“The Mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a Mountain”
Sitting in the confluence of Ming River, Qingyi River and Dadu River, Leshan is a city of Sichuan well-known for its natural landscape and Buddha scenic spots. There are two main attractions: Leshan Great Buddha and Mount Emei. Unfortunately, I only have time to visit the Great Buddha.
Getting to Leshan
Leshan has no airport; however, it’s very close to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport where you can get a train or bus to Leshan.
You can get a bus that runs directly to Leshan from Xinnanmen bus station in Chengdu. Purchase your ticket before getting on the bus at the ticket office for a fixed price of RMB48 (USD7) per person. The journey is about 2-hours.
When you arrive at Leshan bus station, walk out onto the main road and you will see a bus stop. Hop on Bus 13 which will take you directly across the road from the Leshan Giant Buddha. The bus costs just 1 Yuan and you will need the exact amount, as you will not receive change.
Trains leave regularly from Chengdu East Railway Station to Leshan, and even the first-class fare is under USD10. The trip takes between an hour and 30 minutes and is a great way to check out the Chinese countryside.
Once you arrive at Leshan train station, walk out to the bus stop and hop on to Bus 3 to the site. The bus costs just 1 Yuan and you will need the exact amount, as you will not receive change.
How BIG is the Great Buddha?
Carved directly into the cliff face, this massive Buddha measures 71-meters (233 feet) high and 24-meters (78 feet) wide. It’s a Maitreya Buddha that represents a hopeful, loving, and peaceful future. The construction took 90 years to complete and has been keeping watch over the Leshan landscape for 1,300 years.
Ways to view the Great Buddha
To get up close to the Buddha you will need to enter through the mountain where the ticketing counter is. The hike can take at least an hour. You will walk along the plank pathways to enjoy the changing view from various angles of the Buddha, from its head to its foot. This option is not for people who are afraid of heights as pathways are steep and narrow.
The cost to go on this lengthy hike up the mountain is 90 Yuan (USD12). If you choose this option, I would highly advise you to arrive early to avoid the crowds to walk the steps to the Buddha. This ticket allows you to visit all other sites within the mountain excluding the sightseeing boat.
Alternatively, you can visit the Leshan Giant Buddha on a sightseeing boat. This will let you view the Buddha from a distance and get a panoramic view of it. The cost of the ferry to the big Buddha and back is 70 Yuan (USD10) per person and the trip takes 30-40 minutes.
When to go?
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction for both Chinese nationals and visitors. If you want to minimize your chances of having to fight through throngs of people, it’s a good idea to avoid Chinese public holidays and plan your trip properly. I went during Winter season which is least crowded and you can enjoy discounted ticket price!
Lastly, if you want to keep a track of all my photos and travels, remember to follow @wanderrsaurus on Instagram!