Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sala Kaew Ku and Laos!

Sala Kaew Ku (or Sala Keoku, or various other spellings) is a wierd buddist/hindu sculpture park just outside of Nang Khai. It was built over 20 years and it's a combination of buddist and hindu stories that were from a, cult, I guess... There's lots more info here.

There's a 20baht entry fee, but when I turned up I only had a 1000baht note and 2 baht in coins, and they didn't have change so they just let me in anyway. ~66 cent entry for free! I win!

Wierd statue eating something

Budda meditating under a seven headed Naga. This one is big. Very big. Somewhere between 20 and 25 meters tall.

Beating a turtle. The text below means something. Obviously.

Not sure what this one means. Well, that can be said about everything here.

This was the inner part of the wheel of time.

This was the way into the wheel of time... 

More big and small statues.

Another view, and that really big Naga/Budda one back there.

It's me!
So I've no idea what any of it means. I can't find good descriptions of the statues, or translations of the text below some of them. The guidebook said they had English names on some but I didn't see any.

Before I went out there one of the staff of the hotel I was staying in came over to me while I was packing my bike. They said in broken English that I couldn't stay the next night because they were booked. Which was odd, because I told them I was going to stay that night when I checked in... So I headed into Laos a day earlier than intended, it just meant I had to rush around and make sure I had some US$'s for the visa and maps so I could get into Vientiane.

Leaving Thailand was pretty straight forward, except on the Thai side of the friendship bridge there are signs up saying that motorbikes are not allowed to cross. I asked everyone if it was ok for me to go across and they all said yes. As I'm leaving the customs/immigration area on the bike I see a little toll booth, I wondered how much I'd have to pay but motorbikes weren't listed on the sign, then they started saying "stay left stay left!" as I got closer, and now I understood what the customs guy meant by "stay left"...

The Lao side was fairly easy too, just a lot of waiting. Get forms, get Visa on arrival for $30US, go to customs and get the bike si....Oh right, it was 12:30 by that time and most of customs goes on break. I went and got some insurance while I waited (who were also at lunch), then waited around more until customs were back and had signed my carnet. It took about 2 hours to get through I think. Then it was riding into Vientiane, and in Laos they drive on the right, so I was concentrating on that, then they throw a roundabout into that mix, look left, not right! I scared some guy on a bike as I temporarily forgot to ride on the right on a side street.

And now I'm just figuring out what to do next. Might stay here another night before heading north though.

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