Today, we ventured west to Leshan China to explore a rare site. We took a train, but you can also take buses or private cars. It is about an hour and a half away from Chengdu. One important thing to remember is that you need your passport or citizen ID card to get into train stations. Your ticket must match the ID or passport number or they will not even allow you to get into the station. Only one door is open for the entire station for security checks and the queues to get through the one metal detector and x-ray machine can get a little feisty.
Now, once we got into the city, I do not recall anything very memorable and there are not many large hotels or restaurants catering to foreigners. The city itself is not that interesting, but we wanted to visit the ship port on the Min river.
Like many rivers, it is a bit polluted, but there is some awesome historic scenery if when you take a public or charter boat ride on the river.
There are a lot of boats and offers available…no worries there. The quality of the boats and the amenities may be a little questionable, but I digress. Hint: use the public bathrooms at the port and never depend on the bathrooms that (may) be working on the boats…
so what was the goal and highlight of our adventure today after hours of bus and train rides? There are some enormous red cliffs along the river which are quite popular with locals, hikers and tourists. I estimate that they are 400 meters high and the narrow steps are quite steep.
It is hard to take a picture of the Buddha because it is so large..even when you are at a distance on a boat on the river. Take a look at the eyes. They follow you and watch you from whatever angle you move. He is watching you!
Apparently, this was built around or near the 1st emperor in China and took almost 90 years to carve out and complete. It is carved out of the granite of the mountain next to the river.
On each side of the Buddha are the two protectors. One is quite worn down, but this one must be 100 feet tall to his side.
It is bit of the way and in the far west of China, but is a once in a lifetime location/site everyone should go see.