As part of our journey in Chengdu, we took a day trip to Leshan. Leshan is the site of the Dafo, or Giant Buddha. This one was carved out of a stone mountain by monks. It took 90 years. This statue and the surrounding buildings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the other sights around include temples, bridges, and some tombs from the Han Dynasty era. Given that the Han is the most predominant ethnicity in China, seeing anything from the Han dynasty (very ancient Chinese history) connects you right back to the ancestors of about a third of the world population. Pretty incredible when you think about it.
Again, traveling in China during the winter, specifically Christmas vacation, is ideal, since it’s not a Chinese holiday. So take any attraction and subtract all the Chinese tourists. Much nicer – the Chinese take their heritage sites seriously, and when they go, of course, it’s a horde that can make a 30 minute visit take HOURS. Fortunately for us, we went to Leshan in this Christmas break circumstances, on a Monday, and on an overcast day. Jackpot.
This is the first time in over 2 years living in China Cameron and I have taken a public bus. Leshan is only a two-hour bus ride from Chengdu. Very easy day trip. We took the 7:30am bus and were on a bus back to Chengdu by 2:30pm. This area is quite extensive and there is a lot to see, so don’t come in a hurry – the stairs are also pretty steep. You will feel this on your knees when if you are in shape. Which we are not. There is a popular option to take a boat down the river and see the Buddha from there. We didn’t do it, but I would personally not recommend it. Cameron is not a fan of anything that involves a prescribed cookie cutter tour, and there is a reason for that. Usually that means that someone else dictates what you will see at the attraction you go to. You’re not on your own time. And you might miss on some very interesting stuff just because someone else hasn’t figured out how to make money off tourists with it, or because it’s a detour from the main attraction.
Pictures are courtesy of Cameron and our trusty Nikon. Enjoy!
Cameron and Ana