Which is the Better Way to Travel Leshan Giant Buddha: Boat Ride or Hiking

Originally carved since 713 AD during ancient Tang Dynasty and its completion took 90 years, Leshan Giant Buddha sitting at the confluence of three rivers (Min River, Qingyi River and Dadu River) once was built to quell catastrophic floods and pray welfare of common people. Now The 71-meter-tall Leshan Giant Buddha is a UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage and the world’s biggest and highest stone-caved Buddha statue with over 1,300 years’ history. When visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu or Emeishan, there are two different tour ways (routes) offered for tourists, including taking a 30-minute boat ride on the river to see the panorama view and hiking 2 hours above closely seeing the head to toe of Giant Buddha. Based time, money, energy and physical costs, you can choose one or both ways to enjoy different angles of view of the Giant Buddha during your Leshan Tour!

Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Leshan Giant Buddha - the Biggest and Tallest Buddha Statue in the World

Take A Boat Ride to See Full View of Leshan Giant Buddha

Ticket: 120-150 CNY (not including the scenic spot ticket)

Length & Duration: about 30~40 minutes

From & To: Leshan Port Sightseeing Cruise Wharf, Baxiandong Sightseeing Cruise Wharf (return the same way)

Sightseeing Hours: 07:30-18:00 (April 1 - October 7), 08:00-17:00 (October 8 - March 31 next year)

Highlights & Advantages: best front & full view of Leshan Giant Buddha, “sleeping Buddha” & whole mountain scenery, three rivers

Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Boat Ride to Enjoy Full View of Leshan Giant Buddha

Don’t want to hiking the stairs and spend time on lining down and up? Travel with children or senior family? So, a Leshan Giant Buddha boat tour is a smart choice for you, because it saves your money of buying the entrance ticket, and meanwhile gives you a great panoramic view of the Leshan Giant Buddha from the front river. It’s a leisurely way if you plan to avoid the crowd and enjoy the imposing full image of the Giant Buddha.

The boat tour takes about 30 minutes short. After buying the ticket, you can take boat at two wharves by the Min River, north of Leshan Giant Buddha: Baxiandong Sightseeing Cruise Wharf (八仙洞码头, also called Baxiandong Cruise Terminal, Baxiandong Dock) or Leshan Port Sightseeing Cruise Wharf (乐山港码头, Leshan Port Dock).

First Line up to board, because the boat normally accommodate about 30 passengers. Please wear your life vest (provided for free) quickly after you get on the ferry, for it will depart soon once fully loaded. The sightseeing boat will head downstream towards the Giant Buddha quickly after a few minutes. Make sure you choose the left side to get a first chance to take photo. Then it turns around and slow down for a short stop (about 10 minutes) in front of the Buddha, when you can go upstairs, change to right side to take more photos or videos of the Giant Buddha. Here you can view intact big and stunning Buddha carved on the cliff. It gets crowded without any exception. But you can pay to take a photo with the Giant Buddha by a professional worker without other tourists in sight. When the boat returns back to the wharf, you can also enjoy the river view on both sides and capture a vivid Giant Sleeping Buddha upon the river. You won’t go ashore during the entire boat tour, and after landing at where you board, you can collect the photos at the Ticket Office.

Recommended Leshan Giant Buddha Tour by Boat:

√ 2 Days Best Chengdu Leshan Giant Buddha Tour with Boat Sightseeing

Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Baxiandong Cruise Terminal
Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Purchace river tour ticket here
  • Baxiandong Cruise Terminal: is located at the right side of Leshan Giant Buddha, about 1 km (15 minutes’ walking) to the North Entrance Gate of Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area, and 1.2 km (18-20 minutes’ walking) to the Tourist Center in the north.
  • Leshan Port/Dock: is on the other side of Min River, about 5 km (15 minutes’ driving from Leshan Xiaoba Bus Station). More tourists like to take the boat ride than Baxiandong Cruise Terminal.

