Emeishan ChinaIf you can picture the quintessential Chinese mountain scene painted on a rice-paper scroll, with mist-shrouded mountain peaks and long stone stairways connecting ancient pagodas perched atop cliffs, then you can picture Emeishan. Emeishan is home to the first Buddhist temple in China and the place where Buddhism is said to have taken hold in the country in the 1st century. Pilgrims and tourists come in droves to see the key sights but for those looking to trek the 10,000-foot mountain and enjoy its 100 plus monasteries, temples, and pavilions over the course of a two-day hike, it’s a heavenly ascent.

 

The many steps of Emeishan ChinaIf it weren’t for our twenty-thousand-stair warm up trek to Annapurna Base Camp we might have been shocked by the sheer volume of steps on Mount Emei, but with much smaller rucksacks, and storybook images at every turn, we climbed from monastery to monastery without complaints.

 

Prayers and incense at Emeishan ChinaEvery hour or so, a temple like this would appear in the forest. We would pop in to admire the Buddhist art, take a whiff of the heady incense, watch the monks minding the holy grounds, and take a chug of water before carrying on.

 

Kangxi Emperor's visit to Emeishan ChinaThis massive carving cut into the side of the mountain depicts the scene of the Kangxi Emperor’s visit to Emeishan in the 17th century. Carvings like this dotted the mountains as we climbed, each revealing a new layer of Emei’s history.

 

Waterfalls of Emeishan ChinaI honestly don’t even need to say anything about this photograph (but I will), as you can hopefully just imagine yourself sitting there with us, with the towering mist-shrouded cliffs in the background, funneling their small streams into a flowing fall.

 

Locks of love at Chinese TempleJust above Niuxin Pavilion (the double-bridge pagoda in the first image) is the curious Qing Yin temple. People wishing for good luck in business, a healthy pregnancy, safe travels, and ever-lasting love come here to tie engraved locks to the temple banister. This was the first time we saw this phenomenon but later realized this happens in holy places all over China.

 

Sleep in a monastery at Emeishan MountainAs day one of our trek came to a close, we pulled into the Hongchungping Temple where we would spend the night alongside the monks who call this place home. Though the accommodations were beyond than basic, it was cool to live like a monk for a day.

 

Monk rules at Monastery EmeishanWe have no idea what this says (if you can read Chinese, let us know what it says in the comments below), but we imagined it was some wise words to live by or the breakfast menu.

 

Trek on Mount Emeishan ChinaAt a higher elevation, the second half of our hike was accompanied by a mystical fog. If you look closely you can see the trail, snaking its way around the base of this beautiful mountainside and around the second peak in the distance, before it dissolves into the ether.

 

Pagodas & Temples of Emeishan ChinaWhen petite pagodas support both ends of a suspension bridge…well…you just have to cross, even if they aren’t leading in the right direction.

 

Crazy monkeys on Emeishan, ChinaSections of the Emei trail are monkey territory and dangerous territory at that. This critter, while seeming a cute old man stuck in a monkey suit, had devious thoughts running through his head. I held my bamboo walking stick high to let him know we wouldn’t be easy tourists to pick off.

 

Foggy temples of Emeishan, ChinaAs seen above at the Taiziping Temple, due to the sheer cliffs of Emeishan and limited real estate along the mountain spines, the trail often leads directly through a monastery or temple. One minute you have views of tree-tops and waterfalls and the next minute monks in a kitchen washing vegetables for their evening meal–possibly our favorite part about the hike!

 

Antiques from Emeishan ChinaWhether you go for the jaw-dropping scenery or its magical history, Emeishan will surely capture your spirit.

 

28 thoughts on “Emeishan: A Spirtual Trek

    • February 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm
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      Ron, yeah it was quite the adventure….especially trying to buy train and bus tickets from someone, who not only does not speak a single word of english, but also has no idea how to read Roman Letters that spell out our destination city….that is TOUGH! but Emeishan made it so worth it!

