Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Leshan and Emei Shan

Friday 4 June: I arrive in Baoguo at the foot of China's most sacred Buddhist mountain, Emei Shan, stay in the delightfully named Teddy Bear Hotel and prepare for a mountain hike next day. It's raining so I visit Fuhu Monestery.
Saturday 5: It's raining hard so I take a local buses to visit the Grand Buddha at Leshan, at 321ft high, 28ft wide and with big toes 28ft long it's the world's largest Buddha statue - it's awful. The Buddha is fine but in typical Chinese fashion it's part of an expensive Disneyland style theme park, it's so crowded I queue for nearly an hour to see the huge statue. Once again, at 90 yaun, the Chinese are cashing-in on religious sites.
Sunday 6: It's raining so no trekking again today. The cloudy views from the summit are just not worth the effort. I visit Shanjue Temple instead but the whole of the UNESCO World Heritage mountainside is a theme park with concrete waterfalls and tour bus hoards. It's 150 yaun (£15) just to enter the National Park plus entrance fees for the various temples so instead I reserve my hard sleeper (the berths are actually soft it's just a six berth open door compartment) to Kunming. A stocky cyclist peddles me from the Emei bus terminus to the train station on a sanlunche or pedicab, a pedal-powered tricycle with a bench seat on the back for passengers (53rd mode of transport), and I'm on my way again - sleeper to Kunming, bus to Dali.
Photos of Leshan and Emei Shan.

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