Tips for Leshan Giant Buddha Boat Tour:

1.The boat ticket can NOT be booked online in advance, it can only be bought at scene after arrival. Acceptable payment includes cash (CNY only), by Alipay and Wechat.

2.There is no toilet on the boat and the boat won’t dock during the sightseeing tour, so better use the bathroom before boarding.

3. If rainstorms happen frequent in Summer, the Leshan Giant Buddha boat tour will be suspended temporarily for safety.

4. From May 1, 2018, the yacht (speed-boat) tour of Leshan Giant Buddha has been halted.

Hike Down and Up to Closely View Head to Feet of Leshan Giant Buddha

Entrance Fee: 80 CNY per person

Length & Duration: about 2 hours ~ half a day

Entrance Gates: 3 gates, North Gate, East Gate, South Gate (need packaged ticket of Leshan Giant Buddha & Oriental Buddha Capital - Dongfang Fodu)

Opening Hours: 07:30-18:30 (April 1 to October 7) & 08:00-17:30 (October 8 to March 31 next year); visit by appointment

Highlights & Advantages: awesome close view of Leshan Giant Buddha from top and bottom, Lingyun Temple, Forest, Beautiful Surroundings, Lots of Buddhist Statues...

Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Hiking Adenture to See Leshan Giant Buddha

If you have a half day and more time, making a hiking trip is truly an adventure and interesting way of visiting Leshan Giant Buddha. It allows you to see each parts of Leshan Giant Buddha closely and presents you a surprising experience with many ancient Buddhist temples, sculptures, caves and religious relics on the way up to mountain top near the head of the Buddha.

Parking near the North Gate is very convenient, so most tourists choose to enter Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area from the North Gate and exit from the East or South Gate (to visit Haoshang Bridge and Wuyong Temple). Enter through the Entrance Gate, you need to walk along a well-paved rocky footpath, where many Buddhist terms were carved on the left-side red sandstone walls. After walking for more than 10 minutes, you will finally arrive at Lingyun Temple (Dafo Temple), a very beautiful ancient Buddhist temple built in early Tang Dynasty keeping many Buddha figures and nice architectures. The 13-storey Lingbao Tower (similar architectural style as Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian) standing behind the temple is another landmark of Leshan City.

Walk further, soon you get to the right side of head of the Leshan Giant Buddha, where you can see the upper body and super big head, ear and slightly open eyes of the Giant Buddha. Hiking in former section is easy and simple. But going downstairs along the zigzag “Nine Plank Road” (Jiuqu Plank Road 九曲栈道) on the edge of the mountain to toe of the Buddha at the bottom may be a uncertain trail. The 278 stairs down are circuitous, steep and very narrow one-way path only for one person through at one time, so it will be quite crowed when there has thousands of visitors, and you must line up for two to four hours long, and finish the hiking once start.

The slow hiking is well worth the time and effort once you arrive at the statue feet, physically see the huge size, even a toe nail is bigger than your body. Look up at the Buddha, you surely will be shocked by its enormous size and overwhelming solemnity. Behind the construction, learn the ancient wisdom, harmonious coexisting of human and nature and unique Chinese culture with a tour guide. Take some memorable photos at the feet platform. Buddha feet are separated by rail for protection, but you can feel the torrential waters flowing and twisting under the Buddha. Later you need to hike up by another different path - Lingyun Plank Road (凌云栈道) at the left cliff to exit. En route out, you can visit Stele Forest, Museum of Hanya Tomb, Mahao Fishing Village. Exit from the South Gate and cross Haoshang Bridge (also known as Leshan Bridge), you can visit Wuyou Temple in the west island without extra tickets.

Recommended Leshan Giant Buddha Tours by Hiking:

√ 1 Day Giant Panda Visit & Leshan Giant Buddha Tour
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Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Purchace river tour ticket here
Visit Leshan Giant Buddha by Boat or Hiking Giant Buddha Viewed from Feet
  • Jiuqu Plank Road: Carved in Tang Dynasty (same period as the Leshan Giant Buddha), has 278 stone steps, the widest is 1.45 m and the narrowest is 0.6m; vertical height: about 70m.
  • Lingyun Plank Road: Starts from the feet of Leshan Giant Buddha and ends in Bijin Tower at back mountain area, with a length of about 500m.

