Tourists to Mt Emei are recommended to plan for at least two days and one night stay on Mt. Emei. There are different accommodation options available, ranging from luxurious to budget hotels. There are inns on the mountain and hotels available at the Golden Point or you can camp. I highly recommend camping, especially if you have children.
John and I spent three days climbing the mountain and slept at night in a tent. It was an invigorating experience, inhaling the fresh air and watching the stars twinkle. I felt proud of myself for being a good father, for teaching my son about the great outdoors. John helped me set up the tent. Because as it often rains on the mountain in summer and Mt. Emei is cold and covered snow in the winter, climbers are advised to bring appropriate outdoor clothing, hiking boots and a backpack. As we wanted to reach the top of the mountain quickly, John and I didn't bring much gear with us.
We wanted to dash up the mountain as fast as we could, without carrying a lot of extra weight. Still, a pair of hiking boots proved to be a necessity. Rain makes the trail slippery and hiking in wet boots is, of course, miserable. I also recommend bringing additional warm clothing, as the air gets colder at night and as you near the top of the mountain.
Mt. Emei is 7km (4.35 miles) southwest of Emei town, 37km (22.99 miles) east of Leshan city, about a 3 hour drive southwest from Chengdu, Sichuan’s provincial capital. You can take the bus from Chengdu, hire a private car or take the train. I decided to take the train from Chengdu to Leshan city. John begged me to drive us to Mt. Emei in our family car but I said, "No way!" The train trip to Leshan was one part of the Mt. Emei experience I didn't want my son to miss. He was upset at first, but I was pleased later on when I noticed him enjoying himself on the train, talking excitedly about the things he saw passing outside of the window.
One thing I saw passing outside of the window far too often were people driving expensive cars to Mt. Emei - I saw them hop out of their cars, cameras in hand. They quickly snapped images of one another posing in front of scenic landscapes. Then they hopped back inside their cars and sped off. Watching them from the train, I thought, why follow the herd?