China: LeShan Giant Buddha

We had simple breakfast in our hotel room, Wen Su Yuan's pastry from last night and 3-in-1 old town coffee all the way from Malaysia.

Then, we took a taxi to Chengdu Tourism Distributing Center(旅游集散中心).

To avoid ripoff case, we walked directly to the official counter and bought the ticket at RMB44. The bus to LeShan(乐山肖坝车站)was operated every 20 minutes and the journey would take approximately 2 hours.

While waiting for the bus, I spotted this very informative Sichuan(四川) map with all the tourism spots labelled.

You could enlarge this picture to check what are the famous places around Chengdu. There are Du Fu's Thatched Cottage and Wuhou temple which we had visited the day before. At the left bottom of Chengdu, there are LeShan(乐山) and Emei(峨嵋)which we would cover shortly. It was quite some distance away, right?

waiting for the bus

Allow me to fast forward a bit.
Two hours later, we arrived at LeShan(乐山肖坝车站). The moment we stepped down from the bus, there was someone shouting. "Bus 13 to Leshan Giant Buddha(乐山大佛) has arrived!" I read from the web that it was a fake one. This bus would bring us to the East Buddha(东方大佛)which was 500m away from Giant Buddha,where we had to pay RMB140 for the combo ticket. Ticket for the Giant Buddha was only RM70. It was tricky because the fake bus also had a label "13" on it. We ignored it and walked further to the bus stop where there were many public buses waiting. One of it was bus 13 in the above picture, it would go to Giant Buddha.

But when I knew that Leshan is a food heaven, I had decided to pay a visit to Leshan town. We took Bus 1 instead of bus 13 and got off at JiaZhou Hotel(嘉州宾馆).

The first shop that we visited was JiLiuNiang Sweet Skin Duck.(纪六娘特色甜皮鸭), opposite Jiazhou hotel(嘉州宾馆).

The sweet skin duck

We took away half duck.

very straight forward menu
The next stop was NiuHwa BeanCurd(牛华豆腐脑), opposite XianJie St(县街人民公园对面), which I had forgotten to take a picture of the shop.

Four of us ordered just one bowl of bean curd, RMB3. Luckily we did not get scolded by the shop owner. :p It was totally different from the normal sweet bean curd. It was a bowl of stock with bean curd and glass noodles, topped with bean, crispy meat and spring onion. The soul of this dish was the spoon of chili oil that was added before serving. The taste was not bad, but I definitely need some time to adapt to this new dish. ;)

I wanted to try their steamed beef with glutinous(粉蒸牛肉). There were 2 serving size, "long" (笼)and "zhong"(盅). I ordered the smaller serving, "long"(笼). Before I could react, the owner poured the steamed beef into my bowl. Later, I was told that if I ordered the bigger size, "zhong"( 盅), it would be served separately.

After turning into FuJie St, we came to Spectacles Bean Curd(眼镜豆腐脑). When LeShan Bean Curd was mentioned, NiuHua and Spectacles would be in the list.

Since we had tried NiuHua, so we skipped Spectacles. There was this little stall opposite Spectacles selling baked egg cake(蛋烘糕).

baked egg cake(蛋烘糕), a snack that everyone could easily accept

We had lunch at Teng Qiang Restaurant(邓强饭店),XueAve St(较场坝街) before going to Giant Buddha. Watch out when you pick your restaurant as there were many LeShan restaurants charging at cut-throat price.

The waitress was serving the rice from a wooden bucket.

Our few experiences in China told us that we could not go wrong with this dish.

sweet & sour bean curd

plain bean curd with mushroom

20km away from LeShan Giant Buddha, there was this XiBaZhen(西坝镇) which is very famous for its bean curd. We did not have to go all the way to XiBaZhen(西坝镇) as most of the restaurants in LeShan was selling XiBa bean curd(西坝豆腐). With the recommendation from the waitress, we tried out two different version. Both was awesome! The first picture was the firm bean curd in sweet and sour sauce. The bean curd was pre-fried, but it did not have crispy skin. The internal texture of the bean curd was sponge-like, therefore it could absorb the sauce very well. The second plate was the silken bean curd in thicken broth. The bean curd was smooth and the bean fragrant was very strong.

Forgot about this dish, maybe an appetizer. :p

Stir fried wild vegetables(炒野菜)

Salted Egg Corn 金沙玉米

We finished 6 dishes and half sweet skin duck. Was that a record? :)
After lunch, we took a taxi to Giant Buddha.

Giant Buddha's entrance
Maybe because we were too full, our awareness dropped. The taxi driver told us that there was two entrances to the Buddha and advised us to get down at one of the entrance which had less crowd. When I was about to step down the taxi, I saw the big sign, East Buddha(东方大佛). Immediately I refused to get down and insisted that I wanted to go to Giant Buddha. I think I sounded very firm. So the taxi driver had no choice but to send us to Giant Buddha's entrance.

We bought the ticket at RMB70/person. As usual, remember to show them your senior passport or student pass.

Once we climbed up the first stage, we could see the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers(岷江、青衣江、大渡河).

temple on the top

outside the temple

group of tourists listening to the tour guide

The construction was led by a monk named HaiTong(海通禅师),started at 713.

the Giant Buddha's head

from another side
Note the staircase in the picture. We did not go down to take a picture with the statue's foot and toes, though many tourists did that.

trying to capture the whole statue. Failed.

Since we did not able to take photo of the whole statue, we decided to pay for the boat ride, RMB70. The starting point was 300m away from the entrance just now. There were 2 type of boats, we went to the further one. The first one was a speed boat.

This was a notice listing the 9 conditions where there would be no boat ride. If you read Chinese, read number 7. It says that there would be no boat ride if the sailor was drunk. ;)

This was the type of boat that we had taken.

This was the speed boat.

statue beside the Giant Buddha

The boat stopped in front of the Giant Buddha for a good 15 minutes.
We took many photos but only found out that we could take off our life jacket for nicer photos at the last few minutes. :(

LeShan Grand Buddha 乐山大佛