Located outside Chengdu in Sichuan province, this glorious mountain is home to China’s very first Buddhist temple that was built in the first century CE at the summit of Mt. Emei. At an altitude of 3,000 meters, the Huazang temple is both tremendously beautiful and historically significant.
Mt Emei is home to around 30 temples that vary in historic age and this is what resulted in the scenic areas and nearby Leshan Buddha becoming a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. In order for you to experience this beautiful site to its full potential, we recommend taking at least one full day to explore!
One must-see spot along your travels is the Baoguo Temple upon which is a ticket office and a tourist centre, with sightseeing buses that can take you to different destinations along the mountain. The prices of these bus journeys do vary depending on where you are wanting to travel but the prices vary from around RMB185 per person (peak-time) and RMB110 (off-season).
Very near to the Baoguo Temple is the natural hot springs where travellers can immerse themselves in the rich water that the mountain provides. Along the temple area are different resorts and hotels that can offer swimming as well as yoga and spa treatments. It is also worth noting that the Lingxiu hot spring is open until midnight where guests can enter until 11pm. With the ticket price only RMB138 it is a great way for guests and travellers to unwind after a hard day of exploring the mountain surroundings.
Once you decide you make your journey upon the ascent further up the mountain, you can choose to visit the monkey sanctuary and various temples that are inaccessible by vehicle and require vigorous on-foot hiking. The forest is host to around 3,200 plant species therefore making for some perfect picture scenery! Upon the hiking paths, stone walkways through lush forest and cable bridges tower over steep valleys with many small villages. Mt Emei stands at 3,099 meters above sea level therefore resulting in the walking route being predominantly all stairs.
The longer route up the mountain starts at the Qingyin Pavillion and snakes its way through the forest along the trail of 99 Bends. The shorter route departs from Wannian Temple, joining the longer path at Jiuling Ridge below the Xixiangchi Temple. For those who plan on hiking up the mountain, we strongly recommend that you stay at one of the hotels or monasteries.
Nearly all the monasteries provide accommodation and vegetarian meals. One of the largest is the Xianfeng monastery, which sits at roughly the midway point of the longer hiking trail. Bunks and private rooms are available and range from RMB50 to RMB600 per night.
The vast majority of the mountain’s monasteries and temples are nestled among the trees or sit on narrow protrusions in the wilder parts of the area.
At the Golden Summit, in addition to the Huazang Temple, stands a 48-meter-tall ten-faced statue of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra (Puxian Pusa in Mandarin). After being closed for 15 years for ropeway maintenance, the Wanfo summit re-opened to the public on May 27 this year.
Sitting 20 meters higher than the Golden Summit, it is the true summit of Mt. Emei and home to the Wanfo Temple from the late Qing Dynasty. Because of the altitude and arduous path, visitors are capped at 2,000 per day and those over 60 years old are not permitted.
If you choose to visit the mountain from December (sometimes earlier) to March, the mountain also offers a ski resort with beginner and intermediate skill-level slopes.
Mt Emei is open all year round with the different seasons providing distinct scenery. The spring brings azaleas bloom whilst the autumn brings bright colours to the forest. The cold winter makes for a snow covered winter wonderland. One recommendation is that during the 2021 May Day holiday, over 121,000 visitors travel to the Mt Emei location therefore it is best to avoid during the public holidays if possible in order to have the best experience whilst exploring this beautiful world heritage location.
40 Jingqu Road, Emeishan City, Leshan, Sichuan Province, China