Things to do
Just outside Leshan sits one of China’s greatest religious landmarks: the awe-inspiring Grand Buddha. At over 71 metres tall, this ancient statue is the largest stone Buddha in the world. The best time to go is in the early morning or late afternoon, to beat the crowds climbing the narrow stairways. Nearby Emei Shan should also be on your must-see list. This sacred mountain is home to more than 100 historic temples and working monasteries – not to mention peaceful hiking trails.
FOOD & DRINK
Leshan is in the heart of Sichuan, a province renowned for its cuisine. Dishes are fragrant and fiery, using generous helpings of chilli, garlic and powerful peppercorns. Specialities of Leshan include Mapo Tofu and spicy bean curd, followed by sweet rice cakes. Sichuan is also known for its vibrant teahouse culture. Experience a piece of traditional Chinese history by taking part in a Gongfu tea ceremony. Or grab a Mahjong board and settle in for the afternoon.
The region surrounding Leshan is home to some of China’s finest natural and cultural treasures. If one large Buddha isn’t enough, travel to nearby Jiajing to marvel at the Thousand Buddha Cliff. Or pay a visit to Chengdu to meet a different kind of giant at the Panda Centre. Visit in the morning to see these shy creatures being fed, and keep your eyes peeled to spot red pandas playing in the trees.