Leshan's claim to fame is Dafo, or the Grand Buddha, carved from the red-rock cliff face overlooking the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu Rivers. Dafo is the world's largest Buddha, measuring 71 meters (233 feet) in height. A number of temples are scattered along the cliffs surrounding the Buddha, and one can spend several hours exploring the area. Stairs carved into the cliff connect the area at his feet with the land above, allowing visitors to view this astonishing sight from a range of vantage points. River approaches made by boat are also popular, and most take a ferry across from Leshan to reach the Buddha.
Above Dafo, on Wuyou Shan (Wuyou Mountain), Wuyou Si (Wuyou Temple), founded in 742 AD is a worthy destination in and of itself. Featuring impressive sculptures illustrating scenes from the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West, the temple provides an excellent contrast with the monolithic mass of Dafo. Additional attractions in the immediate area include ancient Han tombs, scenic Lingyun Shan and the Lingyun Temple Museum (see Leshan Attractions for more).
The modest city of Leshan itself doesn't offer much in the way of additional attractions, though it is convenient to nearby Emei Shan via bus. The station, on the north side of town about 5 km from the city's heart opposite the Dafu on the banks of the Min and Dadu Rivers, also connects directly to Chengdu, Xichang and Chongqing, among other destinations. If you're planning on exploring the surrounding countryside, Leshan is the place to make sure you have cash (the Bank of China branch should serve your needs) and perhaps spend a night en route to elsewhere.
For more on Leshan, go here.
Photos by Mark Vranicar of Mark's China Blog.