Chengdu - Leshan Giant Buddha: about 130 kilometers, 1.5 hours’ driving
Leshan Giant Buddha - Mount Emei: about 45 kilometers, 40 minutes driving
Mount Emei - Chengdu: about 164 kilometers, 2 hours’ driving
From those long-distance travelers, if they want to travel from Chengdu to Mount Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha, they must take Chengdu as the transport base. For those who have tight schedule and cheap budget, or those who have only 1 free day, they would like to see Leshan and Mount Emei in one day. So they might have a couple of question about the trip plan: is it possible to cover mount emei & leshan Buddha in one day? If possible, should I plan to travel by taking a high speed train from Chengdu to Emeishan or Leshan first, or should I get a rented car with driver service, leave early and prepare to return to Chengdu late?
Firstly, the answer is Yes. It is possible theoretically to visit cover Mount Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha in a one-day tour from Chengdu. But it is not suggested to do so, as the trip is going to be very hectic, push and tough with early departure from Chengdu and late return back to Chengdu. In addition, you would only have time to travel half way to Emei Mountain, and you can not make it to the Golden Summit(the highest point of Mount Emei) as the time is limited.
Secondly, it is highly recommended to travel by car rental with driver service for the day tour in stead of taking trains, which is very convenient. If you choose to travel by high-speed train, you will have to waste time to get to and leave the train station, not mention that you have to transfer to bus from train station to the entrance of scenic spot. In a word, you need to arrange the transportations between railway stations and attraction sites properly and reduce the travel time in each site to the minimum. If you get traffic or wait long for the bus or taxi, you may miss the train or ruin the whole tour. If you go by car rental, the driver can take you direct from point to point, and you do not have to make transfer and waste time on the road.
If you are sure to have one day to cover the two places indeed, you are suggested to rent a car and plan the one day tour like the following itinerary: in the early morning at around 7:00am or 7:30am, be driven to Leshan (about 1.5 hours). Upon your arrival, take a boat cruise to have a full view of the Giant Buddha in stead of climbing the mountain. If you choose to climb up to the mountain, it may take about 2 hours. If you do Leshan boat tour instead of climbing to the mountain, it can be finished in 30-50 minutes, then drive half an hour to reach the entrance of Mount Emeishan Scenic Area, start to play halfway up the mountain to Wannian Temple (but not the Golden Summit). You can take the sightseeing bus from the entrance to Wannian Park Lot, then take cable car up, walk to Wannian Temple(Chinese:万年寺) and start to hike along the sightseeing path to see the beautiful scenery of Mount Emei. After that walk about 2-3 hours down to Wuxiangang(Chinese: 五显岗), take the sightseeing bus again back to the foot of the mountain (the bus ticket is for two ways), you have paid for two ways with the price 40 yuan. Then you can take your car back to Chegndu at around 19:00. It might be around 21:00 when you get back to the downtown of Chengdu. You may feel this is a rush and tired day.
In a word, it is suggested to spend two days to visit both Mount Emei and Leshan Buddha from Chengdu. The two-day tour would be like the following itinerary: In the first day, be picked up in Chengdu at around 7:30am and depart for Leshan Giant Buddha (about 1.5 hours driving). Upon your arrival, you can choose to either climbing up the mountain to see the Giant Buddha or take a boat cruise to watch the full view of the Giant Buddha. After the tour, be driven to the foot of the Mount Emei(about 1 hour) and have a good rest for tomorrow’s tour. In the second day, take sightseeing shuttle bus from the foot of the mountain to Leidongping Parking Lot(Chinese:雷洞坪停车场), walk for about half an hour(1.5 kilometers) Jieyin Temple, then you may choose to hike or take the cableway to reach the peak of Mount Emei (the Golden Summit), walk around and admire the wonderful landscape and Buddhist sites. After that, take cableway back to Leidongping Parking Lot and transfer to Wannian Temple Parking Lot by sightseeing shuttle bus (Chinese:万年寺停车场). Then take cableway up to Wannian Temple and hike along the mountain path to admire the landscape. After that walk about 2-3 hours down to Wuxiangang(Chinese: 五显岗), take the sightseeing bus again back to the foot of the mountain. Then you can take your car back to Chegndu at around 19:00. It might be around 21:00 when you get back to the downtown of Chengdu.