• Day13

    Dazu Rock Carvings

    September 9, 2019 in China ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    Long and complicated day of travel today! We were heading for Dazu Rock Carvings, a world heritage site in an out of the way place, and then heading on to the city of Chongqing. Very early start, still dark, and early enough that the subway wasn't even running yet! Though it starts up surprisingly late, not until after 6:30am. So we got a cab out to the immense Chengdu East railway station on the edge of town. High speed train for an hour, where we hopped off and got a super local bus. This was the kind of bus that had people carrying live chickens, sacks of vegetables and so on. Haven't really seen that before in China, though it's common in other parts of Asia.

    We were on this bus for about 90 minutes to the town of Dazu, where we changed to another bus to the actual rock carvings site, about 15 minutes north of town. Although we had the route planned out in advance, I think the best thing I did while here was downloading Baidu Maps - essentially the Chinese version of Google Maps. It's entirely in Chinese, but you can decipher enough of the information to find what you need.

    So we made it to the rock carvings site by about 10:30am. Unfortunately the museum was closed on Mondays, but the carvings themselves are always open. Lucky for us, as the carvings were magnificent. Located in a U-shaped valley, there were about 20 immense panels of Buddhist sculpture 8-10 metres high, and some of them 15-20 metres long. Stories of Buddha's life, his teachings, depictions of noble and peasant life in the 12th century when it was carved, and a spectacular Thousand Hand Buddha. Most of the figures were brightly painted, and we really enjoyed the whole site.

    There was another group of carvings nearby, but it would require the bus back to town, then a multi-kilometre walk and since it was threatening rain and we had all of our luggage, we decided against it. Grabbed some street vendor noodles, then got the bus back into town looking for the long distance bus station.

    As you'd expect, there were two terminals in Dazu, with no real indication (to us at least) which one was which. So of course we went to the wrong one first, and had to walk a kilometre to the other one! But luckily enough there was a coach for Chongqing leaving in five minutes, so we grabbed our tickets and scurried on.

    Couldn't tell you what the scenery was like on the drive from Dazu to Chongqing, as I went to sleep almost immediately and stayed that way for the entire 2.5 hour drive! Pretty much as we turned into the bus station in Chongqing it started bucketing down with rain, absolutely torrential sheets. The sort of rain where you get drenched in the three steps between the bus and shelter.

    Waited a bit for it to slacken then caught the subway into central Chongqing and our hotel. A bit tricky to find since reception was on the fourth floor and there were multiple entrances. The lower floors were all taken up with child care businesses and it was school pickup time, so it was rather crowded!

    Hotel was okay but not great, and after a bit of relaxing we headed out for dinner. Lots of street food nearby, so we grabbed some dumplings and spicy noodles before heading to bed. Another early start tomorrow!
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    Trish Forrester

    What a day! I admire your fortitude!

    Trish Forrester



    Can you download Google maps before you get there and have them work inside China? Dad

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