Bus from Leshan to Mt Emei
Leaving the Big Buddha you need to catch a local bus #13 (only 1 yuan) to Leshan Town - it stops opposite the Main Coach Station which you need to go to to either
a) Catch the return coach to Chengdu (bus was 44 yuan one way - I guess it would be same cost to return to Chengdu or perhaps cheaper if buying a return ticket prior to leaving Chengdu)
b) We chose to catch the coach to Mt Emei - cost was 11 yuan per person and it was quite a wait as we'd missed the previous one by minutes and this is an hourly service. Took over an hour to reach Mt Emei - just be vigilant as we were travelling at dusk and as it got dark it was a little hard to work out where we were and we saw Emei Town but this is different to Mt Emei. Lucky for us the bus driver realised where we were destined to travel and told us to sit and soon we'd be there.
Bus to Giant Buddha
Caught the bus/coach to Leshan (44 yuans each) - home of the 71m Buddha.
Once you arrive in Leshan Town you need to catch a local bus #13 (only 1 yuan) to Big Buddha. Not much to see in Leshan Town so go direct to Giant Buddha.
Bus to Pandas
From Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station: Take the Tour Bus Special Line No.902 to go directly to the Panda Base - cost is only 2 yuan per person 1 way trick or 4 yuan return!!
Timetable is more accurate to get there but coming home.... well that's another story.
Bus to Leshan
The best way to get to Leshan from Chengdu is by bus. Buses leave from Chengdu's Xinnanmen bus station every 20 minutes or so. The bus station is located on the southern side of the river on Lin Jiang Zhong Lu near Xin Nan Lu. The journey takes about 2 hours and cost me Y44.
We flew China Air from Chengdu to Beijing and we have to admit that it was a very pleasant flight indeed. The space between the seats seemed much bigger than other flights we have taken(in China and elsewhere) and it was very smooth. We were given a small snack and drink so all in all a very good experience.
The cost of the flight was quite expensive but I put this down to two things...we were flying some distance, our hotel took a hefty commission and we were flying in the afternoon.
Note the facade of the plane...cute!!
Chengdu to Lhasa- Permits in Chengdu
Chengdu is well known as a transit point to Lhasa and all points Tibet. Tibet travel permits and tours are advertised in many places, especially, I found, hostels. However, at least at the Dragontown Youth Hostel, while they may, and I emphasize "may" be able to set permits up for you, that may not be a possibility depending on many unforseen circumstances.
The hostels also advertise the ability to make train and plane tickets for you, but keep in mind that you CANNOT COUNT on the hostels to be able to actually make tickets for you. Ask around.
It's important to remember that there are two types of permits. One is for the city and nearby surroundings of Lhasa and the other is for places outside of those limits, such as Everest Base Camp. Either way you go, you have to be on a "tour".
If you want to get into Lhasa and Tibet by rail, it's possible, and it's a notably scenic ride, or so I hear. However, you have to wait at least 7 (seven) days, maybe even 10 (ten) (depending on the source) for the permit to go through.
If you want to travel by air, the wait is only 1 (one) day, which I haven't yet confirmed by purchase, but sources say so.
The tour deal- according to law, tourists A. need a permit and B. need to be on a "tour". This "tour" isn't so much an official thing, monitored by the State and stricly enforced. Once you get to Tibet, the "tour" is over and you're on your own, unless you happen to be on a real tour. It's a game they play, but many of the hostels and places that actually can get you permits, will package the permits with a ticket, which seems to be fairly reasonably priced
Taxis are inexpensive and convenient
Anne and I were both amazed at how inexpensive it was to get around Cengdu. Like Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, Chengdu is even CHEAPER!!! As in the other cities mentioned, taxis are literally everywhere.
“Flag fall” in a taxi in Chengdu is 5 Yuan, so why would you bother about the bus?. (Approx 7.6 Yuan = US$1.00)
This 5 Yuan is for the first 4 or 5 miles or 5 minutes before the meter even dares to move! (There are signs everywhere that warn that the minimum fare is 5 Yuan.
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China Southern Airlines
Anne and I flew from Zian to Chengdu and we were surprised to find China Southern Airlines to be a hassle free experience.
You often hear horror stories about air travel within China and I must admit that I was dreading the entire experience.
Apart from the standard check in at the airport, which was painfully slow, the rest of the experience was excellent.
The flight departed on time, the aircraft was modern, the crew were friendly, a meal was served, the plane landed on time and our luggage arrived with the same plane....SHEER LUXURY!
I would recommend them to anyone
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Train Tickets- The Smart Way
If you want to get a train ticket, say a soft sleeper to Xi'An, or any of the destination accessible from Chengdu, you could go to the train station, hang around long lines and questionable people, and spend a generally long time for a simple ticket. There's nothing, of course, wrong with that method, but there are easier ways. At the north (?) end of People's Park is a small building built into the bamboo wall along Citang Street. It's a fast, easy way to get tickets.
A soft sleeper to Xi'An at the time of writing (Feb. 2008) cost over 500 RMB for two people, for a top and bottom bunk. The trains were clean, the beds comfortable enough. Smoking isn't allowed in the soft sleeper rooms. The trip took about 16 hours.
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Public city bus #341 will take you to Chadianzi bus station, a little ways out of town. If you take the main north-south road north around the square, there is a stop just left of the main road (I'll try to get the road names). Get on the 341 (1 yuan) and ride it to the Chadianzi long distance bus station (it's terminus). (See next transport tip for that station...) When you get to the station, you arrive at the left side amid a bunch of buses. Go inside the building to your right and there's a ticket office, behind which you'll find the bus to Dujiangyan. Buses for Dujiangyan leave probably on some sort of schedule, or when full... cost about 16 yuan per person and it takes about an hour to get there.