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  • February 25, 2013 at 10:55 pm
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    Wish we’d made it to Emeishan but we were just there for vacation for a few weeks. We first saw the engraved locks on the red ribbons at Hua Shan.

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  • February 25, 2013 at 11:29 pm
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    Beautiful! My boyfriend did this trek before I met up with him in China last year, so it was great to read about your perspective! China is certainly a land of contrasts, so much craziness and chaos yet so much beauty too. I’m glad you experienced it 🙂

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    • February 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm
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      Sarah, you are so right on the craziness and chaos (and thousands of chinese tourists at every sight), paired with very unique beauty…and we found very nice (albeit non-english speaking) people.

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  • February 26, 2013 at 12:24 am
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    Wise words, or the breakfast menu-you guys are hysterical!!!!

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    • June 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm
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      LMAO. Yeah you never know what half the things say. It’s especially worrisome on public transport when you are all the way in the back and can’t find someone who knows your stop.

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  • February 26, 2013 at 5:55 am
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    Beautiful place and quite an amazing experience! Had a few questions thought. I’m flying into Thailand in 2 months and will be making my way up towards Laos and Vietnam. How is the cost of living over there? Is it as affordable as Thailand or does it jump all over the place? Thanks!

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  • February 26, 2013 at 6:25 am
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    The prices for Thailand, Laos and Vietnam are all pretty comparable, with a decent guesthouse for around $8 and a good bowl of pho-style soup for a $1.25…making southeast asian travel one heck of a deal! Happy travels!

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  • February 26, 2013 at 6:25 am
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    The prices for Thailand, Laos and Vietnam are all pretty comparable, with a decent guesthouse for around $8 and a good bowl of pho-style soup for a $1.25…making southeast asian travel one heck of a deal! Happy travels!

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  • February 26, 2013 at 9:43 am
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    Love the fog. Mysterious, romantic and very moody (in a good way) 🙂

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    • February 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm
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      Oh yeah Maria! that fog definitely added to that allure, and mystery….only downside was we couldnt see the view from the top, but i would trade that all day long for how awesome it made the trek.

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  • February 26, 2013 at 11:08 am
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    Wow! One of the best posts yet! I think I might have to go to China.

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    • February 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm
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      So glad you liked it Roni! Best posts yet? thats awesome. *smiles*. This hike made it easy….i just let the photos do the talking. quite possibly in the top three experiences in China.

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  • February 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm
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    Hello adventurers,
    it is our pleasure to hear from you and see where you go,

    you make us want to go to China, the pictures are beautiful!
    Hey Mike … if you want to take a picture in the dark without flash, you go on iso 6400 …. this is a really cool American traveling with his wife for over a year for their honeymoon taught me ….;-) (i use it now, thanks your for that)

    your blog is really good, better than our;-( ((

    FYI, we bought a motorcycle and make the road along the coast from Hoi An, we arrived in Nha Trang …

    Tomorrow we hit the road to Ho Chi Minh,

    Ann, can you send me your favorite destinations on Thailand please?

    Mike, we took a picture in the cave with Marta, you can also send it to us?

    Take care of yourself, you are really cool, and we will meet again …. New York, new York, pa pa palala pa pa pa lala … ;-))

    kisses,

    goodbye,

    Reply
    • February 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm
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      Hamid and Sonya, our fellow adventurers! Love that you bought a motorbike to cruise Vietnam–amazing! Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words–I’m sure your blog is fabulous–if only I spoke French! We’ll send Thailand tips and the cave photo, plus ISO tips!

      Reply
  • February 27, 2013 at 11:27 am
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    What is “Hard Wok?”

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    • February 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm
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      Hard Wok, was the “restaurant” we ate at, that was basically someones house near the monastery we slept at. Hard Wok, being a play on words of Hard Walk (up all the stairs), and Hard Rock (like the cafe), and a Wok being what they cooked all their yummy food in 🙂

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  • March 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm
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    I think you really cap[tured the spirit.Auntcarole

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  • March 20, 2013 at 5:11 am
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    So inspiring. Made me want to go there right now.

    Reply

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