Located on the fringes of Dali Old Town, the iconic Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple date back to the ninth and tenth centuries. The middle of the three, named the Qianxun Pagoda, was erected in the ninth century during the Tang Dynasty as one of the tallest pagodas ever built in China. The two other pagodas went up about a century later, and their architectural styles are more similar to buildings of the Song Dynasty.
While Dali has endured numerous earthquakes through the centuries, including a severe one in 1925, the Three Pagodas were some of the few buildings to survive undamaged (though one now leans slightly). The well-maintained park that houses the pagodas is also dotted with smaller Buddhist temples, statues and several small lakes, all with the Cangshan Mountains as a backdrop.
If the walk up to the Three Pagodas is too much, there’s also a tourist bus that ferries passengers to the top of the hill.