Sichuan trip: Emei Shan
We arrived late evening at Mount Emei bottom after a long day in Leshan. We first went to our hostel (recommended by Lonely Planet) then we decided to test the famous sichuanese dishes… Extra spicy food!
Mount Emei or Emei Shan is the highest (3099m) of the 4 Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. This is there that the first Buddhist temple was built in the first century after JC. The mountain got today 76 temples and monasteries.
Due to some issues with our flight from Beijing, we were not able to do the initial plan. We should have spent 2 days in the Mountain and sleep one night in one of numerous temples on our way to the top.
We changed this and decided to sleep at the bottom and take an early bus (4:30am) to reach 2/3 of the ascent.
Our trek was divided in two parts: firstly, ascent to the summit and enjoy the panoramic view then go down and hike the bottom part.
We left really early in the morning so only few people were on the trail. The tourist number on the way up was incredibly reduced when we reached the cable car departure that allows tourist to go to the summit without effort.
It was really calm and peaceful at the top. We visited the Jinding Temple (Golden Temple) and had an incredible view before the fog reached the summit and totally blocked the view.
We used the cable car to go down quickly as our time was limited and met an incredible line at the departure. I think that people spend more than 2 hours to be able to go into the cable car. On our way down, we also met some incredibly cute monkeys.
One hour bus ride later, we arrived to the second part of our trek, a long walk into the mountain to visit some sacred temples, one famous water fall and some dense vegetation.
We had our lunch in a small local restaurant in the middle of the trek: Chinese spicy bread and cold sichuanese noodles. Incredibly tasty and spicy…
We arrived to our final destination in the middle of the afternoon, and then took a bus to go back to the local town to be able to catch another bus for our next adventure…
Sacred Mountains in China have some inconveniences: they are really popular so don’t expect to walk on your own in a link with the nature. Moreover, Chinese local governments converted these sites into mass tourism destinations; they built stairs and cemented the paths. You will also face the usual ‘touts’, local vendor or guides who want to help you… In Emei Shan, they even charge you to access the site (150 yuans).
However, it was a good experience to come here with an incredible mix between Buddhism history, nature and local wildlife.
Next step to our trip – Chengdu, Sichuan capital and its world known Panda reserve!
More pictures are available on Flickr.