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Mt Emei Shan : The Golden Summit

Mt Emei Shan is a beautiful, natural, UNESCO world heritage and Buddhist pilgrimage site located in Sichuan Province, China. It’s full of jungles, monasteries and highway robbing monkeys. The Golden Summit (not the actual summit – which is about 20m higher) at 3077 metres was a welcome destination after a couple of days of stairs, even if I could have just taken the bus and the cable car up.

The Emei Shan Hike

I have to say I enjoyed the Emei Shan hike much better than Tiger Leaping Gorge. There are a lot of bused/cable cared in tourists at the beginning and end of the 3 day walk, but through the middle part, I was surrounded by beautiful green jungle, the occasional pesky monkey and had the track entirely to myself lots of the time.

The Emei Shan hike can be done over as many or as few days as you like. Maps are available from all hostels in town and there are many entry and exit points, as well as monorails and cable cars, so using any combination of these it’s possible to only walk for 1-2 hours if you wish, although if you take a look at the costs section below, I’m not sure just it warrants the entry fee just to go for a day.

I chose to walk from the closest town of Baoguo, which is the furthest entry point and take a few days getting to the summit. The map while helpful was not particularly detailed with distances, and only contained 1 path, where in reality there are several, so this turned the hike into a game of match the Chinese characters to the temples and decipher cryptic clues. I did managed not to get lost, which is actually quite an achievement for me.

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The walk itself does involve a lot of steps, but it’s not terribly difficult. The stairs are all of even height and in the organisation I am coming to learn is typical of China, are also swept of leaves everyday. Accommodation along the way is monasteries. They do basic rooms with electric blankets and cheap vegetarian meals. The prices of rooms are a little steep however.

Really, what I loved most about it was just being surrounded by lush green jungle

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Dangers and annoyances

In the colder months, you apparently need to be aware of ice on the trail, but at this time of year that wasn’t an issue. The biggest issue was the monkeys. There are several spots on the map marked ‘joking monkey’ sections. These monkeys aren’t so much funny as opportunistic highway robbers. They’ll ignore you if your with a bunch of people, but when they get you alone, watch out! I had one actually growling and about to pounce on me. They say to carry a rock to scare it, but I was surprised when I actually had to throw it. I didn’t hit it, and no monkeys where harmed during the making of this story, just scared away from stealing my stuff.

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Getting there and costs

The trail or mountain can be accessed from the nearby town of Bauguoso, where you can also find a variety of hotels.

The cost section of the trip is where it becomes not that great. Costs, if your doing the trek will come to:
- Park Enrtry – 185 yuan
- Monastery Stay – 120 yuan
- Food on the trail – approx 30-40 yuan a meal. Taking your own noodles along will save you money.
- Return bus to Bauguoso – 20 yuan

If you do the day trip:
- Park Entry – 185 yuan
- Bus to and from Jinding 50 yuan each way
- Cable Car from Jinding to summit – 65 up, 55 down

Is it worth it?

For the hike, even though accommodation particularly is expensive I think it’s worth it, for the day trip, I’m not so sure. 185 yuan is about USD $30. To pay that, as well as the transportation costs up there, well I’d want to make sure it was a good clear day.

What is your favourite hike?

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