When you arrive at Dujiangyan, you'll be met by touts (big surprise) and people telling you to take their bus or car or... all you need to do is walk out side and you'll see a parking lot area and a local city bus numbered 101 that will take you for 2 yuan a person to Qingcheng Shan. If you want to go to Hou Shan, that may not be possible in the winter (they told us it was too cold in February...) and so it may be hard to find transport there by public means, though I'm sure a van driver would take you there. It should be no problem at all in the summer or warm months.
The 101 will drop you off at a parking lot below the mountain.
To get back, you have to note that there are two 101 buses and both stop at Qingcheng Shan. The 101 A, green lettering, goes between Qingcheng Shan and a scenic spot. If you happen to take that bus, you can get bus #4 from the scenic spot to the bus station. It picks up right where the 101A drops off. The 101, red lettering, goes straight back to the bus station.
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I'm used to being honked at by taxi drivers, desperate or at least interested in a fare... here in Chengdu, it's quite difficult to actually get a taxi. Even by the taxi stand where the airport bus drops off, drivers were hard to convince to take us anywhere. Around the city it was just the same. We waited by taxi stands, but no taxis came. When one stopped to drop someone off, we'd ask if we could get in and be told "no". Maybe they don't want foreigners, maybe they can't take us, maybe a lot of things. But they don't make themselves readily available, and apparently, your hotel can't call you a taxi, or so said the Dragontown Youth Hostel people. Whatever. There are buses (with some English for the name of each terminus). Walking is a good option.
You can hail a cab, but it seemed like there were very few empty ones and those who were didn't like to stop.
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Chengdu highway bus
since Sichuan province has a big map and lot of huge mountains, the main transportation tool is highway bus. but because of the mountains, some higway pass through the cave, most of them twist in the mountain. It may cost you a whole day on the road from one town to another, also some sleeper bus supplied.
For travellers, Xin Nan Men station is best. It's located at the south of the city.
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Getting around central Sichuan
Although there are good expressways in central Sichuan, do allow time for getting to those expressways. Half the journey time to Dujiangyan, for example, is spent getting past the first 15km of urban sprawl on China’s classic outer suburban routes – wide boulevards in poor condition with frequent traffic lights and a dangerous mix of pedestrians, cyclists, animals, mopeds and heavy wandering aimlessly all over the road.
If you are booking a tour guide and vehicle for a day or a few days, make absolutely sure that your deal ensures that you will always use expressways where possible. Our planned 30 minute journey to Chengdu’s Shangliu Airport for our departure ended up taking 90 minutes because the driver refused to take the expressway. To make matters worse, these roads were in dangerous condition and we saw several accidents in the 15km, including one extremely serious one.
Chengdu Airport is a remarkably large airport with three wings on the airside (A, B and C), yet despite 90% of the jetways being empty, many of the flights mean boardng a bus to board the plane far away down the apron. As it rains a lot in Chengdu, expect to get wet while waiting to get on the plane!
The new airport terminal is an architectural masterpiece cleverly combined with functional ineptitude, with insufficient office and check-in desks planned into the terminal building. As a result, vast areas of the terminal building are crammed with hastily added desks and office space - almost as if it came as a big surprise that passengers wold be wanting to check-in and office staff would need space.
Chengdu Airport has also seemed to achieve one of the most cunning pieces of building design in recent years: they have fitted small, old, stinky toilets into a brand new building. Excellent cost saving (check out the ones on the upper floor behind the check-in desks if you don't believe me).
The airport is fairly close to the city - at Shangliu - and taxis cost around RMB45 to the city centre area. On arrival, the taxis are way off down to the left. Take unofficial taxis at your own risk. There is also an airport-to-city bus.
To anyone wishing to visit Chengdu, My wife and I visited Chengdu last June 9, 10 & 11, 2006. We had made internet arrangements for our transportation with an English speaking driver before we left home with a man named “Mickal”. We were arriving at about 10:00pm on our flight from Hong Kong so there was nothing left for that day but to get to the hotel and try to eat and sleep. With Mickal’s help, this was an enjoyable experience and we were ready for our one chance day to make it to Wolong. This sounded pretty easy from all the research we had done, but it was certainly not the case. The road is not only difficult on a good day, but it is under serious construction as we write. The driving skills that Mickal exhibited were outstanding! In the face of all the obstacles we encountered, he had us at our destination in excellent time. WOLONG NATURE RESERVE!!! We enjoyed seeing the area the Pandas really live in. It is outstanding. With that behind us, Mickal suggested we visit the Panda Research & Breeding Center just outside downtown Chengdu. We had only the next morning before our next flight to Xian. We had believed this would be too much like a zoo, but he persuaded us to see it. It is excellent!!! He also managed to get us to the Wenshu Temple & Monastery and back to the airport for our next flight in record time. We cannot speak highly enough of the help Mickal provided for us. If you are going this way, and do not have him to help you, you will be losing out. He is an outstanding person. If anyone wishes to contact us directly about this, please feel free to drop us an e-mail and we will be happy to respond and try to assist you. Sincerely Yours, Bob & Sharon Letendre Boston, Ma USA firstname.lastname@example.org P.S. Mickal’s e-mail address is: email@example.com Cell #: 136 7817 7817
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