I couldn’t go to China without seeing Leshan’s Giant Buddha! So while I was in Chengdu, I booked a day trip with Mix Hostel Backpackers to go to there.
Leshan’s Giant Buddha (also called Da Fo) is a tall stone statue (71 m/233 ft tall; shoulders are 28-metre wide), which was carved out of a cliff between years 713 and 803. It’s apparently the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world!
The Giant Buddha overlooks the confluence of Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers and faces the sacred Mount Emei. Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, has been officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Click here to read more about this.
Once you get there, you can admire the Buddha from a ferry and from a terrace next to its ears. The boat ride allows you to get a full view of the Buddha (take a 30-minute boat ride from Baxiandong Cruises Dock; it costs around ~75 CNY). From the terrace, you can then go down to the Buddha’s foot by using a narrow staircase built on the cliff. Don’t forget you’ll have to come back by climbing another set of stairs on the other side of the Buddha. Lots of steps, but it’s manageable!
Seeing this giant Buddha in its solemn stillness made me feel calm and peaceful. Like there was some kind of energy emerging from it. And that helped me enjoy my trip despite the agitated crowds around me!
Can you see tiny people on the upper right corner of the picture? It gives you a good idea how big the statue is.
Being a blue-eye-pale-skin-female made me a tourist attraction to the locals and Chinese tourists, who’ve asked me more than once to take pictures with them! A group of old Tibetan tourists dressed in traditionnal clothes were especially curious about me. They designated a women of their group who had the mission to come next to me and say hello. She was so cute and funny! Once I replied back, she smiled, looked really shy, and ran back to her group. That was priceless!
Other sights in the area
- Oriental Buddhist Park
- Lingyun Temple Museum (behind the terrace next to the statue’s ears): exhibits of the statue’s construction and renovations.
- Lingbao Pagoda
- Recommended time for a visit: one day
- Hungry? There are many Chinese restaurants where you can eat right outside the park. However, no employee seems to be fluent in English! You’ll just have to get by and try to order anyway (the ideal is to find a restaurant with pictured menus).
- Leshan’s Giant Buddha is a popular attraction, so don’t be surprised if it’s crowded! The sooner you get there the better!
- Avoid going there during the Spring Festival!
- Admission fee: 90 CNY (with an additionnal 75 CNY for boat trip)
- How to get there:
- Your best bet is to book a guided tour from Chengdu.
- You could also get a private taxi for the day, but it’s more expensive, considering it’s a 2-hour drive from Chengdu city (one way).