Tips for Leshan Giant Buddha Hiking Tour:

1.Leshan Giant Buddha is a famous attractions which attracts numerous tourists. During weekend and national public holidays, it will be extremely crowded, possibly the lining up gets longer to 4 hours. And the best visiting time is in early morning when most groups of tourist arrive after 10:00am.

2.For independent travelers who don’t speak Chinese well, English communication with the local workers is difficult.

Other Special Ways to Visit Leshan Giant Buddha

1.Night Cruise Tour of Three Rivers

As the biggest night view project in Sichuan, the Night Cruise Tour of Three Rivers in Leshan provides tourists opportunity to look at the Leshan Giant Buddha decorated with modern light shows. The cruise tour route is: Wuyou Temple Cruise Terminal - Leshan Giant Buddha - Guanfo Tower - Baxiandong Cruise Terminal.

Departing from the dock, passengers will see ancient city of Qing Dynasty across the river, forming a distinct contrast with the buildings standing riverside. When getting close to the Buddha, the construction story will be told by the dazzling light performance. The colorful Giant Sleeping Buddha is the top highlight to help you recognize the lively sharp unclear in daytime.

2.Lingyun Mountain Night Tour

This is a culture themed evening tour newly opened for tourists. Walking under the dim lights and visit ancient sites near the Buddha, it brings you back to old time, contact with the history, give a quiet Buddhist shrine to sense. The evening mountain tour route is: North Gate - Front Mountain Path - Lingyun Temple/Head of Buddha - Yufu Pavilion - Haishi Cave - Lingbao Tower - Fengjilou Parking Lot - East Gate. Jiuqu Plank Road won’t open for safety.

3.Sun Island Tour

It is a less-known but very local way to overlook the front of Giant Buddha from Sun Island. You need to take a cruise to get to Sun Island from Tieniumen Dock between 08:00-18:00. Except viewing Giant Buddha at a distance, you can still drink tea, play Mahjong in a local farm house. The consumption is very reasonable.

  • Lights on Time: 19:30-22:40 (May - October); 19:00-22:30 (November-April)
  • Cruise Hours: 20:00-22:30 (departs at 20:00, 21:30) (May - October); 19:30-22:00 (departs at 19:30, 21:00) (November-April)
  • Mountain Tour: 19:30—22:30 (May - October); 19:00—22:30 (November-April)

How to Plan Your Leshan Giant Buddha Tour

Leshan Giant Buddha is located about 2 hours’ driving from downtown Chengdu. After your Panda tour in Chengdu, you will be transfer to Leshan in the morning. You’re suggested to make a Buddha boat tour within half a day, if your schedule is tight and you plan to visit Mount Emei in the afternoon. Of course, you can choose to hike if there are less visitors and you get to the scenic area very early. When time permits, you may have an in-depth exploration of Leshan Giant Buddha, try the two visiting ways together to enjoy different views and scenery, even go to nearby spots in Leshan, such as experiencing the only existing coal-burned railway in China - Jiayang Steam Train in Qianwei County, etc. Extended Emeishan Tours usually takes about 1 to 2 days, depending on your hiking route, physical condition and length of holiday. >> 2 Days Leshan Giant Buddha Visit with Jiayang Steam Train Experience

Travel Leshan with China Discovery

China Discovery is an experienced, professional and considerate travel companion based in Chengdu. Travel with us, you can enjoy well-organized tour services in the most convenient way, including the pick-up, local tour guide and drive, thoughtful accommodation, dining and worry-free transportation between each site and the ticket booking, etc. With our help, you can fully focus on the sightseeing journey using the minimum cost of time and energy. According to your itinerary and hobbies, you may choose from our Popular Leshan Giant Buddha Tours or contact us to customize a special one.

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