Leshan Travel Guide
While the city itself doesn’t contain much of interest to the traveller, Leshan is located close by to one of the world’s most significant Stone Buddha statues. Around for over 1,200 years, the massive Leshan Giant Buddha draws throngs of tourists every year.
In this guide, we’ll help you make the most of your time in this corner of Sichuan Province.
Come check out our Leshan travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Leshan, China.
Start your sightseeing adventures in Leshan by checking out the Wuyou Temple. A hillside monastery constructed in the 8th century, it may still be a functioning temple in the present day, but it functions more as a museum.
Within, you’ll find examples of calligraphy, paintings, a collection of monks in terracotta, and more. With seven buildings on this site and views of the Leshan Giant Buddha in the distance, this attraction is a great place to begin your journey towards the aforementioned marquee attraction.
If you are able-bodied, start your trek to the site of the Leshan Giant Buddha by walking the Lingyun Cliff Road. If at all possible, we recommend walking it during the week, as it becomes uncomfortably crowded during the weekends with domestic tourists.
This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the mountain views while not having to deal with the pushing and shoving for which some local Chinese travellers have become infamous. Note that the narrow nature of the path and its elevation may create problems for those with phobias of heights – for those with a healthy level of fear, there are handholds available in the dodgier sections, making this trail a quasi via ferrata trek.
After an arduous hike up this harrowing trail, you’ll eventually arrive at the site of the Leshan Giant Buddha. While this massive monument is visible from miles around, those who are able should make the formerly mentioned hike to see this essential artifact of Chinese history up close.
Recognized by the UN as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, this 71-metre tall stone carving took stonesmiths over 90 years to complete during the Tang Dynasty. Since that time, it has reigned as the world’s largest stone Buddha has been uninterrupted, making it the subject of countless poems, stories, and songs within China.
The engineering ingenuity of past generations is also on display here, as a drainage system was planned along with the carving to ensure that generations of rainfall would not dissolve the massive statue.
With modern techniques being implemented in addition to the old ways, it seems this enormous symbol of Buddhist faith will continue to endure for generations to come.
Haven’t got your fill of Buddhist art after visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha and its surrounding attractions? Include a visit to the Oriental Buddha Capital on your way back to Leshan city. Within this park, you’ll find thousands of Buddha statues that have been moved here from all across Asia.
If time is at a premium, make a beeline for this park’s Reclining Buddha statue. At over 170 metres long, it is one of the longest monuments of its kind in the world. Be sure to check out the caves in the park as well, as they are home to a number of massive carved stone Buddhas.
Want to see the Leshan Giant Buddha, but are unable or unwilling to brave the steep trail and the boisterous locals? Taking a Leshan River cruise is a viable secondary option.
Not only it is a relaxing way to take in the scenery of the countryside outside the city of Leshan, but there are excellent (if distant) views of the Leshan Giant Buddha from the deck of this riverboat. It is advisable to maintain enough flexibility in your schedule so you can go on a good weather day, as the Leshan Giant Buddha can sometimes be shrouded in mist when it is raining.
Note that you are required to wear a life jacket throughout your time on the boat – it may seem silly, but it is important to do your part as a responsible traveller by respecting the local laws.
If you do head up to the Leshan Giant Buddha on foot, take a second to check out the Lingbao Tower before heading back down to the base. A brick pavilion located off to the side of the Giant Buddha down a short path, it is often overlooked by those who are there to see the bigger attraction.
Complete with a small park surrounding it, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a packed lunch without having to fight off the selfie-stick toting hordes.
On the way to the Leshan Giant Buddha, you’ll come across the Leshan Bridge. A graceful span boasting the best elements of classical Chinese architecture, it makes for an awesome quick photo opp, so be sure to mention this to your guides if it isn’t already included in your day of sightseeing.