Jiuzhai Valley is nestled amongst a dozen high mountain peaks which can remain snow covered throughout the year. Meanwhile far below the white capped peaks the river valley glistens and reflects amazing landscapes in crystal clear waters.
Scattered in trapezoid fashion between these heavenly lakes, ponds and pools are one hundred & fourteen large & small waterfalls, seventeen waterfall gathering areas, five travertine banks, forty seven fountains, and eleven turbulences. All of which span, in the form of a Y shaped necklace, over an area of some 60km. Majestically sitting amongst the twelve, mostly snow covered peaks, at an elevation of 1870m, Jiuzhai Valley is the only scenic spot boasting alpine lakes, waterfalls, and travertine banks in China, and numbered amongst only a few such landscapes in the world.
The smallest water pool of the valley is only several square meters in size, while the largest, Changhai Lake, stretches on for 7 eye-pleasing kilometers. Clear all year round, the lakes simmer with gorgeous blues, yellows, oranges, greens that literally glow in the sunlight. On such bright clear days, reflecting the blue sky, white clouds, snow peaks and the surrounding forests, the lakes present a most picturesque scene throughout all four seasons. Thus it is said “no water is as good as that at the Jiuzhai Valley”.
Jiuzhai also boasts abundant flora and fauna species. The 300km2 primeval forest is home to 3,553 indigenous species including Kingdonia Uniflora, Circaeaster Agrestis, Fargesia and several other plants from the late Cretaceous to early Tertiary periods. The forest also provides a very favorable habitat for a wide variety of animals. Preliminary surveys indicate there are 693 invertebrates and 313 vertebrates in the valley. Rare species such as giant panda, snub-nosed monkey, red panda and antelope also constitute another unique attraction.
Certainly not the only reason to visit Leshan but most certanly a massive reason to do so. At over 70 meters tall Leshan's iconic 1200 year old giant seated Buddha (the worlds tallest) draws world wide visitors to this laid-back river town.
Overlooking the confluence of the rivers Dadu and Min whilst resting on feet with big toes each longer than 8 meters. Leshan's giant Buddha has shoulders spanning a whopping 28 meters, sitting below ears that dangle for 7 meters, this beautiful giant statue carved into a pink rock-face can bring visiting crowds to a near stand-still.
After getting up-close and personal with the Buddha's enormous stone head, and taking in the panoramic cliff views, descending a rather steep set of stairways allows visitors to linger at the Buddha's feet for a neck-craning view of this wonderfully incredible sight. Even the return climb to the cliff's top via hidden stone steps recessed into the right side of the cliff continues to inspire admiration for this magnificent man-made wonder.
By adding a quick boat trip , visitors will be afforded about 10 minutes to snap the perfect selfie, and or full length picture from the river to include the two river-side guards also carved into the cliff but not visible from land. The boat trips, costing 70CNY per person, leave at very regular intervals from Leshan dock are fun, and safe with each passenger being required to wear a life vest upon boardin
A word of caution, where possible try to avoid visiting this grand old Buddha during a Chinese national holiday, or on weekends when crowds are typically at their largest.