There is no airport near Mount Emei but the 98-mile (158 km) journey to Chengdu is a swift and comfortable trip by bullet train or car. Note that if you are traveling by the high-speed C train rather than the twice-as-slow R train, you need to leave from Emeishan railway station (a few miles away from the mountain) rather than the older Emei station in the southeast part of the city. This 4-day itinerary combines a visit to Chengdu with the key sites at Mount Emei and Leshan.
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
There are 13 bullet trains per day from Emeishan to Chengdu, ranging from just over an hour to just under 90 minutes. Most arrive into Chengdu South railway station, but there are two each morning destined for Chengdu East. You can also opt to take a train direct to Chengdu Airport; this also takes around an hour, with 10 departures to choose from each day.
Since the journey from Emeishan to Chengdu counts as a short hop between cities by Chinese standards, the train will be marked with a “C” for “Commuter”.
Bear in mind that, while bullet train journeys in China are typically the most pleasant way to travel, buying the tickets can be an arduous task.
Unless you speak Chinese and have a Chinese bank account, you won’t be able to buy tickets online through the official site – and as a foreigner, you will need to show your passport when purchasing or collecting the tickets. This means that you need to line up to buy tickets in person at the station (and in advance, if you want to be sure they’ll be available), or buy them from a ticketing reseller or travel agent.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Stringent rules mean that it’s simply not practical to rent a car in China without a Chinese driver’s license. However, you can arrange a private transfer from Emei to Chengdu.
While transport by car is slower than the train, your driver will typically pick you up from your hotel and drop you where you need to be in Chengdu, saving you time at either end. An extra bonus is that many drivers are happy to arrange to break up the journey in Leshan, giving you a chance to see the city’s famous Giant Buddha. Make sure you agree to the details in advance and, unless you’re a confident Mandarin speaker, it’s best to book this through a travel agent or your hotel.