Emei and Leshan – visiting the Sichuan province

The main reason why I went to Baguo Village, a suburb of Emei where I booked a hostel, was that in my travel book it was described as a remote small village close to the mountains, offering possibilities for hiking and sightseeing as I wanted too see a different China and not only big cities.

On my arrival with the bus from Chengdu in Emei I wanted to look for a bus to Baguo village, but as soon as I arrived, there were some taxi drivers, offering me a ride. The first one started with a way too high price and I couldn’t get him really down, but the price of the second one was ok, also due to the fact I was sharing the taxi with a chinese couple. After a 20 minutes ride, we arrived in Baguo and I was dropped off in front of my hostel. When I first was sitting on my bed I was reminded of being in Mongolia again: A very thin matrace on just some wooden boards. Nevertheless I should have a good sleep the next couple of nights.

The first evening I walked around in Baguo and was quite shocked, that it’s far away from a remote village in the mountains, but it was more a Jesolo of china. The place was stuffed with hotels and restaurants and after all the families had dinner, it was quite and nothing happened any more after 11pm.

As I still had a cough from the train trip to Chengdu – thanks to the Aircondition, I decided to took it the first day quite easy and went by bus to Leshan to see the world’s biggest Buddha statue.  After a one hour bus ride,  I arrived in Leshan. It took me another 20 minutes with the local bus to get to the Buddha area. I bought a ticket and was quite surprised, that there was a big area with woods, gardens and temples and not only the statue itself. Due to the fact that there were currently chinese national holidays, there were millions of people. Same was should be the next two days around Emei Shan. The humidity was so high that you could have cut the air. Viewing distance was only 1 or 2 km. Nevertheless I had a walk in the park and hiked up the different hills. To see the Buddha from the front I had to queue for one hour, but it was worth walking (or more staying) the steep path down to see the world’s biggest Buddha from below, which is 71m high. After that I visited some temples and made my way back to Baguo.

The second day I went up parts of the Emei Shan, one of the five sacred mountains of Buddhism in China. Walking up on that mountain is slightly different, to what we understand in Austria as hiking up on a mountain: There were stairs made of concrete from the bottom onwards and every 500m there was either a small shop or hut for buying souvenirs or food. Landscapewise it was nevertheless really great. Lots of southasian plants and when I was already walking for three hours, I came into a zone of the mountain, where there were lots of monkeys. The tibetan makakes (the monkeys) were quite funny to watch. When I left the first spot, I was walking for some minutes alone on the trail, until I recognized that one of the was walking behind me. So I stopped to wait for his plans. He grabbed one of my hands and was just looking at me. One minute later I wanted to release my hand, but then he suddenly showed his teeth, showing me that he was kind of upset or angry. Fortunately another monkey walked by and put his attraction to him, so that I could leave the scenery. One hour later I arrived at the next temple, where I decided to stop and walk after a rest back home, still knowing that it was at least a three hour walk on another path back to the hostel.

On my way back I found out that the directions, I got from the hostel didn’t work, so I walked instead of the hiking path on the small, narrow road where all the cars went back. I was quite glad as I was after some kilometers back on a walking path and even more glad to see my hostel and my bed again. After getting back from dinner I was sitting in the hostel lounge, as Jason, the english guy with whom I shared the taxi to the station in Ulan Bator, was walking in with some other guys. Later in the evening we were drinking beer and playing Pool Billiard and I was quite glad to meet some people again.

The last day of my stay in Emei I took the bus to the end of the road which is going up on the Emai Shan mountain. From there it was either a 20 minute ride with the cable car or a two hour walk to the peak. Although there were lots of stairs again, I decided to walk. Picture was the same as the day before on the bottom. Lots of people in the middle of souvenir and food shops. On my way up I could see the blue sky from time to time, so I hoped to get some good views on the top of the mountain. When I arrived there, clouds were getting more and more and sometimes it was even hard to see the big golden statue, which is built on top of the mountain. Quite disappointed of spending all the money (I also read on the way up, that my ticket from the day before would have been valid for another day, but I bought a new one), I went back to the hostel. When I arrived in my room I was surprised to meet Jason and the other guys from the evening before in my room. They told me that they had to change the room for some reason.

Later in the evening we had dinner together and some beers with other guys from the hostel. One of the guys in the group asked at our neighbour table, where a group of chinese guys was drinking some homemade booze out of a 5l plastic canister, if we could try this as well. One of the guys came over and invited us for some drinks. Full of chinese booze and some beers, we left the scenery at 2am.

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