We left Chengdu early in the morning to climb the Emei Shan -a climb that should take at least two days for people in good shape, including sleeping one night in a Temple on the mountain. We took a taxi from the hostel to the bus station in Chengdu called Xinanmen . From there we took a three hour bus ride to Bagua Village. you can begin the climb here but it is a long hard climb so you can also take another 30 minutes bus ride from Bagua Village to Wannian Temple . From here you can start to climb, or take the cable car that saves you about an hour and a half of climbing stairs, as we did.
Total hours of climbing stairs: from Wannian temple to Jinding (where the cable car to the golden summit is) – about 12 hours made in two days.
We didn’t know that climbing this mountain is by stairs only. We started climbing at 13:00 pm. At first it seemed pretty easy – climbing stairs. But within three hours of climbing without any way to avoid the stairs - it becomes difficult. Both of us weren’t in a good shape at all during our first mountain climbing.
While climbing we met a bunch of friendly Chinese students who spoke English and they joined us even though we climbed much slower. It was nice to meet Chinese for the first time and they were really lovely. My feet started to get really hurt and I was tired so I decided to pay for the help of the porters that carried me for about an hour.
At 19:00 pm it was quite dark and I felt so weak, felt like I was unable to continue climbing up to the temple where we planned to sleep. All we saw is just more and more stairs, and we didn’t have any idea of how long it would take. I was desperate and ready to just lay down on the stairs and sleep in the freezing cold night. Oded also felt like he is about to faint. We knew that the Chinese students wanted to get to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise in the morning. We tried to tell them to go and reminded them that they have a lot of further climbing for tonight so they must hurry.
They didn’t leave us for a moment.
The Chinese took our bags and just carried us by their hands for over an hour while our legs were shaky and sour until we reached Xixibanchi temple. Without them we would never make it, we really felt dizzy. When we arrived at the temple we said goodbyes and we knew our Chinese friends still have a few more hours of climbing to the summit. Half an hour later a heavy rain started, it was freezing and windy, and we knew that the Chinese are now for sure totally wet because of helping us. Basically from the moment they met us they went at our own pace (slowly) and didn’t leave us behind.
We will never forget these incredible people.
The Xixibanchi temple was filthy and smelly, but of course there was no other option so we stayed. When we arrived there they didn’t have any available beds at the dorms so they let us sleep on mattresses in the Buddha’s room, which was nice because we had a private room at the price of dorms. In short – I recommend choosing another path that doesn’t include staying at this temple.
The next day we got up at 6 am to continue climbing as we planned to return to Chengdu this afternoon. But when we woke up we found that the rain is still falling and we decided to wait a bit. We had breakfast at the temple which included a boiled egg and “bao” bread. At 8:00 am we decided to go out despite the rain and continued to climb carefully about three and a half hours until we got to Laidonping. Then another half-hour walk to the cable car at Jinding that took us to the Golden Summit.
I guess that in a good weather the summit supposed to be amazing, but it was so rainy and foggy that the summit was not as impressive as the fact that we were able to climb the Emei Shan. We both were barely in shape and without any traveling experience.
We took the cable car back. We walked half an hour from Jinding up to Laidonping. We took a two hours bus ride from Laidonping back to Bagua Village.
From Bagua Village we took a 3 hour bus ride back to Chengdu and arrived in the evening.