Visiting The Giant Buddha in Leshan, China; The Biggest Buddha in the World
I was in Chengdu to see if I could hold a panda (I did it!), and I heard about the biggest Buddha in the world in a nearby city. Wow. So I headed off to Leshan to check out both the biggest Buddha in the World (another UNESCO world heritage site) and the longest reclining Buddha in the world. Ignorantly, I had never even heard of Leshan before I arrived in Chengdu and saw posters for trips there, but after reading up I had to go. And the Giant Buddha in Leshan did not disappoint.
The Biggest Buddha in the World? Really?
Yup. 71m tall and dating back to around 800AD. It’s literally carved out of the cliff face and is the largest Buddha in the world.
Where is the Giant Buddha? And wow do you get from Chengdu to Leshan?
The Giant Buddha is in Leshan. 150km south of Chengdu.
I jumped on the 8.00 am bus from Chengdu’s Xinnanmen bus station (47 RMB/ $7.50) and took the two hour trip to Leshan bus station. From Leshan bus station, take Bus 13 to the big Buddha (1 kwai/ $0.16).
How long should I spend in Leshan?
To visit the Big Buddha, the Reclining Buddha, the caves around the religious areas etc, I’d set aside the best part of a day (about 10 am to 3 pm). It’s easily doable as a day trip from Chengdu if you get up early enough!
How much does it cost to visit the big Buddha?
A ticket is 90 Kwai ($14) or 40 Kwai ($6) for students. For the reclining Buddha, it’s an additional 70 Kwai ($11) or 40 Kwai for students ($6) but it’s well worth it.
Where is the Reclining Buddha in Leshan?
It’s 170m and the world’s longest, but you need to be alert to spot it! It’s right at the exit/entrance to the Oriental Park (the additional 70 Kwai ticket), look up and prepared to be amazed.
Visiting the Giant Buddha in Leshan; My Personal Experience
I left my hostel in Chengdu around 6.30 am and jumped on bus 55 to get to Xinnanmen bus station, from there there are buses to Leshan every 30 minutes. Once you get to Leshan, you can’t fail but to be amazed by some of the most ornate sculptures carved right into the mountain that you’ve ever seen or heard of. I was really surprised at how awesome it was.
Don’t come on a Chinese holiday or you’ll be queuing for hours. The rest of the time it’s not too bad, but try to come mid-week, not the weekend. Anyway, after entering you walk towards the main event. Once you pop around the corner, it’s there in front of you. The biggest Buddha in the world is just breathtaking, stupendously big! You have to take hundreds of steps up and down to navigate around his torso. And after the descent, you can get up close and personal with his feet. His toenails are literally the size of a person, he’s almost 80m tall and it’s tough even to squeeze him in your photos.
From there you can continue to walk further until you get to the Oriental Buddhist Theme Park (additional 70 Kwai), home to the world’s longest reclining Buddha. He’s 170m long and should be a lot more famous! It’s well worth the extra entrance fee.
Final Thoughts on Visiting the Giant Buddha in Leshan, China
If you find yourself in Chengdu, or anywhere in Sichuan Province, then I’d highly recommend coming to Lesha. The Giant Buddha of Leshan is pretty famous within China, and understandably so. It’s weird that more people don’t know about it. But its a great day trip from Chengdu. It’s pretty cheap and manageable to do it independently, but you can also book a tour from Chengdu pretty easily too. These guys do a tour to the Chengdu Panda park AND the Giant Buddha in Leshan for about $120. That’s a banging way to spend a day!
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