Friday, February 15, 2013

A Visit to Leshan Giant Buddha

Day 14 (4th November 2012)

I have still not recovered. As was usual for the last two days, I would take breakfast, go to the loo, wait for the stomach to "calm" down before embarking on any activities and skip lunch.

I was again debating whether I should go to Jinding Peak/ Golden Summit at Emei Shan. Considering the four hours on the road itself to and back from Leidonping Bus Station, I was wondering how I would make it to Leshan Giant Buddha and onward to Chengdu before nightfall. Which was more important for me to visit? The first time I saw Leshan Giant Buddha was on the silver screen in the Chinese series The Storm Riders starring Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng. I was amazed that such a giant exist and when I found that it was in Sichuan, I had told myself that I must visit the place. Emei Shan by contrast did not hold such an attraction. It was there by default and its attraction was as a World Heritage site. In the end, I decided that Leshan Giant Buddha was more important for me.

By the time I made up my mind, it was already 11:00 a.m. I was ready to go. Being a weekend and expecting a crowd there, I was not too enthusiastic of queuing up for hours while carrying a backpack and a camera and climbing up and down Leshan Giant Buddha. I had decided to take a boat to see Leshan Giant Buddha. It is faster and less tiring and I would be able to see the whole Buddha. In addition, I would be able to see the other two smaller statues beside it.

The bus from Baoguo Bus Station stopped momentary at Emei Shan Bus Station before proceeding to Leshan city. On the way, I overheard the driver having a conversation with a passenger about Leshan Giant Buddha. If I understood them correctly, he was saying that she could take a bus no. 13 to see Leshan Giant Buddha. In addition, he was saying there were three bus stations at Leshan now, unlike previously where there was only one. Visitors need to go to a Xiaoba Bus Station to catch the no. 13 bus.

On reaching Leshan Xiaoba Bus Station, the driver pointed to a waiting bus no. 13. A number of passengers went over but I was looking around for taxis. A tout walked up to me and wanted to take me there but I told him to take me to the pier as I wanted to take a boat to see Giant Buddha. He quoted me RMB20. As we approached his car, I remembered I should be more wary of these touts. I hesitated and told him that his was not a taxi. As I began to walk away towards a few stationary taxis, he lowered his price to RMB15 but he kept following me. I told him never mind and continued walking. There was only one taxi left, with a woman driver. I asked her for the price and she quoted RMB30. Umm! I pondered for a while and asked the tout but his price has climbed back to RMB20. The lady driver refused to lower her price. I was standing there unable to make a decision. Finally, I climbed into the taxi, having not wanted to face a tout who would be giving me trouble once I got into his car.

While on the way, I asked her which bus station I should go to take a bus back to Chengdu. She advised me to go to Xiaoba Bus Station.

She dropped me near the pier and pointed to me the direction to the wharf. I went over. Somebody there noticed me going down the stairs without an entrance ticket and asked me to buy one. The ticket office was close by at the pier head.

The price was RMB70 and covered insurance and the cost of the boat fare. A ticket inspector was sitting on one of the boats checking the tickets before the passengers could get on board the tourist boat. On the boat, there were Russians, Cantonese speaking people, Koreans and Chinese. There were not many passengers.

The distant from the pier to the Giant Buddha is very near. I was in the boat by 12:50 p.m. and it left for Giant Buddha at about 1:15 p.m. It stopped in front of the Giant Buddha for about 10 minutes only before returning to the pier.

From the pier, I flagged down a taxi. After waiting for him to make a U-turn, I asked him for the price. He said it was a metered fare. I got into the taxi and in barely a few minutes, arrived at Xiaoba Bus Station. The fare was RMB8.20 and he charged me RMB8 only.

The lady driver took RMB30 from me and made the journey long by taking 15 - 20 minutes to arrive at the pier while the return journey took minutes and costing me RMB8 only.


  1. Your blog is informative. I plan to travel from Chengdu to Emei Shan by bus in the morning, stay overnight at Emei Shan and then the next day, go to Leshan to see the Dafo. From there, I plan to travel back to Chengdu. Is this do-able?

    Also, is it a better view to climb Dafo rather than take the ferry tour?

    Thanks, Adventurer

    1. Yes, it is do-able.

      In fact, I wanted to climb Dafo but did not do it due to a lack of time. Climbing Dafo will get you to feel the size of Dafo's toes while taking a boat allow you a 10 minutes glance only.