Visiting the awe inspiring Leshan Giant Buddha in China, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world! A perfect day trip from Chengdu.


 A magical and mysterious place, this ancient wonder left us in awe and made a perfect day trip from Chengdu to Leshan. The sheer scale of this enormous place almost too much to take in, the 90 year project of a dedicated monk it is still one of China’s most sacred Buddhist locations. It draws in hordes of the faithful, intrigued and enchanted from all over the world! The Leshan Buddha from Chengdu is a wonderful trip that will leave you in inspired and exploring the Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area will be something you remember forever!

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

The history of this strange and wonderful creation.

Built between 713 and 803 this 233ft tall Buddha is carved out of the rock face in which it sits. Depicting Maitreya the huge stone statue sits at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers. Facing the peak of Mt. Emei it is the largest pre modern statue in the world as well as the largest stone Buddha. Its shoulders are over 28 meters wide and his ears 7 meters long, his smallest toenail could comfortably sit a seated adult within its outline! The history alone makes the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu day trip worth while, never mind the amazing Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area in which it sits!

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.



Built by the monk Hai Tong he hoped that the Buddha would protect the many who perished on the turbulent water that runs at the feet of the statue. Many travelled and worked on the river and Hai Tong felt something should be done. Ironically, depending on how you look at it, the amount of stone removed from the cliff and subsequently deposited into the river to create the Buddha actually changed the currents and did actually make the water safer! So in a round about way it did work!

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
One of the surrounding temples

Hai Tong is said to have gouged his own eyes out when the funding for the project was under threat to show his commitment to the cause. The project eventually took over 90 years to finish due to financial issues and it was only finally completed by Hai Tong’s disciples after sponsorship from a Jiedushi. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
The Buddha was carved directly into the sandstone rock!

A protected relic of China’s past

Being carved out of the soft sand stone of the area the Buddha over the years fell into disrepair. The huge 13-storey shelter originally built to cover it was destroyed by the Mongols which left it exposed to the elements. Sunshine, rain, wind and more recently pollution such as acid rain and mass tourism had its effect on this magnificent structure which was almost lost before efforts to save it began in 1963. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
Looking up at the Buddha. It’s an easy day trip from Chengdu to Leshan to see it!

Now a UNESCO world heritage site it is under the observation and maintenance of specialists and many parts of the sculpture have been heavily restored over the years. However those who constructed it also did their part to ensure it was a lasting legacy. Inside the sculpture lies a hidden network of drainage and gutter systems intended to keep the main structure as dry as possible, especially the head which is in fact wooden and covered in mud where as the rest of the body is carved directly out of the cliffside itself. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
Some of the intricate statues at the temples in the park

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Visiting the amazing Leshan Giant Buddha: A day trip to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu

Entering the park with the mid morning fog still enveloping the city and entangling itself in the high bamboo forest there was an eeriness to the area. Taking the steep steps up through the walls of sandstone we had little idea of the magnificent about to be bestowed upon us. It was still quite early in the morning which makes the day trip to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu even more convenient and gives you plenty of time to explore one of the highlights of the Sichuan province. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

In actual fact it took much less time to make it up to the Buddha than we expected, having stopped of only a few times along the way we were finally here, at this place I had dreamt of visiting since I saw my backpacking cousin visit here many years ago. We could have even got an afternoon train here such is the ease and of getting to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu and how short the trip is. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

Poking up above the trees we caught our first glimpse of the head of the Buddha. Getting closer we finally peered over the edge, the enormity of just the huge grinning face becoming clear. The orange hue of the sandstone standing out against the forest of green that surrounds it.

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

From the other side of the huge cavern in which it sits we were more able to take in the sheer scale of the Buddha. Despite the name you really cannot prepare yourself for just how big this thing is. It is no wonder people fall to their knees in awe at its feet!



The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
Its a long way down from the edge of the chasm the Leshan Giant Buddha sits in!

From here the next step was to traverse the narrow and steep track carved into the cliff wall down to the base. Taking our time on this precarious route we were able to get a much clearer view of the entire statue, from head to toe this grand sculpture felt almost unbelievable! The gargantuan effort required making it almost intangible!

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
This must be why he’s called Shorty!!

Standing at its feet, looking up at toes almost as tall as a house it is easy to be completely dumb stuck by this enormous Buddha. With incense burning and pluming sweet smelling serpent like smoke into the atmosphere as monks chanted, bells rang out and the river rushed by this place felt magical. Even the passing tour groups couldn’t spoil this most wonderful place.

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
A monk from the nearby functioning temples looks out over the statue

Having plenty of time here instead of rushing though and waving selfie sticks around like many of the others we decided to sit and just watch. Taking in the unique atmosphere of the Giant Buddha as birds circled its head and the faithful came to pray. You could if you wanted just spend half a day here but we decided to make it the full day trip to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu to take in the surrounding Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area too. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
The city of Leshan in the distance and some of the steep steps down to the base of the Buddha

What else is there to see in the Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area during a day trip from Chengdu to Leshan.

