How To Visit the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan, Wuxi
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Visiting the Grand Buddha Lingshan area is one of the coolest things you can do in Wuxi, China. You’ll find the giant statue at Mt Lingshan Scenic Area on the edge of Wuxi welcoming you with its friendly wave.
I visited the grand Buddha on our recent weekend trip to Wuxi and really enjoyed the park, despite how far away it was from the city center.
The Main Attraction at Ling shan: The Grand Buddha
The 88 metre high bronze marble buddha is one of the biggest in the world so you’ll see it as you approach the park, and practically everywhere you go inside the park it will be looming in the distance.
The 216 steps that lead up to the foot of the grand buddha at Ling shan are said to represent 108 steps of troubles and 108 steps of wishes. While it sounds like a lot of steps there are 7 platform breaks as you climb so you can take a breather as you go.
You can climb the steps to the base of the border to see the views across the area. A little harder to find the entrance to, you can also climb steps to the touch the toes of the grand buddha which has spiritual significance for many buddhists who visit.
The entrance to the part where you touch the toes was actually really hard to find but you have to enter the entrance at the top of the 216 steps and walk through a dark museum to get to the appropriate elevator, instead of going to the stairs at the side of the 218 steps (which will lead you upwards for views, but not where you can touch the toes).
Other Things to See at Mount Ling Shan Scenic Park
There are a few other things to see at the scenic park however since I was short on time I didn’t get to see everything. I did have time to check out the two temples near the entrance which looked quite different from each other despite being in close proximity.
The map out front suggests a circular route to check out the attractions but as you want to beat the crowds, I’d head straight to the grand Buddha first and then do the circle route afterwards as the other temples are less visited.
On the way to the Buddha there are some cool smaller attractions such as the Buddha’s Hand square complete with a giant hand and a large buddha with children playing upon him (feel free to try and throw your coins in his mouth).
The hand is the exact size of the grand buddha’s and for good luck, comfort and security run your hand along the statue as you walk it’s circumference. If you want to find more about the spiritual meaning and history behind all of the attractions here, check out this website.
How To Get There
First of all while you can visit from Shanghai, its best to arrive in Wuxi the night before if travelling to the grand buddha independently (ie: without a tour) in order to get the Ling shan early. It takes atleast 45 minutes (taxi option) to get there from Wuxi so keep that in mind when planning your travel times.
To get to the grand buddha at Ling Shan you can either catch a taxi, go via public bus or shared van, or hop on a tour. The public bus option is obviously the cheapest and at the time of writing bus number 88 will take you there, however I strongly advise you to check at your hotel/ hostel as you may need to catch a connecting bus depending on where you are staying in Wuxi.
Catching a taxi to the giant buddha will set you back roughly 100rmb each way (roughly 15 US / 20 AUD), this option will get you to Lingshan in under an hour and is the quickest way to go.
You will need to show the driver the name or address of the attraction in chinese characters, so either have this ready on your mobile, or ask the reception at your hotel or hostel to write it down for you.
I didn’t explore the day tour or shared van options so I can’t give you too much information on these. When leaving the park I was asked if I wanted to hop in a shared van (which I’m assuming would be much cheaper than a taxi) so the option is there.
I’m assuming the drop off point might be Wuxi station, but as I don’t speak much Chinese, we couldn’t ask. As for day tours, I’m sure your hostel or hotel in Wuxi could give you suggestions.
Best Time To Visit Wuxi
While you can visit at anytime of the year, visiting during March and April is the best time as spring is cherry blossom season in China. Visiting during these months ensures that you not only see the grand buddha but also a rainbow of colours in the surrounding gardens with all kinds of flowers blooming alongside the cherry blossoms.
As for time of day, I recommend going as early as possible, and if possible go on a week day – try to get there at 9 or 10am. While the grand buddha park doesn’t get as crowded as more popular Chinese, its best to go when the park will be at its quietest to enjoy the area best.
When does the Grand Buddha attraction open: 9am to 5.30pm
How much does it cost: 205 rmb (USD 30 / AUD 40 roughly)
Where to stay in Wuxi: We stayed at Juna Liangxi Hotel
How long will it take to explore the park: Atleast 3 hours, as there is more to the Grand Buddha park than just the statue.