The Nong Khai region of Thailand is located close to the border with Laos and a short distance from its capital Vientiane. If you are looking for somewhere memorable to visit in the area that showcases some of the best Buddhist aspects of Thailand, a trip to the Sala Keoku aka Sala Keo Kou Park in Nong Khai is an interesting choice.
The Sala Keoku park and temple is sometimes referred to as Wak Khaek and is home to a number of large stone sculptures that are intrinsically inspired by Thailand’s Buddhist roots.
More About Nong Khai? Read our Thai Lao Friendship Bridge Post.
Sala Keoku a Nong Khai Attraction
Located within close proximity to the border and the historic Mekong River, the park has become a popular place with tourists over the past ten years.
The park was originally constructed back in 1978 and enjoys a very memorable style, using Buddhist symbols and was created by the Buddhist architect Sulilat. It is very similar to the Buddha Park, which is located on the opposite side of the Mekong in Laos but is even more flamboyant and monumental.
Some of the concrete sculptures will literally blow your mind, reaching up to 25 meters in height in some places. Check out the sculpture that is a depiction of Buddha meditating whilst being protected by the seven-headed serpent gods, the Naga.
Sulilat’s main architectural style merges ancient legends with reoccurring themes based on Buddhist legends, while also displaying a very naturalistic feel.
Wheel of Life
One of the most famous and certainly the most intriguing part of the park is the impressive Sala Keoku Wheel of Life, which is represented by a grouping of sculptures in a circle that mimic the karmic way of the universe. The cycle represents the path of birth to death, or as we in the West like to call it, cradle to grave. The cycle finishes with a man becoming enlightened and reaching the position of Buddha.
Another popular landmark at the park is the Sala Keoku pavilion, which is a three-story building made from concrete that looks very much like a Muslim mosque. The building was actually constructed after Sulilat passed away with the third floor actually holding his ashes, his mummified body and a load of artefacts.
The park enjoys lots of visitors, especially at weekends as locals flock to see the sculptures. One of the great things about the park is that it’s only 20 THB to get in, which is immense value for money.
Outside the park, you will find an area with lots of souvenir stalls, food vendors and even lottery ticket sellers. The place has a nice feel of tranquilly and excitement.
Map & More
Sala Keoku Park
Address: Wat That, Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai 43000, Thailand
Entry Fees: Tourists 20 THB.
GPS Location: 17.867874, 102.844067