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Giant Buddha in Leshan, Sichuan

Mia 2023-05-09

Leshan Giant Buddha Introduction

Name in Chinese: Leshan Dafo (乐山大佛)
Location: 128 km from Chengdu

Opening hours: 07:30-18:30 (from April 1 to October 7), 08:00-17:30 (from October 8 to March 31) Duration of visit: 5 hours

Ticket price: CNY90 (does not include boat tour)


The Leshan Giant Buddha is an awe-inspiring masterpiece located in Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the convergence of the Minjiang, Qingyi, and Dadu rivers. This 71-meter high statue, perched on the cliff of Lingyun Mountain on the southern bank of the Minjiang River, is also known as Lingyun Giant Buddha. Carved into the cliff at the confluence of the three rivers, it is a seated statue of Maitreya Buddha, with 1024 buns atop its head and the ability to accommodate more than a hundred people on its foot alone. The giant Buddha was listed as a 'World Cultural and Natural Heritage' in December 1996. Additionally, the Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area is a national 5A-level tourist attraction.


This statue is one of the Tang Dynasty's most exceptional artistic achievements in rock-carved statues. It sits with hands resting on its knees, exuding a dignified and peaceful aura, all while concealing cleverly designed drainage facilities. The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved in the early years of the Tang Xuanzong reign (713 AD) by a Buddhist monk named Haitong, who hoped to reduce the force of the river and assist the people. Haitong assembled resources and labor to begin the construction and after his death, his disciples continued the work. The project was finally completed in the 19th year of the Tang Dynasty's Zhenguan era (803 AD) after 90 years of hard work. Poets have famously described the statue as "The mountain is a Buddha, and the Buddha is a mountain." 


How to visit Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area encompasses Lingyun Mountain, Mahao Cliff Tombs, Wuyou Mountain, and the Giant Sleeping Buddha Landscape, covering around 8 square kilometers. Two options are available for visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha:


1.  Hiking: The hike to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha takes around 2-3 hours, providing an up-close view of the Buddha, and the opportunity to reach its feet. 

2.  Boat tour: A boat tour to the Leshan Giant Buddha takes approximately 40 minutes. You can take photos with the Buddha from the boat, providing a more leisurely experience. 

Check out hassle- and worry-free guided tours from Chengdu to Leshan: Chengdu Tours, Vacations, Day Trips

Tips for visiting Leshan Giant Buddha

1.  To climb the mountain and see the Leshan Giant Buddha up close, you need to have a strong physical ability as there are no cable cars or electric vehicles available in the area. You can even touch the Buddha's feet after walking down the Lingyun Plank Road and climb back up via the Jiuqu Plank Road, where you can enjoy scenic spots and cliff carvings. However, most Buddha statues have weathered. To avoid crowds, it is best to arrive before 10 am if you plan to hike. Regular tickets can be purchased online in advance, while discounted tickets are available only with cash on site, so bring your ID card with you.


2.  Alternatively, take a boat tour to see the entire Buddha statue, avoid long queues, and appreciate the magnificent view from a distance. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes, and you can stop in front of the Buddha for approximately 15 minutes to take photos.


3.  Leshan Giant Buddha is reachable via high-speed train, bus from Chengdu and other neighboring areas. 


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