Emei Shan Hike – Sichuan’s Sacred Mountain of Chinese Buddhism

Highlights of China

From Leshan Buddha, we then travelled by coach for almost 2 hours by road to the West for our Emei Shan hiking to the Golden Summit. Emei Shan is one of four sacred mountains of China. With over 30 temples and monasteries, Emei Shan is a heaven for temple seekers and nature lovers alike.

Mount Emei (Emei Shan) – One of the Four Sacred Mountains of China

From Leshan Buddha, we then travelled for almost 2 hours by road to the West to Emei Shan. Emei Shan is one of four sacred mountains of China, which are…

  • Wu Tai Shan (North) – Shanxi Province
  • Jiu Hua Shan (South) – Anhui province
  • Pu Tuo Shan (East) – Zhejiang Province (An Island South East of Shanghai)
  • Emei Shan (West) – Sichuan Province

Mount Emei is actually made up of 4 mountains – Da’e, Er’e, San’e and Si’e, but we often refer to the largest of these as Emei Shan. The destination is sacred as it was the place of the enlightenment of Boddhisattva Samantabhadra.

A Boddhisattva is someone who reached enlightenment during their lifetime rather than after death in Mahayana Buddhism (often referred to as the higher or greater vehicle).

The sacred mountain is home to around 30 temples and monasteries, and over 300 Buddhist monks inhabit these today.

Baoguo Temple

The first stop or a good point to start trekking further up Mt. Emei is Baoguo temple. We were pleased to witness worship and rituals here.


Emei Shan hiking is quite a trek with numerous steps that could take many hours to reach an elevation of 3099m. If you are up for a relaxing hiking challenge, it is well paved and stepped most of the way.

The numerous steps can take their toll, so if you think that you will feel it, or your knees won’t hold out, go for the cable car ride up to the top.

Mt. Emei Natural Ecology Monkey Reserve

During the hike, you will encounter monkeys for sure, as the surrounding area is a natural ecology monkey reserve. These critters are not scared of human beings – they will come right up to you, especially if your fellow tourists are feeding them (which is not advised!). One guy even tried to steal my water bottle and made a grab for my camera.

emei shan hiking to Golden Summit

Emei Shan Hiking – Reaching the Golden Summit

If you hike the whole way, which could take up to 16 hours, you will be amazed at the top – the views from the summit are spectacular. The golden statue at the summit is a whopping 48m high. The unique head of the statue faces in 10 directions, one for each of the Boddhisattva’s ten universal truths.

Golden Summit

If you do walk down as well, you will need to stay at least one night over at one of the monasteries or hotels. We copped out and most of us hopped on the cable car on the way down (finished around 4.30pm) or hired a couple of men to carry them in hammocks on sticks (very expensive!) You will probably have jelly legs by the time you reach the bottom after Emei Shan hiking, but well worth it!


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