Mount Emei, covering an area of 154 square kilometers, is located at the southwest of Sichuan Basin. It belongs to Emeishan City and is 6 km to the city center. It was listed as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The highest peak - Wanfoding of Mount Emei is 3099 meters in altitude, and Golden Summit (3079.3 m) is the highest spot tourists can reach.
As one of the Four Great Buddhist Mountains in China and the ashram for Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Mount Emei is reputed for its profound Buddhism culture and it’s the Buddhist sacred place in China. There are about 30 temples in the mountain at present, many Buddhist ceremonies are held here. Important temples are Baoguo Temple, Fuhu Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Wannian Temple, Hongchunping, Xianfeng Temple, Xixiangchi Temple and Huazang Temple.
Mount Emei is also famous for its stunning natural scenery, and it’s called plants kingdom, animal paradise and geological museum. Green trees can be seen all year round. The average temperature difference between the mountain top and mountain foot is about 15℃, thus people always say there are four seasons in one day on Mount Emei. Mount Emei is home to over 5000 kinds of plants and over 2300 kinds of wild animals, including some protective species, such as leaf butterfly, black stork, rana adenopleura, red panda, and tragopan temminckii. There are many monkeys in the mountain, and they often flock together to ask for tourists’ food, which has become one of the features of Mount Emei.
With an altitude of 3079 m, Golden Summit is the second highest peak of Mount Emei and the highest part that tourists can get to. It’s the symbol and essence of Mount Emei. On the summit, there is a bronze hall. When the sun shines on the bronze hall, its brightness dazzles the eyes just like the golden light, thus it is called Golden Summit. Stand on the Golden Summit and look afar, Chengdu Plain, Ming River, Qingyi River, Dadu River, Gongga Mountain and Wawu Mountain are all in view.
The Golden Buddha on the summit is the tallest Samantabhadra (Puxian Buddha) golden statue in the world. The statue is 48 m high and weighs 660 metric tons. It’s a gilded bronze statue which is designed by famous designer Li Zuyuan in Taiwan. The statue has ten heads facing ten different directions in three layers, which symbolizes those Buddhas in previous, present, future life and ten practices and wishes of Puxian Buddha.
In the Golden Summit, travelers can also see the four wonders of Mount Emei: the Sunrise, Cloud Sea, Buddha's Halo and Holy Light.
Leidongping is located at Lianwang Slope, with an altitude of 2430 m. The snow here can last for a long time and the slope is also very suitable for skiing, thus, a ski resort has been opened nearby. The way from Leidongping to Jieyin Hall is covered with alpine azaleas. Early summer is the most beautiful time for the azaleas while bright purples and reds cover the ground during this time. There is an azalea tree which is 13 m high with a diameter of 2.7 m. The tree is over 450 years old and it’s definitely the “Queen of Azalea”.
Leidong Smoke Cloud is a meteorological phenomenon in the high and cold zone of Mount Emei. After a night's rainfall, the smoke cloud will rise from the forests and sway with the wind, which forms a stunning and changeable scenery.
Notice: the best time to observe Leidong Smoke Cloud is 9:00 ~ 10:00 and 15:00 ~ 16:00.
Wannian Temple is also one of the top eight temples in Mount Emei and it’s the largest one. Located 15 km from Baoguo Temple and with an altitude of 1020 m, it is first built in Eastern Jin Dynasty (A.D. 317 ~ 420). Wannian Temple is featured for worshiping the bronze statue of Samantabhadra. It has many Buddhist halls. Apart from the halls, there are gardens, pavilions and ponds. One of the highlights of Wannian Temple is the Brick Hall, which was built with bricks and no beams are used in the construction. The Brick Hall has survived 18 earthquakes over the past 400 years, and it’s one of the construction miracles in China.
Located under the Niuxin Ridge, with an altitude of 710 m, Qingyin Pavilion is one of the top eight temples in Mount Emei. Tourists can reach Hongchunping and Xianfeng Temple by taking the left road of Qingyin Pavilion, while the road on the right can lead tourists to Bailong Cave and Wannian Temple. To climb on the mountain, travelers must pass by Qingyin Pavilion. The temple is not big, however, it’s very beautiful and it’s a classic garden architecture of Buddhist temple in China. Travelers can enjoy vegetarian food here. What's more, there are many farmhouse resorts around the temple, so travelers can enjoy local food of Emei city.
Located at the piedmont of Mount Emei, with an altitude of 551 m, Baoguo Temple is the first temple of Mount Emei. As the portal of the whole mountain, it’s the center of various Buddhist activities, and the Emei Buddhist Association is also here. First built in Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368 ~ 1644), Baoguo Temple has five halls at present, and all of them are aligned along the central axis. The whole temple covers an area of 40,000 square meters, and the halls were built along the mountain, thus the back halls are higher than the front halls. The Depository of Buddhist Sutras of the temple has stored many cultural relics, paintings and calligraphies, biological samples in the mountain and the panoramic model of Mount Emei, which provide rich information for those who want to know Mount Emei further.
