The iconic triple towers of Chongsheng Temple

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Absolutely the symbol of the town and region, these pagodas, a 2km walk north of the north gate, are among the oldest standing structures in southwestern China. The tallest of the three, Qianxun Pagoda, has 16 tiers that reach a height of 70m. It was originally erected in the mid-9th century by engineers from Xi'an. It is flanked by two smaller 10-tiered pagodas, each of which are 42m high. Guided tours in English are available from ¥120.

While the price is cheeky considering you can’t go inside the pagodas, Chongsheng Temple (崇圣寺, Chóngshèng Sì) behind them has been rebuilt to an incredible degree along the design of the destroyed Nanzhao-era original, and is well worth exploring. Just inside the main entrance, the Chong Sheng Vegetarian Buffet serves lunch (¥20, 11.30am to 1pm).