My next stop was the city Leshan only to see the Giant Buddha which since 1996 has been included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites. It is the world's largest buddha - with 71 meters in height, over 8 meters long fingers, a 9-meter-wide instep where one hundred people can sit and a 24 meter-wide shoulder which is large enough to be a basketball playground! Stunning.
This information was surely enough for me to crave a a visit. I later learned that it was initiated by a monk called Hai Tong in 713 and finished not until 90 years after. It was built due to Hai Tong's concern for the hard-working and suffering people who lived around the river. By building the buddha he and others believed the nature of the river could be better controlled to benefit the people.
I was warned not to visit in weekend and especially not in holidays...With a positive and open mind I left Chengdu taking the first possible bus on Sunday morning in middle of the Dragon Boat holiday. From LeShan station you can catch a taxi (RMB 30-40) or be adventurous and catch bus no 3 or 13. Guess what I did..
Me and a nice French couple I met on the bus from Leshan took bus no. 13 and while the bus ride itself was fine it did take us almost 40 minutes because of all the stops. To safe time I would recommend to take a taxi and maybe try to bargain the price if it seems unreasonable.
It was a good, crowded and rather quick visit. It took me around 30 min very crowded hike/walk or walk to reach the buddha after entering the Unesco heritage site. You pay around RMB 100 to enter or RMB 50 if you are a student with a Chinese student card. It does say no adults student but I managed to convince them. I skipped the walk down to the Buddhas feet as that would have taken 2-3 hours of queuing with hundreds of happy, curious Chinese tourists. Instead I went to the other site and easily found a spot to take photos of the Buddha's head. Another option is to catch a boat from the outside and get 3-5 minutes of time to take a photo of the buddha when sailing by.
I was so happy I went, The Giant Buddha is worth even a short and very crowded visit!