One BIG Buddha

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Sunday, May 8, 2011

Although we took our time getting up again we did make it to Leshan to see the Giant Buddha. We hopped on a bus to one of the long distance bus stations in Chengdu, with our note in chinese describing where we want to go on it that we got from our hostel, and bought our tickets. They ended up giving us tickets for a mini bus instead of the big public bus which cost a bit more but it took us right to the park where the buddha is at so we thought it was worh it rather than having to waste time and having to figure out what bus we would have to transfer to once in Leshan. We were dropped at a gate we didn't want though but thank goodness there was a girl in our mini bus that spoke a bit of english. We got let out at the East gate where aparently you have to pay the 70 yuan for the buddha village plus the 90 yuan for the giant buddha, you can't just do the buddha. We were at the gate trying to figure out what was going on with a lady that only spoke chinese when the girl from the bus walked by so we called her over for help. After they spoke in chinese for a while she finally told us that it seemd like there was another gate down the road just a bit that would sell just the buddha ticket, so off we went. Luckily we went to the right place and got the right ticket. The giant buddha in Leshan is actually the world's largest buddha, and it's definately impressive. First we got to see it from up by the head of it and then we toured around some temples and such before making our way to the stairs down to the feet. It was a hot and humid day and the stairway down is steep, skinny and at the time absolutely packed. There was actually a line up to go down and slowly we finally made it to the bottom. Looking up at the buddha is quite daunting, and trying to fit it all in a single picture from head to toe and side to side is pretty much impossible from the platform at the bottom, you'd have to see it from a boat tour on the river that runs along in front of it.

While standing there gawking up at it we met a guy who introduced himself as William Jans, apparently he's done some video work for the teacher's conference in Edmonton before and has been travelling all over the world for about 17 years now, but is from Vancouver. After talking to him for a bit he asked James if he wouldn't mind holding his video-camera for him and shooting his speech about the giant buddha for him. So if you ever see a video documentary in Edmonton by a William Jans and there is a clip about the Leshan Giant Buddha, it was filmed by James! (Of course he then started telling me about how if it did make it in a show somewhere he would have to rub it in Kalon's face, lol)

After you make the climb down to the buddha there is of course the climb back up the mountain; it was hot and we nearly died! Not really knowing where to go we somehow ended up back up at the head of the buddha, but thankfully finally found a gate to exit from. We were immediately hounded by some ladies trying to sell us tickets to take a mini-bus back to Chengdu. We really wanted to make our way back by public bus as it was half the price these ladies were asking and we knew what bus number to catch to the station. They ended up dropping the price a bit though and it was getting to be around 6pm and we didn't know what time the last public bus left Leshan so we took it. When we went to pay the lady put her finger to her lips and said "Shhhhh" so we wouldn't tell anyone what we paid, felt good to finally get a deal on a mini-bus. We immediatley realized why they gave us a seat for cheaper though when we went to get in. With us the van was packed full and I had to sit on a seat between the two middle seats without a back rest and about half the sitting space as an actual seat. They were also about to leave and were just rushing us in there before they took off. Turned out the air-con and fan in the back didn't work either so we were packed in there like sardines for about two hours on a day that was above 30 degrees outside. Not an ideal ride but we made it back!
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