The construction of the Shakyamuni Buddha statue, which is expected to be the tallest of its kind in the world, commenced in the southern province of An Giang on March 5.

The 81-metre statue is being carved into the cliff of the western side of the Sam Mountain in the provincial Chau Doc city and located in the heart of a cluster of statues in the Sam mountain cultural park.

The project, worth approximately 255 billion VND (12 million USD), is expected to be constructed over five years with investment sourced from the Sam Mountain Monuments Management Board and donations from individuals and organisations at home and abroad.

Head of the Management Board Huynh Van Duong said once completed, the addition of the Shakyamuni Buddha statue will turn the cultural park into one of the most unique Buddhist parks nationwide.

The completion is also hoped to bring Sam Mountain tourist sites up to national standards and help them become major spiritual tourism destinations in the southern region and Vietnam, he added.

Chau Doc city is one of the political, economic and cultural centres of An Giang, which attracts over 5 million of tourists annually.

It is considered an important trade gateway of the province and the Mekong Delta with its proximity to other Southeast Asian countries.-VNA