Two weeks ago a friend and me made a two day trip to beautiful Mount Emei (峨眉山 – E Mei Shan) ca. 150km / 2,5 h bus ride south of Chengdu to do a little bit of hiking.
With its peak at 3,099 m Mount Emei is the highest of the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism in China and since 1996 also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are more than one hundred monasteries and temples doted along the slopes and peaks of the mountain.
First we arrived at the village at Bao Guo Temple (报国寺) which is the entry gate to Emei Shan National Park and equipped us with food, drinks and –following the advice of the locals – a walking stick to protect ourselves. From there you can either cheat and take a bus straight up to the cable car at 2,500m or go to one of the hiking tracks at the foot of the mountain – of course we opted for the strenuous hike!
After we walked past the various food and souvenir stalls around the bus station we made our way up the mountain through the ‘Natural Ecology Monkey Zone’ where we soon realized what the stick was meant for. The Tibetan macaque monkeys in this area are stealing snacks, drinks, cameras or anything else within their reach of careless tourists walking by. This can be quite fun as long as you are not the one being looted by them! 😉
We finally managed to pass the monkeys without losing anything of value and went on a 5 hour hike up to the Yu Xian Monastery (遇仙寺) which would be our home for the night. On our way up we were literally the only ones on the track, which, since you are actually never alone in China, can be a very relaxing feeling. This gave us the chance to really enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
When we woke up the next day the whole mountain was covered in a thick layer of clouds which made the giant statues on the Golden Peak Summit (金顶) look a bit surreal, but I managed to snap a photo when the sun came out for a few seconds.