Leshan (乐山; Lèshān) is a city near in Sichuan Province. Sitting on the confluence of the Dadu, Mín and Qingyi rivers it is most famous for its huge riverside cliff-carving of Buddha and nearby Mount Emei; which together are a World Heritage Site.
The nearest train stations are in Emei and Jiajiang, both about forty minutes away by bus. These stations are on the Kunming-Xian railway line and this can be the cheapest way to reach Chengdu. :)
As of 2015, there is a newly opened high-speed connection between Chengdu and Emei Shan. The journey to Chengdu from Leshan takes approximately 50min (aprox 45RMB) and to Emei Shan takes 15 min (aprox 11RMB). The high-speed train station is located on the west side of the city and well connected to the city center and Buddha. Bus number 3 runs from the high-speed station to the Buddha directly, (say 45min, easy to see where to get out if you pay attention.) 1RMB,
Pedicab - Leshan has many pedicabs that are cheap and convenient for short journeys.
Public bus - Buses are regular and uncrowded in Leshan. Most are fairly modern and charge ¥1 per journey which you normaly pay to the conductor. You may have to request your stop.
Taxi - During the day the first two kilometres are charged at ¥5 and after at the rate of ¥0.70/km. A fuel surcharge of ¥0.50 is currently added at the end of the journey and is explained by a white sticker in front of the front passenger seat.
Leshan Grand Buddha (乐山大佛 lèshāndàfó) - One of the main attraction to see is the Leshan Grand Buddha. The Grand Buddha is a 71 meter (230 feet) high sculpture carved into one of the large cliffs by the river. In addition to the Grand Buddha, there are also numerous smaller carvings of various Buddhas on the Grand Buddha Cliff Road. Other than carvings, there are also various temples and shrines scattered about, the beautiful Haoshang bridge, and some wonderful small waterfalls.
Leshan Grand Buddha
The Buddha was carved into the mountain face to watch over a part of the river that while very busy for transport was claiming the lives and stock of many boats. Upon completion of the now largest Buddha in the world the river became safe, and thus Buddha saved "us all". You may speculate about this and modern scientists will quickly point out the rock displacement to the river bed would have changed the currents, and killed off the eddies that were pulling boats down. Why the river is now safe i shall leave to you.
If you go late in the day, you will not have to compete with many Chinese tour groups who seem to go in the morning. There are two ways to see the giant Buddha: on foot and by river ferry. To see the giant Buddha Statue by ferry you can take one of the ferries from the dock for ¥70. The ferry will cross the river and stop in front of the statue for 10 minutes for everyone to go to the top deck and take pictures and then return to the dock. Ferry fare does not include admission to the park itself Taking the ferry allows you to view the two guards carved into the cliff face which is not visible by foot. The total trip will take around 40 minutes. The view from the ferry is not much different from the view at the base of the statue, which would make it unnecessary unless you're dead set on having a photo taken of yourself with the Buddha.
An alternative is take a taxi or bus (#13 from downtown) to the statue and climb up and down on the cliff surrounding the Buddha. Costs ¥90 (¥50 with a valid student ID) to enter the park. There is a staircase next to the Buddha to take you down to its feet. In the mornings, long lines develop to walk down the cliff to the base of the Buddha and you can expect to wait for around 2 hours. It may be best to arrive very early or in the late afternoon to avoid the jostling and lines. There are several other (newer) things to see on site, so perhaps seeing them first and saving the Buddha for last is a smart strategy.
There is a third alternative in winter. When the water level of the 3 rivers is low, there appears a rubble island on which you can walk towards the buddha. The island ends maybe 200 metres in front of the statue, but it's a nice panorama from there. You can get to the island with a ferry from the south bank of the city (¥1 per passage) and walk about 2km from there. Entrance to the mountain, though not expensive to most, can be reduced in price if you pester them for Student or OAP discounts, both available, though a quick grasp of Chinese is useful.
Food in this locality is very expensive and is best avoided unless you are very hungry in which case any of the cafes nearby will do. Given that you will pay through the nose anyway, it's best to choose the one with air con if you are visiting in the summer. For more information see: UNESCO .
Ebony Museum - This is well worth a visit if you are not familiar with ebony and the amazing carvings that can be made from it. Some of the displays are a bit tacky but there are some spectacular carvings of famous Chinese literary and legendary scenes. The Chairman Mao Badge Museum is no longer on-site.
As of August 2011, it appears that this museum has moved to a new location on the road from Chengdu to Leshan. Admission is 70 yuan.
To get there from downtown Leshan, take bus #8 to its terminus. From there, take a pedicab to the museum for no more than five yuan. Alternatively, you could take a taxi for approximately 40 yuan.
There doesn't appear to be any related Mao memorabilia exhibition.
Beauty Peak National Forest Park(美女峰国家级森林公园) Beauty peak aka three asan, located in Leshan City, Sandy Bay area south of Emei Mountain, is a third peak,2027 meters above sea level, due to the shape of a beautiful woman supine, praised by Guo Moruo as" the sleeping beauty".
Browse the markets at wùyān jiē (婺嫣街) and xīngfā jiē (兴发街).
Haitang Park (海棠公园 hǎitáng gōngyuán) - 520 hǎitáng lù（海棠路520号), Open 08:00-20:00.
Laoxiaoding is the tallest hill within Leshan's old city limits. Now it is a pleasant park with pavillions and teahouses. From Moruo Square take the road heading north to its end and then along the winding uphill path. The park gate will be to your right.
Blind massage near the dockside on xiangxiang jie. 50 rmb for one hour. Phone: 15892830523
There are hundreds of teahouses in Leshan. The best are those outdoors; especially those along the banks of the Dadu and Min rivers and in Leshan's parks. All great places to play Majiang or Leshan's unique erqishi card game.
杨家老宅茶馆 (yángjiā lǎozhái cháguǎn) - 52 gǔlóu jiē (鼓楼街52号). 0833-2115000. Open Monday to Sunday. An atmospheric teahouse set within a cluster of old buildings and decorated with old photographs of Leshan and the Grand Buddha.
Banana Club. Don't expect much, 1 of 2 night clubs in Leshan. Busy on Saturdays, but will die down by 11PM on weekdays. Try Zero Beer (brewed for a good time). ~¥30/bottle. (As of July 2014, the entrance to Banana Club was bricked in and the club seems to be closed.edit
Taoyuan Hotel (桃源宾馆 táoyuán bīnguǎn, 滨江路138号 138 bīnjiāng lù), (Next to Leshan Port), ☎ 0833-2101188. Probably the most convenient hotel for most travellers especially since it's literally across the street from where the Leshan Buddah tourist boats start their 30min cruiseEconomical Room ¥80 (bargain to ¥50), Standard Room ¥230, Luxury Twin Room ¥260, Luxury Single Room ¥280, Luxury Suite ¥888. edit