As a sub-provincial city, Chengdu includes a central metropolitan area surrounded by smaller cities, towns and villages. The city's urban heart lays within a major ring road and in a region of interconnected waterways branching off the Jinjiang River. In this central area, you’ll find many iconic tourist attractions as well as modern luxury hotels, shopping centres and excellent Sichuan restaurants. Stay in the centre of Chengdu and enjoy easy access to parks, museums, art galleries, temples, and many traditional teahouses. While this area is urban and built-up, the atmosphere remains tranquil and the area’s many green spaces and riverside pathways which ensure a relaxing stay. One major attraction that sits outside the city centre is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding – well-worth a visit especially in winter when newborns cubs arrive. Vast areas of wilderness surround Chengdu city like the mountainous Xiling Xueshan National Park. The park is covered in azaleas between March and August and snow between December and February when it becomes a premier ski resort. South of Chengdu is the neighbouring city of Leshan, where you can climb the sacred Mount Emei and pay a visit to a massive ancient Buddha statue.