Leshan is famous for the Great Buddha, carved into the mountainside at the confluence of the Dadu, Qingyi, and Min rivers. The Great Buddha—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—was initiated by the monk Haitong in 713, but he didn't live to see its completion in 803. The statue, blissfully reclining, has overlooked the swirling, choppy waters for 1,200 years and is the world’s largest Buddhist sculpture.

Although the Great Buddha is the city’s main attraction, it's worth spending some time exploring the area. Xiao Gong Zui is an atmospheric stretch of the waterfront lined with local restaurants and teahouses with stunning views of the Great Buddha.

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