The giant Buddha might be the main attraction here, and rightly so, but it isn’t the only one. The Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area is filled full of beautiful examples of nature and history. This means that you can make it a full day trip to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu if you like. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
A smaller carved Buddha in the wider park

From peaceful gardens, bamboo plants over 100ft high and serine waterfalls wandering around the maze of paths in here is a great way to escape the crowds gathered around the Buddha. There are a few note worthy sites to look out for in the Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area. The Mahaoya tombs and the Wouyou temple amongst the most impressive and historically important.



The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
Some of the features of the scenic area around the Buddha

Around here you will also likely run into some of the many monks who still live and pray at the site. The Buddha and the surrounding temples are not just for show, but an important religious centre of Chinese Buddhism. The temple just at the top of the Buddha is also home to some amazing statues and in here we also saw a collection of monks at afternoon prayer, a quite mesmerising experience. This makes the trip to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu much more than just seeing the Giant Buddha itself, the whole Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area is quite an amazing place to explore. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.
A monk in the grounds of the scenic area

How to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu. 

Chengdu to Leshan transport options

Getting to The Leshan Buddha from Chengdu is quite easy.

From Chengdu take the express bullet train to Leshan. This takes 1 hour and costs roughly 54 Yuan each way. You can book this online or at the station before you travel or buy it on the day. The trains in China do get busy so booking is ideal however it shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you don’t. 

The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

Then take the number 3 bus from near the station, it takes around 40 mins to the entrance of the
Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area. This costs 1 Yuan. 

From here the Buddha is well marked and only a half an hour walk up several sets of stairs!

Entrance to the Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area is 90 Yuan / 50 Yuan for Students and OAPs.

The Leshan Buddha from Chengdu is a great day trip out of the city taking under two hours each way. The Chengdu to Leshan Giant Buddha distance is roughly 150km.

We recommend spending at least 2-3 hours exploring the Leshan Buddha scenic area and longer if you choose to also take a boat trip.

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The impressive sandstone carved Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest pre modern Buddha in the world. Here's our guide to visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu including Chengdu to Leshan transport guide, cost and entrance fee for the Leshan giant buddha scenic area. Here's how to get to the Leshan Buddha from Chengdu on the train and bus/ public transport.

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Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions

What a cool day trip! I never would’ve guessed that this massive statue was almost decayed before restoration efforts began in the 1960s. It’s incredible to see how tiny the people on the observation deck are compared to even the head of the Buddha! I was also surprised to see the city skyline in one of your pictures; the landscape and greenery around the statue makes it look like it’s deep in the jungle, but clearly that’s not the case!

pinkcaddytraveloguegmailcom

What an amazing place!! I’m always so impressed by the structures and statues that pre-modern people were able to create without modern tools. I am a little puzzled as to why he thought gouging out his eyes would help show his dedication though – wouldn’t he need his eyes to carve the statue?! Lol…. I’d love the opportunity to visit this myself one day! Thanks for sharing!

That is one big Buddha! I’m amazing how they managed to build and carve it into the stone so long ago, and with ingenious drainage too. I’m glad that steps were taken to preserve it and that you shared the story as I hadn’t heard of this before.

I’m always in awe of magnificent works of art like this. I’m so glad that it was preserved after it was so heavily damaged over the years. It’s so important to care for important historic spots like this.

danahfreeman

I learn the about the best spots from fellow travel writers. Never knew about the Giant Buddha!

Nitin Singhal

This gigantic statue of Buddha just in your pictures gave me the goosebumps. I can’t imagine how much effort and time would have been put to build this engineering marvel. Truly beautiful!!

pappasw

Wow, It took 90 years to complete that is incredible. I love the fact that the rock falling into the water did make it safer for boaters. great History!

Great post! My plan to visit china was postponed twice. CHINA is my ultimate travel destination. Like Indian, Chinese civilisation is quite ancient. Would love to explore the country extensively.

diapersinparadise

Such an interesting history! I love that it did, in a roundabout way, end up making the sea safer. That’s so cool!

Wow.. Reading about the efforts and dedication given in creating the Gian Buddha is amazing and truly incredible. Good to know that afforest are being done to maintain it. Like you I’d probably spend a day here too.

Charles

Hello – Instead of walking up several steps to see the Buddha, is there an option to take the Boat? Going with my dad who doesnt want to walk too much.

Elisa Subirats

Amazing, isn’t it? This is the kind of place we all have seen on pictures but we should also see by ourselves. A pity that when I was there it was too foggy to enjoy the surrounding landscape

Yes, a really cool place to see with your own eyes, photos never do the scale justice!

I wish I knew all of this history when we visited the Giant Buddha. Maybe we would have enjoyed our visit as much as you did. Fabulous photos to support the story.

Yes sometimes it does make a difference, we had a nice day here, thanks!