Amazing big buddha and great way to enjoy other aspect of SIchuan besides the pandas!
We had a really great day. Its a long drive out to Leshan from Chengdu but we arrived in plenty of time to beat the big rush of people. Our guide was very friendly and spoke excellent English. The actual trek itself was a little more challenging than I had anticipated, especially going up.. but with a few little breaks it was very manageable. We were very lucky with lines, we barely had to wait at all and our guide said that in peak seasons it can be a 4hr wait to see the buddha.. something people should keep in mind when booking this tour during the popular months. The included lunch was also good… Not the best food I had while in Chengdu, but warm and filling after our big climb. It was a pretty perfect day, my only complaint (and its not an overly big one) is that neither our driver or our guide wore seat belts in the car despite being on a freeway at over 100kms an hour. It made the journey a little nerve wracking, especially considering how insane traffic is in China compared to what were used to at home. Would definitely recommend to anyone staying in Chengdu
The tour was an unforgettable experience--not always easy, but consistently fascinating. My guide, Andy, was well-informed, energetic, and enthusiastic. The Leshan Grand Buddha was worth the trip in itself--huge and impressive. I didn't make the long walk the down the stairway to its base--it was drizzling, and the stairs looked a bit slippery--but it was an awesome sight even from the top. The monastery at the base of Mt. Emai was serene, lovely, peaceful (or as peaceful as China gets). The ascent up Mt. Emai was a bit hair-raising--a couple of hours on steep mountain roads, many hairpin curves, and a driver who passed every vehicle we caught up with, including other tour buses--all while screaming at the other drivers for being too slow. The climb to the cable car and from the cable car to the peak was easy enough, and the ride in the cable car itself was spectacular--I gather that we were lucky, because we had a fairly clear day at least at first, and that is apparently only rarely the case. There are only a couple of minor reasons why I'm giving the tour 4 stars instead of 5. First, the description should have been more specific about what transpires on which day--I thought we were ascending the mountain on the first day and sleeping in a monastery on top--which affected when I took altitude pills. No, the monastery is at the base of the mountain. Second, my room at the monastery was deep inside it, off a conference room that a group of tourists used for meeting--very noisy--instead of on the outside, looking over the courtyard. The rooms themselves are fine, simple but comfortable, but the bathrooms are on a different level, and I did have a touch of turista--so that was a bit inconvenient. Nevertheless--a memorable experience.
Very nice tour guide and amazing buddha. We thought it was a real hike but even small children can do these stairs. Don't take the boat, but line up to walk down.
Be prepared for big crowds of people, the Grand Buddha is very popular. There is more then just the Grand Buddha to see, so ensure that if you want to walk down a path and see where is goes you tell the guide as there are some spots in the scenic area that people do not go to.
We skipped the very long wait in line to walk down the stairs to the foot of the Buddha and opted to take the boat instead which was extra but well worth it.
Our guide, Lilian, was very helpful and spoke English really well. She was very infomative about the history of the site. It was extremely crowded when we went, as it was during the Mid-Autumn festival, so she helped us buy tickets to see the Buddha from the river. The lunch was decent, from a little restaurant across the road and she let us help choose the meal. The only criticism I have is that my friend and I paid for a private tour and there was another lady (who also paid for a private tour) who joined us. She was pleasant, though and we all got along well.
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