Glacier National Park Photo Essay

This journey will capture some of the must-see locations at Glacier National Park! First of all, it is absolutely massive and beautiful! There’s an unlimited amount of hiking trails and scenic drives that will bring a smile to anyone’s face :)

Quick Info (if you’re interested):

Glacier is beautiful in the summer but very busy and packed with people (generally May-early Sept). Fall is great, but facilities will start to close down. Winter is a good time to see everything covered in snow and you can enjoy cross-country skiing. Spring comes late and is short-lived, but it can be one of the quieter times of the year.

What you want to see will dictate how long you should stay. I’d say you can get a good overview of the park and drive through all the famous locations in 2 days (minimum). If you want to hike though, you could easily spend a week or more trekking the over 700 miles of trails. There are also plenty of tours, boating, fishing and biking opportunities.

Going to the Sun Road is an absolutely-must-see if you’re going to Glacier National Park. It is a windy, fun road that peaks at Logan’s Pass and connect east and west Glacier. Parts of the road are open all year, even in the winter, but plowing becomes a monumental challenge each year. Going To The Sun Road has it’s own “Current Road Status” section (see link below).

Glacier is crazy busy during the summer and most of the campgrounds are first-come first-served; all of which seem to fill up before noon. You can make reservations at “Fish Creek, “St. Mary,” and group reservations at “Apgar.”

Glacier National Park is open every day of the year and you can enter at any time. Many facilities close down during the winter, but there are lots of good cross-country skiing opportunities at that time. If you are driving to Glacier from any distance away, you will probably need to camp or book a hotel outside and then get up early the next day to get into the park and get a campsite (most sites are gone between 8-11am).

Staying inside may not be all it’s cracked up to be! There are tons of campgrounds and hotels close by and you should consider sleeping outside the park and then driving in during the days. Camping varies between $10-$23/night during the summer season.

For more information go to their official page at: www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

And now … let’s jump into the Photo Essay!

View from "Going To The Sun Road"

Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald

Going to the Sun Road - Viewpoint

Viewpoint on Going to the Sun Road

The Famous Photo-in-Front-of-a-Sign!

West Glacier, Glacier National Park

St. Mary - NE Entrance

St. Mary Entrance -Glacier National Park

Barney Takes in the Scenery

Barney goes to Glacier National Park

Logan's Pass

Logan's Pass - Glacier National Park

A Closer Look of the Waterfall

Glacier National Park

Hungry Horse Dam & Reservoir

Hungry Horse Dam

Barney at Hungry Horse

Barney goes to Hungry Horse Dam!

At a Campground Outside Glacier

Camping Outside Glacier National Park

China Itineraries (1,2,3 & 4 Weeks)

Welcome to Searching For Your Zen Itineraries!
(Recommendations to help you plan your perfect vacation)

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China

Primary Method of Travel: Trains are a great way to get around China. Travel China Guide is a great resource to find and book trains. Go for the “D Train” or “G Train” if you can … they’re faster and way more comfortable.
Local Currency: Yuan or RMB (Renminbi – The People’s Money) – Sometimes called “Kuai” [pronounced: kwhy]
Rough Conversion Rate:  6 RMB = $1 USD

China is a massive country and has tons of history, scenery and tourist attractions for any traveler. Many people though, will enter China on a 30 Day Tourist Visa and may find themselves wondering where to even start.

After living in China for 2 years I was lucky enough to see most of the cities I mention below. A couple quick disclaimers though: I never made it to Yunnan Province, Chengdu or Tibet – all of which are popular tourist destinations and I’ve added to the itineraries.

So, without too much rambling, here are my recommendations on how to make the most out of your next trip to China:

1 Week

China, travel, itinerary, 1 week
China, travel, itinerary, 1 week

China is a tough country to tackle on 1 week and I would highly recommend spending AT LEAST 2 weeks to see China. However, if 1 week is all you have, here are a couple “speedy” options:
*Due to Xi’an being so far out of the way and only having a week to see China, I recommend, “Option A.”

A: The Big 3*
IMG_2373Hong Kong – Hong Kong is an amazing city to ease you into China. It opens up Macau for you, flights are common to Hong Kong & you can cram a ton into 2 days.
Shanghai – Shanghai is the biggest city in the world and has an incredible skyline that will not fail to impress.
Beijing – A MUST SEE if you’re going to China. Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are all doable in 2 fast-paced days.

