Leshan was somewhere I knew we had to go when I was reading about Sichuan. I’ve seen a lot of Buddhas during our time in Asia, but I knew this one was special.
Leshan is located about an hour outside of Chengdu via bullet train. The town itself is a lot more developed than I was expecting, and had I known, we would have booked 1 night there and saved the time going to Emei (which is just 30 minutes past Leshan). Still, it was a beautiful train ride and not long enough to be a big deal.
Didi’s (Chinese Ubers) can’t take you all the way to the mountain, so you get dropped off at the entrance of the park. It’s about 1km from the entrance to the ticket office. You get to walk through a lovely town though, and you can stop for food or drinks along the way. It’s a really nice walk!
Because my leg still causes me quite a few problems when it comes to ramps and stairs, we decided to skip climbing up the mountain to the top of the Buddha, and instead took a boat to see it from the front. Whether you want to take a boat or enter the park to climb the mountain, you’ll need to get tickets. For the boat, it was about 80rmb ($16 Canadian).
The view from the boat was spectacular! We were blown away by the size of the Leshan Buddha carving and the level of detail in it as well. The way you come up on it by the boat is truly something to see. Even if you want to hike the mountain, I’d suggest you do the boat tour as well.
After marveling at this incredible feat of artistry and engineering, we wanted to learn more about its history and construction, so we walked back towards to museum that can be found near the entrance to the park.
At the museum, you can learn about the construction of the Buddha, as well as the maintenance that has been done to it over the last 1300 years. There were some great visuals there to help people understand the amount of work that went into this grand carving, and I left there with a better appreciation for the Leshan Buddha. We learned there is a Buddha carving in Hangzhou as well (though not as big) so we’re planning to visit that one next.
I don’t think anyone should leave Sichuan without taking a trip to this beautiful mountain town, to see its incredible giant Buddha.
I’ll be back soon with more about some incredible engineering from ancient China!!!