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Beyond it's extraordinary scale and intricate details, the Leshan Giant Buddha represents one of the most extraordinary acts of religious faith. The Buddha sits at the confluence of three large rivers, overlooking an area where local shipping boats were perishing in the volatile waters. A Chinese monk therefore commissioned the 71 metre statue (which is still the world's largest stone Buddha) to serenely look out over the water and bring calm to the area. It took 90 years to carve this sitting giant out of the mountain, mainly due to funding problems and was eventually completed in 803. Remarkably, the Buddha actually succeeded in calming the waters, not through divine intervention but instead because the immense quantity of stone which was dropped into the river from the cliff-face altered the course of the water for the better.

The Leshan Giant Buddha can be easily reached by road from Chengdu, a journey of around two hours. Therefore it can be visited on a day trip from the Sichuan capital, or as part of a two or three night stay at the foot of the sacred Mount Emei. You can enjoy a scenic boat ride on the river to get a panoramic view of the Buddha and then climb the 333 steps to gaze at its immense features up close.

Some of our favourite places to go and things to do in Chengdu
Half and full day excursions from Chengdu

Panda Research Base

Get up close to adorable Giant Pandas and their young cubs at this specialist research base, close to Chengdu.