Mount Emei has the largest Ecological Monkey Zone in China. There are about 1000 monkeys mainly distributed in the area between 800 meters and 2400 meters above sea level. You are most likely to encounter them near Hongchunping, Xixiangchi, Yixiantian, etc. Monkeys here are used to tourists. They will jump from one tree to another at ease and may grab the food from your hands. So if you are not intended to feed them or are afraid of them, don’t take any food on your hands and make sure your bag is zipped up. But if you are ok with the monkeys, here is the place you can have a lot of fun with them.
Xixiangchi, literally meaning “Elephants’ Washing Pool”, is where the Buddha bathed his steed in legend. As one of the top eight temples in Mount Emei, Xixiangchi Temple is located at Zhuantian Slope with an altitude of 2070 m, about 13 km from Golden Summit. This is a high and cold area with heavy snow and rainfall, and you may come cross naughty monkeys here, so please be careful when you arrive at this area.
"Night Moon over the Elephant Washing Pool" is one of the Ten Classic Sceneries in Mount Emei. Xixiangchi is the best place to appreciate the moon in Mount Emei. When the bright moon hangs high in the sky, the moonlight shines over the fir forest and the pool, everything is covered with a silver color.
How can one come to a mountain without hiking, especially one like Mount Emei that offers you several hiking choices with beautiful scenery? The hiking path on Mount Emei is in total about 60 km. You can either choose a leisure hiking and take cable cars to save energy and time, or go for an in-depth hiking which will take at least 2 days.>>More about Mount Emei Hiking
Day 1: Tourist Center – Eco-bus – Wannian Temple Parking Lot – Wannian Temple– Xixin Temple – Chu Temple – Huayan Temple - Leidongping
Day 2: Leidongping - Walking - Jieyin Pavilion - Taizi Ping - Golden Summit - Cable car - Eco-bus - Tourist Center
As one of the earliest places that Buddhism was introduced in, Mount Emei has an irreplaceable position in Buddhism in China. Until today, it still preserves about 30 ancient Buddhist temples with distinctions where monks and nuns leave the secular life and devote themselves to Buddhism. Every year, a large number of believers and ordinary visitors come here to worship Samantabhadra Buddha (Puxian Buddha). On your way hiking up the mountain or at the Gold Summit, it is no surprise to see people bow down or kneel before the Buddha, praying with their palms putting together devoutly.
Hot spring in Mount Emei is very famous, for the spring here is the rare radon hot spring. Radon hot spring can stimulate the contraction and expansion of the skin vascular and adjust the cardiovascular function, thus the radon spring is good for treating high blood pressure and angiocardiopathy. Imagine soaking yourself in the hot spring after a day’s hiking: both your sore feet and tired body can be refreshed. There are many hotels equipped with hot spring, for example, Lingxiu Hot Spring and Hongzhushan Hotel at the mountain foot near Baoguo Temple. There are both indoor and outdoor hot spring for your choice.
The Ski Resort of Mount Emei was built in 1998 and it’s the first ski resort in Sichuan Province. Located at the right side of the parking lot of Leidongping, the Ski Resort has an altitude of 2500 m and covers an area of 10,000 ㎡. The average temperature is about 5℃. It usually snows from November to the next March and the snow can be accumulate to as thick as 1m. The resort has different ski fields to satisfy all kinds of tourists, no matter you are a beginner or professional. Apart from skiing, you can try other activities such as having a snowball fight and building snow sculptures.
The best time to visit Mount Emei is from spring to autumn, especially from April to October. Spring is the season of azaleas when colorful azaleas spread all over the mountain. Besides, tourists can enjoy the Buddhist Ceremony of Mount Emei (from March to April and it lasts about one month) and appreciate thousands of lamps which are lit up to worship the Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. Spring is also the great time to taste the Emei fresh tea. In summer, the weather is clear and fine, and it’s the best time to observe sunrise, sunset, cloud sea and broken spectre. Autum is short but beautiful (from mid-September to October). During this time, the mountain is covered with the glittering red leaves. The snow scenery on Mount Emei is gorgeous, and tourists can also ski and enjoy hot spring in winter. The temperature on the mountain top is low all year round, so make sure you take enough warm clothes with you.>>More about Mount Emei Weather and Best Time
By Flight: The closest airport from Mount Emei is Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, which is about 150 km away. After the flight to Chengdu, travelers can take bullet train (about 1h) to Emeishan Railway Station and then transfer to a public bus (about 20min) to get to the scenic spot.
By Train: At present, there are three train stations in Emeishan: Emeishan Railway Station, Emei Railway Station and Yangang Railway Station. Emeishan Railway Station operates high-speed trains between Emeishan and Leshan (15-25min), Chengdu (1-1.5h), Xian (about 5h), and is only 5 km from Mount Emei, so it is the most-chosen one if you are going to Mount Emei Scenic Area. Emei Railway Station is a station on Chengdu-Kunming Railway and is about 10 km to Mount Emei. So if you are coming from Kunming, this station is more frequently chosen. Yangang Railway Station is more used for freight transport and least-chosen for an Emeishan trip.>>More about Emeishan Train Stations
By Bus: Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station has long distance coach to Emeishan. The coach will departure every half hour and it will take 2.5 hours. Leshan Xiaoba Bus Station has coach to Emeishan, and it will departure every 10 minutes and the ride will take 30 minutes.