B: The Northern Route
IMG_3380Beijing – A MUST SEE if you’re going to China. Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall are all doable in 2 fast-paced days.
Xi’an – Home of the Terra-cotta Warriors and un-missable in the eyes of some. Other than the warriors, Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot to see that will take you more than 2 days total.
Shanghai
 – Shanghai is the biggest city in the world and has an incredible skyline that will not fail to impress.

2 Weeks

China, travel, itinerary, 2 weeks
China, travel, itinerary, 2 weeks

2 Weeks is starting to become a little more manageable. You will have more time to see beyond the basic tourist sites and you will also have a chance to see some of the cities outside the big cities.
*I recommend “Option A” again. I love Hong Kong, but if you really want to see the real China, Luoyang has too much to pass up.

A: The Cultural North*
IMG_1760Shanghai – Shanghai will serve as easy access into China. There’s tons of flights, transportation is great and buying train tickets will be easy from the biggest city in the world!
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Luoyang – Luoyang is massively famous in China and for good reason! It is home to 3 things that are worth seeing: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. If you go to Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Beijing – And back to Beijing to finish your 2 weeks! Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you should still have time to pick a couple other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Lllama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

B: A Taste of the South

Sunset SmallerHong Kong
 – If you have to see Hong Kong I can’t blame you. It’s an awesome city and its the easiest city in China to get around in for foreigners. It would be a great way to start your 2 weeks, but you will have to cut out some other cities. 
Shanghai
  – Getting from Hong Kong to Shanghai is easy by train and you will ease yourself into China by starting with 2 major cities (big cities are easier to get around and more accustomed to tourists).
Hangzhou – Because this is my favorite city in China, I am recommending it instead of Luoyang (it will be hard to see both in just 2 weeks and I think you may have to pick between Luoyang and Hangzhou). In Hangzhou, You will get to see tea fields, beautiful scenery and the impressive “West Lake!” Don’t forget your camera!
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. If you go to Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Beijing – And back to Beijing to finish your 2 weeks! Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you should still have time to pick a couple other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Lllama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

3 Weeks

China, travel, itinerary, 3 weeks
China, travel, itinerary, 3 weeks
China, travel, itinerary, 3 weeks

3 Weeks is starting to become way more comfortable. You will have more time to absorb Chinese culture without feeling like you are running to the next place all the time. Below, Itineraries A, B, and C become consecutively busier. I added Guangzhou to all the 3 week itineraries and added Nanjing, and Chengdu as potential add-on cities, depending on how fast you like to travel.
* I recommend “Option A” for the 3 week option. Nanjing (Meaning “South Capital” in Mandarin) and Chengdu (where you can see Pandas) are great add-on cities, but “Option A” gives you more time to relax and enjoy the cities you are in. Ultimately, it will be up to you!

A: Nice ‘n Easy Overview*
IMG_4641Hong Kong – At 3 weeks, I would highly recommend seeing Hong Kong. It’s different than everywhere else in China and a good place to start your China journey.
Guangzhou – Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China. It’s a beautifully green city with a huge river drifting through the center of it. There’s a handful of things to do, but if you only do one thing, make sure you do a river-boat tour!
Shanghai – It’s just a must see city when you go to China. With 3 Weeks in China, I would spend 3-5 Days in Shanghai.
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Luoyang – Luoyang is massively famous in China and for good reason! It is home to 3 things that are worth seeing: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors. From Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Beijing -Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you should definitely have time for some other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Llama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

B: Panda Express (add Chengdu)

IMG_4724
Hong Kong – At 3 weeks, I would highly recommend seeing Hong Kong. It’s different than everywhere else in China and a good place to start your China journey.
Guangzhou – Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China. It’s a beautifully green city with a huge river drifting through the center of it. There’s a handful of things to do, but make sure you do one of the river-boat tours!
Shanghai – It’s just a must see city when you go to China. With 3 Weeks in China, I would spend 3-5 Days in Shanghai.
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Luoyang – Luoyang is massively famous in China and for good reason! It is home to 3 things that are worth seeing: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. If you go to Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Chengdu (I’ve never been there so I borrowed Amy’s advice) – Chengdu is home to the Pandas and from what I’ve been told, it’s actually an awesome city for backpackers and tourists. It’s a long ways out there though, so you might want to consider flying to Beijing for the next leg.
Beijing – Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you should definitely have time for some other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Llama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

C: The Enthusiastic Traveler (add Chengdu & Nanjing)

