Thailand

Nong Khai’s Sala Keoku

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Normally, I prefer to be sober. But for my latest trip outside the country, I wished I had better and heavier drugs than cough drops and cold medicine. Perhaps it would have made my visa run more enjoyable, then again, probably not.

I stayed over in Nong Khai on my way back from Vientiane, and I’m glad I did. Nong Khai is a border town, but unlike Vientiane, where you feel like you’re in hell’s waiting room, Nong Khai has some touristic attractions that I wanted more time to see.

However, time did allow for me to go to Sala Keoku or Salakeawkoo which is a bizarre sculpture park created Boun Leua Sourirat in the late 1970s.


This park is supposedly an inspiration derived from years of living with a hermit named Keoku that Sourirat met in a cave. With Keoku he learned about Buddha and the underworld.

From Mut Mee Guest House, the park is about 7km and as soon as I walked up, I muttered to myself, “I’m entirely too sober for this.”

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Salakeawkoo, Nong Khai, 2014

Something that the photos cannot truly convey is the grandness of the statues, some of which are 25m or 82 feet tall. Usually, in Thailand there is only one large statue, the Buddha, at a temple, but at Sala Keoku there are so many awesome statues that you feel like you have stumbled upon sleeping giants.

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15 thoughts on “Nong Khai’s Sala Keoku

  1. I wonder how long it took to create these statues. In Europe there is of course nothing like that or even similar with the exceptions of the grand cathedrals in some old towns and cities. Also in China I had not the luck to visit something like that, once again of course there were many interesting sights but all were basically tourist traps but from you pictures is looks like that there are not too many people swarming everywhere

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    1. No, I saw just a handful of people. And I was the only foreigner 😛

      I’m not sure how long the statues took, but I know people helped the artist for free. They believed in him and followed him like a cult leader.

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    1. I’d actually like to see more of Issan, so I’m hoping this winter to do some travelling out there. I think it’s the “undiscovered” Thailand.

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      1. I agree. This kind of ‘off the beatrn track’ travel is hard with the boy. Maybe i’ll have to come back in a few years. Ho hum 🙂

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  2. This is awesome Lani! I love the giant head statue! I can’t imagine how fantastic it would be to be surrounded by all of these giants – a camera snap happy place if I ever did see one!! 🙂
    ~ Andrea ❤

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    1. Yes, I took a lot of pictures and the sun was sometimes cooperative, too. It would be the kind of place where you could go back to – to play around with lighting and angles. Cheers 🙂

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  3. Several things- that first photo is amazing! Good shot! It does seem kinda creepy to have so many huge statues. I might feel like they’re about to come to life as an army or something. lol. And your face in that one picture is priceless! Love it!

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