Travelers can take public bus, taxi or tricycle to travel around Emeishan City. The prices for those transportation tools are not high.>>More about How to Get to Emeishan and Mount Emei
There are five parking lots in Mount Emei. Tourists can drive to Baoguo Temple and then transfer to the eco-bus to Leidongping or any stops listed below on the way.
There are two cableways in Mount Emei.
Wannian Cableway (from Wannian Parking Lot to Wannian Temple)
Ticket: January 16th ~ December 14th: up is ¥65 and down is ¥45; December 15th ~ next January 15th: up is ¥30 and down is ¥20.
Running time: 6:50 ~ 18:00
Jinding Cableway (from Jieyin Hall to Golden Summit)
Ticket: January 16th ~ December 14th: up is ¥65 and down is ¥55; December 15th ~ next January 15th: up is ¥30 and down is ¥20.
Running time: 20 minutes before sunrise to 18:00
Bamboo Sedan Chair is also called “Huagan” in Sichuan Dialect, and it’s a featured vehicle made up of two bamboo poles and a chair used in Mount Emei. One Bamboo Sedan Chair will be carried by two people on their shoulder and one chair can only sit one people. For those who have run out of strength and have enough budget, taking a Bamboo Sedan Chair can save your strength and you can also appreciate the beautiful scenery along the road.
Mount Emei has many attractions, however, they are scattered all over the mountain. Thus, you need to stay at least one night there if you want to see most of the highlights of the mountain. Choose accommodation according to your tour itinerary. Hongchuanping, Xianfeng Temple, Xixiangchi and Leidongping are all good choices. >>More about Mount Emei Accommodation
City Center and Baoguo Temple Area: If you just plan to go up and down Mount Emei in one day. It is recommended to stay in Emeishan downtown or near Baoguo Temple at the mountain foot. Generally speaking, there will be more choices in downtown with better environment and it will only cost you about ¥10 ~ ¥20 to Baoguo Temple by taxi from the city center.
Leidongping Area: This area is chosen by most hikers. It is about 2.5 hours' hike to the Golden Summit and there are many inns and hotels with a lower price than living on the mountain top. So you can arrive here on the first day and have a rest, then continue your trip to the Golden Summit the next day to catch the sunrise.
Golden Summit Area: On the mountain top with the highest fare and best view. It is an ideal place to stay for sunset and sunrise. But please kindly note that as it is difficult to build hotels on the mountain top, there are only 2-3 choices and the facilities may not as good as those in the city.
Accommodate in Temples: One of the great features of Mount Emei is that travelers can accommodate in temples. Almost all temples on the mountain have guest rooms for tourists. Normally, the price for one bed is from ¥30 ~ ¥60, and for one room is from ¥100 ~ ¥400. Popular temples are Xianfeng Temple, Xixiangchi Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Wannian Temple, etc. One thing need to be noticed: the temples do not accept reservation, so in peak season, if you want to accommodate in temples, please make the arrangement early.
1. Wild monkeys are mainly distributed near Qingyin Pavilion, Yixiantian, Hongchunping and Xixiangchi. The monkeys are not afraid of tourists, and they often ask food from the tourists. If you want to feed the monkey, it’s better hold the food on your hand and throw to them. If you pick food from your bag, don’t forget to rummage the inside out to show your bag is empty, or else they will rummage your bag uninvited. Do not touch the monkeys, even if they seem harmless; do not take valuables with you for some monkeys may grab them from you; do not show fear to the monkeys, for they can be bullies in some cases. If you are in trouble with the monkeys, call for the help of the official staffs. One key to keep safe is bringing a walking stick with you, for the official staffs use walking sticks to disperse the monkeys, thus, the monkeys often are afraid of people with walking sticks.
2. In winter, tourists need to wear antiskid crampon or prepare other antiskid equipment. Some roads on the mountain are difficult to walk and bring a walking stick is very practical.
An Emeishan tour usually starts from Chengdu, and combines visits to both Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei. You can set out for tour at morning from your hotel in Chengdu, then drive about 2.5 hours to Leshan City to visit the Giant Buddha (about 2hrs), then go to stay a night in Emeishan. After that, you can spend one day to visit the highlighting part (Leidongping to Golden Summit), or 2 days to hike from Wannian Temple to Golden Summit, or 3 days to have an in-depth hiking from Qingyin Pavilion to Golden Summit. Eco-bus and cable cars can be used to save energy if you want. After Mount Emei tour, you can transfer back to your hotel in Chengdu, or directly to the airport/train station to continue your trip.
★ Recommended Mount Emei Tours:
If you plan to spend more days travelling, you can join in a popular panda volunteer program, go to the wonderland Jiuzhaigou, see the Leshan Giant Buddha, or expand your trip to Beijing - capital of China, Shanghai - modern metropolis, and Xian - time-honored ancient capital, and Tibet - popular destination from Sichuan to have a deeper understanding of China.
★ Recommended Tours including Mount Emei:
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