China day 8: Big Buddha

So day 8 was a big day in China! Post the panda bust, we got back into our car and headed 200km to the largest buddha on the planet. It promised to be epic but we took it with a grain of salt because the panda center was supposed to be amazing as well.

On the way, we had to stop for gas. And apparently our up close and personal look at the gas pump is not normal. Our driver asked us to get out of the car at the entrance to the station, and we noted others were doing the same. While waiting, both the cutesy and ugliest dog came strolling by. He literally was strolling, he had a plan of where he was going, walked inches past us and never slowed down.

Lomo

Post gas it was back on the highway and I have to say our driver kinda sucked. He wasn’t pleasant at all and even when we would say please and thankyou for stuff, he wouldn’t say anything back. You could tell he was not happy to be driving all day. Poor service I am sadd to say has been pretty prominent this trip, at least by western standards.

Anyway, once we pulled up to the Big Buddha park, the one thing that struck is was the humidity. The air was sopping wet. Crazy crazy wet. It immediately brought back flashes of the Bangkok horror.

The Entrance

Immediately we were drenched in sweat and it promised to be a hike up a huge staircase to get to the buddha. Ugh.

Stairway to Buddha, level 1 of 150

On the way up, there was a “Little Buddha Cave”, so we decided to hop in.

The Cave entrance

Oh cool, there IS a little buddha in there. Well he wasn’t little. More like the size of a d lineman.

Cave Buddha

Post the mini break we got back to the climb. It wasn’t as tiring as sweat inducing. Sweat was literally pouring off us and into our eyes. Gross and it burns.

We did get a few cool views of the surrounding city on the way up.

View of Le Shan

Just about when were ready to call it quits and have a little google images and Photoshop fun, we saw the upper gate.

Final stairway

Ok, this was cool and well worth the hike up. Buddha was HUGE, and it’s impressive to think he was carved into the hillside hundreds of years ago!

First up his “corn rows”, each twist was the size of a head

Corn Rows

Alright let me just show you how big we are talking.

His head is almost as big as my friend Tony’s. Check out the people against the railing for a sense of scale.

Big Buddha

He has an awesome view out onto the world.

Buddha’s POV

Now, this is a full body buddha and his body is carved into the cliff side to the scale of his head. If you look at the picture above you can see the stairway leading you down. I’m sorry to say we just couldn’t do it. It was too hot and the line down was taking an hour minimum. If you have never experienced a packed chinese stairway in the heat, then you don’t get it 🙂 but we got some awesome views down, but no good photos 😦

What’s really cool about the entire place is that it’s still a working temple, and along the way at all of the Buddha people were praying and showing respect. We found this courtyard with all of these prayer candles and lamps. And of course you could pay and get one, but what was cool is that it was dirt cheap. Not at all priced to make a profit. Very cool.

My lamp for my one wish…

We also spotted this bad ass monk protecting the entrance.

Be Careful

Speaking of pimps, this guy made it look easy

Balance

So it was back to the car and beside the parking lot we spotted her.

Sleeping Beauty

She was in this room of lawn chair, and i initially thought it was some type of cooling room, but then realized it had no door. So maybe it was just a place to catch a rest while waiting for family or friends to come out of the park??

Now it was back in the car and on the way to the airport. The driver was grumpier than ever and the traffic home was tough. We saw a total of 5 accidents to and fro and it made us want to use the seat belts, but of course they didn’t work. Doh!

We made it to the airport and checked into the first class lounge. Not bad. Next up, the final day in Beijing.

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