I finally took my first excursion outside of Chengdu (which I desperately needed), about 2 hours away to a town called Leshan. Living in a city when you’re the type of girl who loves the outdoors and fresh air can make you quite anxious. Luckily, I was able to go to Leshan with a new friend I made along from Holland who was also a Leshan virgin. Leshan is particularly known for having the largest stone-carved Buddha in the world.. and if you know me, I am completely fascinated with everything Buddha. So this seemed right down my alley!
We met up with a couple of Australian guys that rented a mini-van to get us out there. Mind you, this was also my first time driving anywhere in china in something other than a taxi or a train within the city. So this was going to prove to be an adventure in itself because from my experience, people in China aren’t the best drivers..
My skepticism proved to be right.. we had a jerky and swervy two hour ride to Leshan. But the van driver was seriously the sweetest, funniest guy ever. He made the trip that much better, regardless of his horrible driving skills. Sadly he had to bring along his not-so-amused son who sat in the passenger seat of the car, not speaking the entire time. Oh well.. his loss!
When we got to Leshan, we went into the park which was about 90 RMB, give or take. We climbed some stairs, climbed some more stairs, walked and walked until we finally got to where the top of the Buddha was (This thing is massive and you start up by the head and have to climb down to get to where its feet are).
But that wasn’t the only massive thing that greeted us.. a line consisting of HUNDREDS of people stood before us, and this was just to get down to where the Buddha’s feet were! Little did I know, this would be how all Chinese attractions are. Long, scattered lines. But hey, that’s what you get when your country’s population is over a 1.4 billion, right? (I also respect the fact that lines are just not part of Chinese culture, btw!)
Long story short.. the Buddha was pretty freakin cool. Would I go back again? Heck to the no. That extremely long line kind of killed the magic of seeing the Buddha. I’m used to being able to look at things at my own pace and not have to wait almost two hours. But maybe tourist attractions just aren’t my thing?
You should definitely go check out the Giant Buddha in Leshan though.. It’s one of those, do it once and get it over with things. It is beautifully sculpted and overlooks a gorgeous river. Make sure to wait to leave the park and walk a bit away from the exit before buying any food though! Our driver told us the restaurants near the exit jack up their prices because of the tourists!
Have you ever been to Leshan? Or have you ever experienced a Chinese tourist attraction before?