Image by by Chakarin Wattanamongkol / Getty Images

Emei Shan

A cool, misty retreat from Sichuan basin’s heat, Emei Shan (峨眉山; 3099m) is one of China’s four sacred Buddhist Mountains (the others being Putuo Shsn, Wutai Shan and Jiuhua Shan. This excludes sacred Buddhist mountains in the Tibetan regions). A farmer built the first Buddhist temple near Jinding summit in the 1st century. That temple stood until it was gutted by fire in 1972, and many of the more than 150 temples on the mountain suffered fires or looting over the centuries but around 30 have been maintained and restored in various degrees. Reconstructed in the 9th century, Wannian Temple is the oldest surviving temple on the mountain.

Beyond its rich cultural heritage, the mountain also stands on the edge of the eastern Himalayan highlands and hosts a diverse range of plants and animals, all of which helped place it on Unesco’s World Heritage list.

Explore Emei Shan

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Emei Shan.