2014-01-16 13.07.21Hong Kong – At 3 weeks, I would highly recommend seeing Hong Kong. It’s different than everywhere else in China and a good place to start your China journey.
Guangzhou – Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China. It’s a beautifully green city with a huge river drifting through the center of it. There’s a handful of things to do, but make sure you do one of the river-boat tours!
Shanghai – It’s just a must see city when you go to China. With 3 Weeks in China, I would spend 3-5 Days in Shanghai.
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Nanjing (“South Capital”) – It’s only a quick hop by train from Hangzhou and gives some insight into some of China’s more recent history (WW2 era). Home to Sun Yat Sen’s memorial and the Nanjing Massacre Museum there are plenty of things to see and do.
Luoyang – Luoyang is massively famous in China and for good reason! It is home to 3 things that are worth seeing: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. If you go to Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Chengdu (I’ve never been there so I borrowed Amy’s advice) – Chengdu is home of the Pandas and from what I’ve been told, is actually an awesome city for backpackers and tourists. It’s a long ways out there though, so you might want to consider flying to Beijing for the next leg.
Beijing – Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you should definitely have time for some other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Llama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

4 Weeks

China, travel, itinerary, 4 weeks
China, travel, itinerary, 4 weeks

Most people traveling to China will get a 30 Day Single Entry Tourist Visa! This is a great way to tackle China and if you are planning on spending the entire 4 weeks there, these itineraries might help you with planning. You should ultimately create your own adventure in China based on what you want to see and do … but these itineraries can serve as a starting point!

Keep in mind, if you are visiting Hong Kong on a single entry visa go there 1st or last! If you go to mainland China first and then enter Hong Kong, you won’t be able to return to mainland China a 2nd time. By going to Hong Kong 1st or last, you won’t use any of your “30 days” (allowed visa days) while you’re there.

* I recommend “Option B” (Only if you decide to see pandas in Chengdu).
** My personal recommendation though, is “Option A” (Skip Chengdu & give yourself more time to see other things. For extra ideas check out “4 Weeks+” below).

A: The Grand Tour**
Hong Kong2014-01-19 13.42.13 – A great place to start your China journey and absolutely unavoidable if you have 4 weeks.
Guangzhou – Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China. It’s a beautifully green city with a huge river drifting through the center of it. There’s a handful of things to do, but make sure you do one of the river-boat tours!
Kunming – I’ve heard good things about Kunming and it will get you within reach of the famous southern mountains of China. (I haven’t been there personally so I have linked to Trip Advisor’s “Things to do in Kunming”).
Lijiang (Linked to “The Travel World” because I haven’t been there) – If you want to see those tall, beautifully, green mountains that southern China is famous for then plan a trip to Lijiang. While you’re there you can check out Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lonely Planet describes it as “The unmissable trek of southwest China.”
Shanghai – There’s no excuse to miss Shanghai with 4 weeks.
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Nanjing – Nanjing is a city built around an elaborate canal system. It’s a pretty cool walled city, is one of China’s ancient capitals and home to the Nanjing Massacre Museum.
Luoyang – While you’re there, Check out these 3 things: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. From Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Chengdu – It’s suppose to be cool (I haven’t seen it) and it’s where everyone seems to go to see and hold Pandas. It’s a long way out of the way though, and holding pandas can get expensive. If you do decide to go, plan on flying from Chengdu to Beijing. It will be much quicker and probably similar in price to taking the train.
Beijing – And back to Beijing! Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you will definitely have time for some other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Llama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

B: A Bit of Everything*

Hong KongIMG_1562 -A great place to start your China journey and absolutely unavoidable if you have 4 weeks.
Guangzhou – Guangzhou is the 3rd largest city in China. It’s a beautifully green city with a huge river drifting through the center of it. There’s a handful of things to do, but make sure you do one of the river-boat tours!
Kunming – I’ve heard good things about Kunming and it will get you within reach of the famous southern mountains of China. (I haven’t been there personally so I have linked to Trip Advisor’s “Things to do in Kunming”).
Lijiang (Linked to “The Travel World” because I haven’t been there) – If you want to see those tall, beautifully, green mountains that southern China is famous for then plan a trip to Lijiang. While you’re there you can check out Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lonely Planet describes it as “The unmissable trek of southwest China.”
Chengdu – If you’re going to see the Pandas and Chengdu then definitely swing up from Lijiang for this itinerary. It’s much closer and you can work your way back to Shanghai and up to Beijing more fluidly.
Xi’an – Xi’an doesn’t have a whole lot worth seeing, but it does have the infamous Terra-cotta Warriors that are worth seeing. From Luoyang, Xi’an is a quick train ride away.
Luoyang – While you’re there, Check out these 3 things: Longmen Grottoes, The Whitehorse Temple (1st Buddhist temple in China) and Shaolin Temple (Famous martial arts school).
Nanjing – Nanjing is a city built around an elaborate canal system. It’s a pretty cool walled city, is one of China’s ancient capitals and home to the Nanjing Massacre Museum.
Hangzhou – This is one one of my favorite cities in China. Beautiful scenery, clean air, lots of foreigners and tons to see! Check this city out if you get the chance.
Shanghai – There’s no excuse to miss Shanghai with 4 weeks.
Beijing -And back to Beijing! Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall can be checked off in a couple days and you will definitely have time for some other cool sites (The Summer Palace, Llama Temple, Bell Tower and the National Museum).

