Pandas and XXL Buddhas

Sichuan province has some of the best scenery in China and was a huge relief coming from the crowded overpopulated cities of China’s East. We could easily have filled a week or two in Sichuan alone visiting the multi-colored lakes at Jiuzhaigou, climbing the spiritual retreat of Emeishan mountain or trekking Hailuogou glacier. Since we didn’t have a few weeks, we limited ourselves to two day trips near Chengdu. We decided to visit the Giant Panda Research Base, just a few kilometers outside of Chengdu and the Giant Buddha of Leshan.

We headed to the Panda Research Base on our own with a taxi very early before the group tour departed from our hostel. We wanted to be the first ones in the park because we heard that after 10 am, the base becomes a nightmare of tourists. We got our wish and were the first in the park and had some alone time with the pandas and baby pandas before the tour groups rolled in. I can’t describe how cute the pandas are in words so here are some photos and videos of our day there.

Kelly's Panda-eating-bamboo impression

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Red Pandas!

The funniest thing that happened was when I was trying to enquire what time the Giant panda feedings were. I asked a ranger using hand motions which seemed to make sense to me, but Ellie quickly informed me that my motions made no sense not even to her. I first pointed to the pandas then made a fat stomach motion. Then I made a motion like I was feeding myself. I thought that it made perfect sense. What time are the “fat pandas” going to “eat?” Ellie thought the ranger who was looking incredibly puzzled, thought I was saying that I wanted to get fat by eating the pandas or that the pandas eat a lot and are very fat. One of which is very scary, even for China and one of which is very daft. Hmm. I need to work on my hand movements.

Come on, China... this doesn't exactly seem to be your motto.

BABY PANDAS in an incubator. So cute!


The next day, we went to Leshan to see the Giant Buddha that has been carved into the side of the cliff. The Giant Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world at 233 feet and it faces Mount Emei. The toenail is said to be the size of an average human. We took a minibus trip from our hostel with a bunch of really funny English teachers, two Australian guys in their mid-30’s, one Canadian girl about our age and a Canadian woman in her 60’s. They were really great company and had a lot of interesting insight about Chinese culture after living in China for a year.

the lovely restaurant we dined in, before heading to the giant Buddha

a random cave Buddha

Buddha's head

The view from the top of Buddha's head

There were some really strange poses at the foot of the statue. Kelly did her best to imitate a few…

cooling off after a really steep climb. No, we don't know that boy...

The giant Buddha was pretty amazing, but the best part of our visit was when we watched a monk steal money of the collection box in the side of the mountain. He was caught red-handed and the officials were shouting, clearly upset with him for stealing. We thought he was going to jail, but then they just let him go back to his position SELLING incense to religious tourists to put at the Buddha’s feet. Hmm. I wouldn’t let him deal with money but apparently, none of the officials could be bothered to really deal with the appalling behavior of the monk. It was hysterical to watch the shouting though.

monk getting caught

BAD monk!

I highly recommend a visit to the Sichuan province when in China. So much to see and do and the food is deliciously spicy and unique. It was one of the highlights of our visit to China.


3 Responses to “Pandas and XXL Buddhas”

  1. 1 Mum Z January 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Loved the Pandas and Kelly’s impressions (both the Panda eating and the photo opportunities) Again GREAT PHOTOS and NARRATIVE!LOVE MUM Z

  2. 2 Mandy January 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    We are still amazed with your adventures and look forward to every new posting. Can’t wait to see you!! XOXO- Mandy and family

  1. 1 Twitted by PartyAmerica Trackback on December 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

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