My friends wanted to attempt a one-day full hike of Emei Mountain. Led by Michael Alexis, we set out at 7:30 am from the very bottom of the mountain.
We are a group of seven traveling on an adventure through China.
Lonely Planet calls it a “cool, misty retreat” and it appears on many top lists of things to do in China.
About Emei Mountain
Mt. Emei is 3,099m tall (10,167 feet) and is the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Eimeishan City of Sichuan Province.
- Fun Fact 1: The first Buddhist temple in China was built by a farmer in the 1st century at the Jīndǐng summit on Emei.
- Fun Fact 2: Mt. Emei is known for its diverse vegetation. It has both subtropical evergreen forests and subalpine pine forests.
Michael, who planned the trip, wanted to create diverse opportunities for our group to connect with each other but also see all the awesome things China has to offer. This is one of the reasons he chose Mt. Emei. He had climbed it before so he knew it had beautiful sights and would be a great spiritual experience for the team.
Hiking to the Top
The number of stairs is amazing. Thousands and thousands. It is nicely paved and kept very clean.
Above the halfway point, the views start to get increasingly impressive. Here are a few pictures that I took during Day 2.
After 12 hours of non-stop hiking up the mountain, I decided to stop at a monastery. (My friends continued hiking for 5 more hours!)
Mt. Emei is home to more than 30 Buddist temples. Many of them offer simple accommodation at a reasonable price. My double-bed room (of which I was the only occupant) cost 80 RMB. There was a shared bathroom and shower.
Pro-tip: Some monasteries are nicer than others. Plan your route so you can stay at one of the nicer ones. The one that I stayed at – Chudian Palace – was pretty gross. The bedding was damp and there was no ventilation in the room. I wish I would have known to keep hiking and try my luck for a room at Huayan Peak monastery which seemed nicer and had much better views.
In the morning I washed up, made some tea, then hiked the last four hours to meet up with the rest of the group.
We ate very well!
I’ve been impressed with “home style” Chinese food, and Emei did not disappoint. Here are pictures of my breakfast from the second day of our hike:
Expect to pay a premium for food and water on the mountain. The above pork dish was 45 RMB.
Wild Monkeys on Emei Mountain
There were signs EVERYWHERE warning us about monkeys. How they are aggressive, not to look them in the eyes, etc. We didn’t see many monkeys, but perhaps other routes or different seasons have more.