About 3 weeks ago, some of my housemates brought up the idea of going to E-Mei Mountain (峨眉山) for one weekend. So plans were made, and we went on this trip on Saturday.
Day 1 (June 16)
Set my alarm clock at 4.50am but ended up waking up only around 5.15am. Hurriedly packed my remaining stuff into my bag and set off. We didn’t get any breakfast but reached the meeting place early. Our tour guide looked really young, like those university students, and the bus driver was quite friendly.After a few hours of travelling, we reached this crystal exhibition centre that was quite similar to the one we’d visited in Jiu Zhai Gou. The prices here were much cheaper but the cutting and the workmanship was not as good as the one at Jiu Zhai Gou. I bought something over here for my Mum. 🙂 (Shh… it’s a surprise)We finally reached Le Shan (乐山) or Le Mountain around 9.40am. Had to walk about 600m to the place. The area was quite foggy but the air was fresh. 🙂
View on the way to Le Shan
For those who don’t know, Le Shan is famous for the Grand Buddha, carved from the rocks on the mountain around 700AD. I was quite excited to be able to see the Grand Buddha because it is the biggest in the world and it would be cool to tell people that you’ve seen it.
We followed another tour guide over when we reached Le Shan; this petite lady whose surname is “Dai”. She brought us all over Le Shan. The highlight of Le Shan is the 71m tall Buddha statue made of rocks. Along the way up the mountain are small statues of dragons, people, tigers and all. She explained that it is best not to take pictures of some of the statues like one of this dragon without a body because according to their belief, it’ll bring bad luck in studies. And that dragon carving looks like it’s trapped in the wall. Another that was said to bring bad luck was one of a white tiger walking out of its cave.
Out of all the explanations, i particularly liked the one she explained about the character 佛 (fo2) or Buddha.
The petite tour guide
We climbed up the mountain to view the Grand Buddha’s head from the top, and to take pictures. There were people who would photograph you “touching” the Buddha. I wasn’t interested in it, so I didn’t pay for that. But I must say that it’s a very very beautiful sculpture.
Leshan Grand Buddha
View of the river from the top
A ferry from the top
Me. To prove to my mum that i was there.
We had to climb down these flight of stairs that were quite narrow and steep. At the foot of the Grand Buddha, tourists can buy incense to pray to the Buddha.
Had to climb all the way up again (through another route) before we could leave the place. There were paintings and words on the wall.
People repairing the paintings
Next stop was by this cave which one priest used to live in. The guide told us a story about him (which I honestly can’t remember the details except that he dug out his eyeballs) and that he used to live in the cave (which has nothing inside).
The cave he used to live in
While waiting for the rest
Friends buying sausages
Then we walked out of Le Shan, and saw this 13-storeyed pagoda where there are scriptures and the ashes of the priest I’d mentioned above are buried below it. The tour guide told us never to enter a 13-storeyed pagoda as it usually has some religious stuff buried under it and it would be disrespectful to enter the pagoda.
Is the pagoda straight or slanted?
The answer to that question is that the pagoda is straight, but because the ground we are standing on is slanted, that’s why we view the tower as slanted. Or as the tour guide said, “人正塔就正，人歪塔就歪。” “If you are standing straight, the pagoda would be straight. If you are standing on slanted ground, the pagoda would be slanted.”
Then we went to this Ebony Museum where we saw sulptures made from wood that were really nice I must say. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed in there so I couldn’t share pictures.
However, there’s this section where there were pictures and models made from Chairman Mao badges. Quite interesting.
Great Wall of China
Took the tour bus to this bus terminal to transfer to another bus that would bring us up to E-Mei Mountain.
Inside the bus terminal
We reached the top of E-Mei Mountain by 7pm and had dinner before checking out our hotel room. Even though it’s a 2-star hotel, it is wayyyy better than the 3-star hotel at Jiu Zhai Gou.
Found a box which says “4-in-1 toothbrush” in the hotel room’s toilet.
I was curious so I emptied the contents and found these:
Day 2 (June 17)
Woke up at 4.15am, packed our luggage and went downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast served was fried beehoon with soup. Reminds me of the beehoon that my Mum cooks, coz of the smell and the soup. lol. But it was filling.
The tour guide rented these thick jackets for us coz it was quite cold. Then we walked quite a distance up E-Mei mountain. I was quite sick of steps after that. As it was still quite dark then, I didn’t take any pictures. It even drizzled while we were walking. Went to the cable car station and took this super big cable car (that could hold 100 people).
At the cable car station
Inside the cable car
View from cable car
Reached the top of E-Mei Shan after a while, and we climbed lots of stairs up to where this big Buddha statue is. The sun have already risen and it was very foggy at the top.
I thought the statue of the 十面佛 (10-face Buddha) was quite grand and well done. It was only unveiled last June.
Climbing up the stairs
Top of E-Mei
The foggy Buddha statue.
There were 3 temples at the top as well – A gold, a silver and a bronze temple. They have some shops selling religious items there as well.
Silver Temple up close
View down from the top
Along the mountain are railings with heavy chains with locks on it. I was quite curious and took a look at it and realised that there were different type of locks with names on it. Different type of locks have different meanings. Each lock costs RMB$39 (SGD$7.80) and I think they carve your name on it for you as well.
Heart shaped. For couples 🙂
Round. For good fortune?
I think this is also for good fortune…
Took the cable car back. won’t bore you with such details but the sky was brighter and it felt like we were floating among the clouds. And they played “Take Me To Your Heart” by MLTR in the cable car. LOL.
Took another bus. We were then “transferred” to another tour guide, this time a strict lady who told us not to take pictures on the way to destinations and only take it on the way back. The following picture sums up the places we went to and the route we took from around 8am-4pm.
What was memorable was this area where there were lots of monkeys hanging out. I didn’t take any pictures there though, coz I don’t want my camera to be snatched away.
Oh and on the way to the monkeys area, we had to cross a river, and I picked 2 stones/rocks for Mrs Lee. Didn’t have time to stop to choose though. :-/
And they honestly didn’t build the tracks properly with proper tiles and so I was the first in the group to slip and fall down like 3 steps. Haha. It was darn scary and my butt hurt =X Then Yi Long and Li Ying fell as well. It was horrible and we had to walk sideways and all to prevent ourselves from falling again. 🙁
Let the pictures do the talking:
The tour guide’s on the right
Went to another tea appreciation place and bought more tea!! 😀 I think I’ll have enough tea to last me for a year. haha
Because of the dramas I watched on tv, I always thought that E-Mei Shan is a mountain full of nuns and people practising martial arts all over the place. Even travel websites say that we’ll be staying in monasteries if we sleep up in the mountains. -_-” Now after visiting the place, I would say to visit E-Mei Shan in a travel group if you often visit temples. If you just want to visit E-Mei coz it’s a “must visit” place, then I would suggest that you go there on your own. 🙂
Overall, this trip is definitely better than Jiu Zhai Gou. 🙂