After a quick two days in Leshan, it was time to move on to neighbouring city Emeishan. We headed to the train station and for a measly £1.50/ US$1.88, bought ourselves a ticket. With the ride only taking 15 minutes, we’d barely sat down before it was time to get back up again! As the area of Emei/ Emeishan is so tiny, it was really easy to navigate the bus system which was clearly labelled in English thanks to the high levels of tourism in the area. There isn’t really much to see or do apart from visit Mount Emei, one of four sacred mountains in China, so all tourism focuses around that. The bus dropped us pretty much outside our hostel which is always a bonus. We dumped our bags off in the room and immediately set off to visit the Baoguo Monastery as I’d read they offered a ‘vegetarian feast’ for a small cost and we were huuuungry!
It took about 15 minutes to walk along the road and up to the Monastery, where we explored the narrow pathways and staircases leading to different areas of the temple. At 6pm, the food court opened and people started to head inside. It was pretty small – nothing like the food court at the Aidao Monastery where I’d attended a vegetarian lunch ceremony a few days previously.
It wasn’t quite the ‘feast’ we were expecting but it was a cheap, tasty and filling dinner. For just 15RMB (£1.75/ US$2.20), we had a choice of four or five vegetarian dishes and were free to eat as much as we liked. I’d read online that there would be a number of amazing mock meat dishes but this wasn’t the case and the dishes we had were just with veggies.
We had an early night as Gary needed to be up early the next morning to climb Mount Emei. After being bitten by a monkey last time I climbed the mountain, I was in no rush to do it again!
Gary left the hostel at 6am to catch a bus up the mountain, so he could see as much as possible in one day. Ideally, you’d want two days… but we hadn’t realised this when booking our trains. I decided to head into the city centre, hoping to find a cafe to do some work in as our hostel internet was pretty much non-existent. As the bus crawled through the centre, it soon became clear that there was NOTHING to do in the city! No cafes… and barely any shops. It was mostly a collection of run down garages and empty shops, boarded up. I stayed on the bus and got off at an ‘eco tea farm’ called Zhu Ye Qing.
After walking through some of the grounds, I came across a small cafe. When I went inside, it was clear that the girls working there didn’t often have Western tourists visiting! They jumped up as I came in, and very excitedly hurried me outside to the best seat in the house – in my own private pagoda on the lake! I ordered some fresh green tea which was brought out to me by three ladies. Along with my glass of tea, I was given a two litre flask of hot water to top myself up as much as I wanted.
Once the tea had been brought over, one of the ladies hovered by me and indicated that she’d like to have a photo with me. As weird as it was, I was kind of used to this now in China, so said yes. She excitedly called over the others so they could have their photo taken too. Each of them wanted a photo with me on my own and another with the others. When they were finally done, I grabbed my camera and asked for a photo of my own!
When I was left to enjoy my tea, I realised the park had free wifi, so I had the perfect spot to catch up on the blog.
In the evening, we ended up having to move rooms because Gary had been completely devoured by bed bugs in the night and was now COVERED in swollen red bites 🙁 We were able to upgrade from our eight bed dorm to a private double for a minimal fee.
The next evening it was once again time to move on – this time on an overnight train to Kunming where we had a four hour wait in the train station before catching another train to Lijiang, one of my favourite places in China 🙂