgotten how far it was and given the cold temperatures in December and January, I was freezing all the way to the park on the back of a tuk-tuk.
The park itself was built back in 1958 and contains monumental Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. That in itself would not be enough reason for me to visit the park but having the chance to visit it with a Buddhist monk was something completely different and gave me first hand information about what we were actually seeing here.
Visiting with a monk also meant that we had to plan a lunch at the park, since monks have to eat before 12 noon, which is their last meal for the rest of the day. The tuk-tuk took us almost an hour and we were solid frozen by the time we arrived, so lunch happened rather quickly after our arrival at the small cafe at the Mekong river. The prices are tourist prices and the selection was very limited, but having a warm meal and drink was absolutely essential.
Given the long way back to the city and the increased traffic around early afternoon, Xieng Khuan Buddha Park turns into a half day trip. Strong negotiations skills with the tuk-tuk driver also help, but since they usually have to wait for for the duration of the visit, I also wanted to pay him a fair price.