The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag Statue park

Neglected Statue Park

I’ve been living in Taiwan for more than ten years now but funnily enough it’s only recently that I’ve started to discover just how many odd places there are in this country. If you check the Taiwanese map for landmarks and tourist spots you’re not likely to find them, which is part of the reason it took me so long. However, if you take the time to explore the back streets, country roads and other less touristic parts of the country, and you pay a little bit of extra attention to your surroundings, you might stumble on some such place … Read the rest

The big Indochina trip: the road to Thakhek 

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 … Read the rest

Xieng Khuan Buddha park, 10:36 am

I’m on the stairs up to a small shrine atop a kind of obelisk-like stupa. The stairs are so steep and the steps so narrow it feels more like a ladder than actual stairs; there are no railings, nothing to hold on to, and it feels very precarious standing here. Behind and beneath me a whole bunch of statues are spread out across a field of green grass. They depict all manner of gods and creatures from Buddhist and Hindu mythology, each more fantastical than the next. This place is just fascinating.… Read the rest

Xieng Khuan Buddha park, 10:10 am

I am at the center of a large, ball-like concrete structure. The Windows to the outside only let in minimal light and I sweep my flashlight around me to see where I am. The room I’m in is some kind of representation of Buddhist hell because lining the walls is a large number of statues depicting terrible scenes: demons preparing to behead humans, snake people twirling around each other in dance, and gods holding skulls in their hands. I know they are only statues and it’s the middle of the day but still kind of creepy.… Read the rest

Xieng Khuan Buddha park, 10:02 am

In front of me is a giant, pumpkin-like structure, a big ball with lots of little windows around the circumference. On the top is a kind of spire, branching out in the middle to form a sort of eye like pattern against the blue sky. A couple of people are walking around on the small platform around the spire, looking at the view. Right in front of me is a large, terrible face with angry eyes and gaping mouth that acts as the entrance to the structure. It is one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in a long … Read the rest

Cihu memorial sculpture park 2:53 pm

Camera in hand I’m trying to portray this bizarre place but I keep failing. I either stand too far away which makes the statues look small and insignificant, or get too close so you cannot see the big picture. Then it strikes me, I have an excellent way of portraying something that can’t be captured on camera: these very words. So what is it that I find so hard to take a good photo of? The memorial sculpture park in Cihu is a rather stretched out park in a remote township in northern Taiwan. The green lawns are criss crossed … Read the rest

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