The Giant Buddha

Leshan Travel Blog

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The Leshan Giant Buddha.

On Sunday morning I got up and checked out of my hotel.  The location of the Traffic Inn is really convenient, as it is literally right behind the Xinnanmen Bus Station.  I just walked down the block and around the corner to the ticket office.  My plan for the day was to go to Emei Shan, where my next hotel was, but to stop in Leshan on the way so I could see the Giant Buddha that is carved into the mountain.  All of this would be done by bus.  When I got to the ticket window, the person asked me if I wanted to go to Leshan city, or directly to the Giant Buddha.  What luck!, I thought.  This must be a new service.  My guidebook didn't mention the option to go straight to the site, just to go to the city bus stations and then take public buses to the site.

His ears are bigger than people.
"Giant Buddha, please!" I said. 

There was a major flaw in this change of plan.  I momentarily forgot that I had been planning to leave my luggage at the bus station while I went to the site.  Instead, I rode a minivan that dropped me off directly there, and there was no place to leave my luggage.  Let me mention that, like many of the sites I've visited here, visiting the GB requires climbing a LOT of stairs.  Lots of stairs + full luggage = very bad day.  My suitcase is actually both a suitcase and a backpack, so you can roll or carry it.  But on stairs, it must be carried.  It had to weigh at least 50 lbs.  The site contains lots of sections, including temples, gardens, and pavillions.  I climbed all of the stairs up to the GB's head.

  (I didn't start from the bottom, the minivan gave me a decent headstart.)  By that time I was covered in a thick layer of slimey sweat, and my legs were trembling whenever I stood still.  I took a couple photos of the head from different angles.  There is a staircase you can take that allows you to get really close to the statue, and go all the way down to the feet.  I had been looking forward to doing this, but it was out of the question now with the pack.  I decided to give up on the rest of the GB experience (even though I had paid a steep entrance price by Chinese standards) and try to move on to Emei Shan.  The site has 3 entrances, and I had already walked so far that I figured I must be closer to one of the other entrances.  So I started searching for the exits, relying on the signs posted on the way. 

As I've found at other sites, these signs were not very reliable.  So I wandered around in various directions and kept getting confused.  And then came another encounter with a friendly stranger.  As I was trudging along, a young Chinese guy came up next to me and mentioned the Air Canada luggage tag on my pack.  At first I thought that he was just trying to practice a little English, but he explained that while he was born in China, he's lived in Canada since 2000.  He was trying to find the exit as well, and so we started searching together.  He could speak Mandarin, which made the task much easier for him.  Since I woke that morning I had only had a piece of fruit and a granola bar, so I really needed to eat.  We passed by a small restaurant along the path, and ordered mapo dofu and cokes.  I recovered a bit from my struggles with the luggage as we had a nice chat.  Then we found the exit and he helped us find transport to our respective next destinations.  I hopped onto another minivan that took me on to Emei Shan. 

westwind57 says:
Did you venture to take the stairs and boardwalk at the foot of the statue? And if you did, was it worth it? We gave it a miss because it was so crowded and we would have had to be in queue for an hour or so, because these stairs are quite narrow.
Posted on: Nov 30, 2012
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The Leshan Giant Buddha.
The Leshan Giant Buddha.
His ears are bigger than people.
His ears are bigger than people.
photo by: spocklogic