Wat Xieng Kuane and Muang Ngoi Neua - Most famous attractions in Laos
Having witnessed a very strong growth in tourism, Laos is becoming more and more popular among tourists all over the world. Of tourist attractions in Laos, we would like to present to you the two most famous: Wat Xieng Kuane and Muang Ngoi Neua.
Wat Xieng Kuane
Wat Xieng Kuane is a Buddha Park
Xieng Kuane, also called Xieng Khuan is in fact a Buddha sculpture park. Located 25 kilometers away to the southeast from the country’s capital – Vientiane, Xieng Kuane Wat is built on a meadow on riverside of Mekong River.
The name Xieng Kuane (or Xieng Khuan) means Spritit City, meanwhile the word “Wat” is “temple” in Lao. Because it contains a variety of religious images, the park is often referred as Wat Xieng Kuane though it is not a real temple. Specifically, there are over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues placed in the area of the park.
The giant Buddha statue
Its history might start long ago in 1958. The famous attraction in Laos was built by a priest-shaman named Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat. His integration of Hinduism and Buddhism made up his unique perspective, which was originally caused by the influence of a Hindu rishi (a Hindu sage or saint) when Bunleua Sulilat studied in Vietnam.
In the period of after the revolution in 1975, a surge of anxiety about the repercussions of the rule of Pathet Lao was becoming more obvious when he decided to flee from Laos to Thailand. The story continued as he built another sculpture park in Nong Khai, Thailand. Both parks are constructed right next to the Thai – Lao border (Mekong River) and only a few kilometers apart from each other.
The statues are made of reinforced concrete and designed in ornate, even in bizarre patterns sometimes. The statues vary in characters, shapes and sizes. They range from sculptures of humans, gods, animals to demons. Specially, there are numerous sculptures of Buddha, characters of Buddhist beliefs like Avalokitesvara, as well as characters of Hindu lore such as Shiva, Vishnu and Arjuna.
The sculptures are made in many characters
In addition, there is one notable sculpture which resembles a giant pumpkin. It has three stories representing three levels, including Hell – Earth – Heaven.
Muang Ngoi Neua
Muang Ngoi Neua is a beautiful town in Laos
Located about 170 kilometers to the northeast of Luang Prabang, Muang Ngoi Neua is a small town with a small population, lying along the lush Nam Ou River.
Not surprisingly, if you love walking or hiking, the town of Muang Ngoi Neua won't make you disappointed. Fresh air from nature, scenic scenery of rice fields, and mountain stretching along the Nam Ou River create a tranquil and calm Ngoi Neua.
Muang Ngoi Neua in sunset
It is obvious to recognize a strong development of this town. Tourists coming to this famous attraction in Laos nowadays do not find it difficult to look for restaurants, cafes, and hotels.
It is not difficult to find a guesthouse in Muang Ngoi Neua
Although it may take about 2.5 hours by car to get to this beautiful town from Nong Kiew, Muang Ngoi Neua deserves to be an ideal starting point for any eco-tours. Muang Ngoi Neua tour might be sorted for backpack tourists only; however, it would be worth the money if you can spend some time to explore hills, rivers and fields here.
Especially, your tour will be more valuable than ever as it gives you chance to visit and see in person how the people in surrounding villages live. Some tourists advise that visitors should hire themselves a bike or motorbike to be more convenient as well as to be able to visit all villages in the area.
Bana village is a peaceful place to visit
Mostly people travel by boat from Nong Kiew to get there. The boat trips often depart in the morning and cost about LAK 25,000. Please remember that the town has no ATM, which means visitors have to bring local cash. Moreover, electricity will be cut off by hour in villages; that is why tourists need to ask before deciding to stay overnight.
MORE: Overview of Laos
Only when visitors go to these two attractions do they realize their beauty. Traveling, exploring and experiencing the normal life of local people will make you love the nature as well as feel thankful to the beautiful life. Let's come the two famous attractions in Laos: Wat Xieng Kuane and Muang Ngoi Neua and enjoy more.