I’ve been on the road for two days now. My goal was Thakhek which is just a little bit too far to do in one day.
Just a short distance outside Vientiane is a park called Xieng Khuan Buddha park. It is meadow full of Buddhist and Hindu statues. Though many of them look ancient they were made using concrete starting in 1958 by a priest-shaman called Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat. The statues depict all manner of gods and creatures out of Buddhist and Hindu mythology; it’s a mix between weird and scary. The most prominent statue is a large pumpkin like thing, the inside of which depicts Buddhist hell.
The hell pumpkin
Corridor inside the pumpkin
Angry god holding a skull
Demon preparing to decapitate some poor fellow
Some serpent people
View from the top of the pumpkin
Scenes from the life of the Buddha
This woman seems strangely happy for someone whose lower body is being eaten by a snake
Three headed elephant, why not
Kind of stupa at the end of the park
The park from the other end
Pulling a grasshoppers leg for some reason
This guy is really scary
This is also a strange scene
Strange looking guy with dangerous shoes
Multi faced guy with a skull hat
Lots of buddhas
Me in the mouth of the hell pumpkin
After visiting the statue park I set off towards Thakhek. The first few kilometers after leaving the park was dirt road and though it’s not the worst I’ve been on during this trip it was a pretty good baptism of fire for my new and improved luggage rack. I am happy to report that the rack held up, seemingly without damage. Once I got back on the main road things went smoothly. I stopped for the night in a small town called Pakxan, nothing much to see there but there was a decent guesthouse; the lady at the reception actually spoke good english.
The road from the statue park (the not so bumpy part)
I left Pakxan in the morning, thinking it might take some time but it was smooth going and I reached Thakhek early afternoon. I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the next part of my journey, looking up maps and buying provisions. In the evening I met a Dutch couple who have been traveling by motorbike all the way from the Netherlands. We spent the eving drinking beer and swapping stories of bad roads and breakdowns.