4 Weeks +
If you managed to line up more than 4 weeks in china OR you just want to mix and match with the itineraries above, here are a few popular destinations to check out while you’re in China:

Bungee, Jumping, highest, tallest, Macau, Tower, world, scary

Highest Bungee in the World

If you’re an adrenaline junky check out Macau while you’re around Hong Kong! Amongst the gambling and sights you can jump off the Macau Tower, the world’s highest bungee jump.

(Click the link read more)

Harbin, ice, festival, worlds, largest, freezing, cold

Harbin Ice Festival

The Harbin Ice Festival is the biggest ice festival in the world. It is way, way, way out of the way and SUPER COLD! But … it is pretty awesome to see. Check it out around Christmas time thru February-ish.

(Click the link read more)

2014-04-19 13.49.43

Luoyang Peony Festival

If you love Peonies then you will love this Peony Festival! It’s sometime in April depending on the year, but make sure you get there during the right week; otherwise it’s a little under-whelming.

(Click the link read more)

tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China

Spring Temple Buddha

The Spring Temple Buddha is the tallest statue in the world, but it is shockingly out in the middle of nowhere. If you want to check out this huge statue, you’re closest major city will be Luoyang. 

(For detailed instructions on getting to the statue click the link above)

Zhujiajiao, Water City, Sunset

Zhujiajiao – Water Town

This is an incredible little town that lives on the water! It is a perfect day trip from Shanghai and a perfect place to try food, get cool souvenirs and work on your bartering skills. Head out with enough time to get a table and eat along the waterfront … if your lucky you will catch one of their awesome sunsets.

(Click the link read more)

Tibet, map

Lhasa,
Tibet

If your dream is to see Tibet then I would recommend going during your China trip. You will need a Chinese visa in a addition to some other paperwork to get in. Tour groups may be your best bet.

(Link goes to chinahighlights.com)

Did you like this Itinerary? Well, more are coming soon!

More Itineraries

Spring Temple Buddha – World’s Tallest Statue

Have you ever Heard of the Spring Temple Buddha???
If you haven’t you are not alone. It is a hidden little secret buried deep in rural China and despite it’s lack of reputation, The Spring Temple Buddha is indeed the World’s largest statue! Resting in the Henan Province of central China, it is so far off the beaten path that most people living in Henan haven’t even made the treck … you also won’t find it mentioned in Lonely Planet’s “China” guide.

So, first thing is first: The Spring Temple Buddha is absolutely Massive! It rests on a podium (7 stories tall) and all together, the statue stands at an astounding 502 ft (153 meters) – As a reference point, the Statue of Liberty is 93 meters.

If you are afraid of a bit of adventure (or climbing stairs) then this is probably not the sightseeing tour for you … if you are up for it though, The Spring Temple Buddha is awesome and I would highly recommend it; but there are 2 challenges that you will encounter along the way:

1. Getting There!

For the average backpacker, traveler, or adventurer in China; getting to the Spring Temple Buddha is far from straight forward. Most travelers don’t speak Chinese, rely heavily on organized transportation (trains, buses, taxis, etc), and aren’t usually willing to spend large amounts of money to see one thing in the middle of nowhere. As English teachers, Jess and I were lucky because we lived within a few hours of the statue. In the 9 months we have lived in Henan Province, we have familiarized ourselves with traveling in rural China, picked up a little Mandarin and we were lucky enough to have our Chinese friend (Cheng) along with us. All that said though … Jess, Cheng and I still had a difficult and rather expensive time getting there!

Spring Temple Buddha - the world's tallest statue.

If you are determined to make it to the Spring Temple Buddha,
then this is what you should know before your journey:

– Click maps to make them bigger –

Screen shot 2014-05-12 at 1.36.07 PM
Screen shot 2014-05-12 at 1.36.55 PM
Screen shot 2014-05-12 at 1.37.48 PM

Step 1: Take a train to Pingdingshan, Henan Provence.

I would not recommend going to Pingdingshan “West” station (it will place you closer to the statue itself, but you will have a much more difficult time finding a taxi … or for that matter, anything of comfort at all). The West Station is a very small train station and nowhere near the city of Pingdingshan itself, ironically. Here is a comical and informative article about getting to the Spring Temple Buddha and why you shouldn’t go to the Pingdingshan West station.

Getting to the Spring Temple Buddha from Pingdingshan will take an entire day. I would recommend staying at theInternational Hotel in Pingdingshan, get up early to see the Buddha and then spend a 2nd night in Pingdingshan, before heading on your way.

Step 2: Get from Pingdingshan to the Spring Temple Buddha.

Option A: Take a bus AND a Taxi: Once in Pingdingshan there are a few ways to get to the statue. You can work your way to the Pingdingshan Bus Station and ask for a bus ticket to the city of Lushan, in Lushan County. Once to Lushan you may approach any taxi driver and ask them to take you to the Spring Temple Buddha. Take a Picture of the Buddha before you leave and show the driver the picture. Also, write down all cities and destinations in Chinese before you go … this is rural China, they will not speak English.

Option B: Taxi only (recommended): I would highly recommend taking a taxi all the way from Pingdingshan (about 2 1/2 – 3 hours). It will cost a lot (especially if you are a foreigner and don’t speak Chinese), but the convenience and likelihood of actually making it to your destination will be much higher. Bus schedules and stops are unpredictable in rural China and the apparent randomness in which bus companies function is almost laughable, at least from the foreigner’s perspective. I would just spend the extra money, show a picture to the taxi driver, and ask how much it is. You can barter & haggle a bit depending on your ability to speak Chinese or use hand motions, but here is an estimate of how much you can expect to pay:

Transportation Costs:

(Taxi) Pingdingshan – Spring Temple Buddha: 300 RMB (one-way):
Have the driver wait at the Statue while you look at it and then he can take you back for another 300 RMB. This is the price that my friend paid and he was with Chinese people traveling from Pingdingshan. If you are a foreigner it is likely you will have to pay a bit extra, but I would not pay any more than 400 RMB (300 RMB is about $50 USD).

(Taxi) Lushan – Spring Temple Buddha: 100-150 RMB (one-way):
If you decide to take a bus from Pingdingshan – Lushan, the taxi to the Spring Temple Buddha will be about 100-150 RMB. Again, this is one way and you should have the driver wait for you and then take you back to Lushan afterwords. (I paid 100 RMB each way (200 RMB total) after Cheng (my Chinese friend) bartered with the driver).

The Road to the Spring Temple Buddha

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2014-05-10 14.10.54

2. At the Spring Temple Buddha!

tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China

About half-way through your climb to the top, there is a large concrete area with a huge circular pedestal-like cut-out, and places to buy drinks, noodles, and stupid souvenirs if you want – I would save your money and buy the exact same souvenir anywhere else in China. Merchants will charge 3 times as much because they have to pack everything up there in order to sell it to you.

If you want, you can walk up into the huge circular pedestal-like area at the half way point, but it dead-ends and I have no idea what the point of it is … there appears to be nothing of significance other than requiring you to climb about 10 extra stairs that you won’t want to climb at that point. I’d recommend skipping the “circle experience;” go around it to get to the most challenging and last set of stairs.

The Spring Temple Buddha is located in the small mountain township of Zhaocun. Once you make it to the site everything is fairly self-explanatory. You will see the Buddha well in advance of driving up to the front entrance … it is impossible to miss and stands proudly in contrast to the mountains around it. The entrance fee is 60 RMB (for foreigners) and 120 RMB (for Chinese) … I know, that’s odd.

Once you are inside just start walking and climbing! There is no shortage of stairs and your legs will be talking to you the following day. The stairs are certainly not impossible, but they will be enough to get your heart rate up … if you have pre-existing medical (heart or lung) conditions, it is worth considering before trekking all the way out to see the statue. (There were golf carts driving people to the top, but I’m not sure how to arrange them, if they’re available to everyone, or what they cost).

tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China
tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China
tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China
tallest, statue, world, spring temple, buddha, China

Once you have huffed your way up to the top of the stairs you will be at the base of a 7 story pedestal that the Buddha stands on. The sheer size of the statue will be inspiringly apparent at this point, but you can spend another 50 RMB (per person) and take the elevator to the Buddha’s feet! If you’ve made it this far, I’d say a picture next to Buddha’s toe is worth the extra 50 RMB. Once on top, take advantage of the view and pat yourself on the back … you are standing next to the big toe of the Tallest Statue in the World!