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How to Plan a Panda Tour

Few things are as delightful as observing the wonders of the Giant Panda first hand. Visitors can spend hours watching the playful cubs, or, they can volunteer and provide hands on help to the pandas’ keepers. China Culture Tour team offers flexible tours to enjoy the Panda journey. You can be a volunteer for Giant Panda in Bifengxia Panda Base or Dujiang Weir Giant Panda Research Centre for one day or days. Moreover, we offer adventure tours to discover the wild pandas and photograph in the primitive forests. Bifengxia Panda Base(about three hours driving from Chengdu downtown) is searching for Panda Volunteers to help the pandas! Will you be the one?

Visiting the cute giant pandas in China would be the once in a lifetime experience. BUT, you may wonder which panda base is the best place to see or even hug lovely pandas, and when is the best time to visit the cuddly bears…To help you put all the questions and worries down, Travel Tour China, the local based travel agency in panda’s hometown, is here glad to give you detailed answers with everything about your China panda tour.

Where are the Best Places to Visit Giant Pandas?

China Panda

In China, travelers can see giant pandas in some zoos and parks, like Beijing Zoo, Shanghai Zoo, Chongqing Zoo, Chengdu Zoo, Guilin Seven Star Zoo, Shanghai Wildlife Park, Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park, Hong Kong Ocean Park, Dalian Forest Zoo, Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, etc. These zoos are well located in the downtown area with limited numbers of pandas. It is very suitable for travelers who have short time and a few destinations in China, and they can pay a brief visit to see the fluffy, adorable black and white bears in person.

Moreover, since Chengdu is known as “Hometown of Giant Pandas”, travelers can see giant pandas in and around Chengdu by visiting the well-organized panda bases - Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (short for Chengdu Panda Base), Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base, and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base.

Place Location Activities Visit Crowds?
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center Chengdu City Seeing pandas ½ day Very crowded
Dujiangyan Panda Base 1½ hours from Chengdu Giant panda volunteer program 1 day Quiet
Wolong Panda Center 3 hours from Chengdu Giant panda, red panda, panda baby volunteer program, hiking in panda habitat 2 days Quiet
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base 3 hours from Chengdu Giant panda volunteer program 2 days or more Quiet


If you have limited time and want to pay a short visit to see the pandas, then zoos and parks are good choices to satisfy your needs. If Chengdu is on your traveling list, you should never miss the panda bases. To do one-day volunteer program, we suggest you head to Dujiangyan Panda Base which is easy to access from Chengdu.

And if you have 1-3 days more besides your Chengdu tour, then Wolong Panda Base and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base are good choices to experience the life-time panda volunteer.

When Is the Best Time to See Giant Pandas?

The Best Season to Visit

Giant pandas don't hibernate. You can visit them in all four seasons. Spring and autumn are the best times to see pandas when they are most active and temperatures are most comfortable.
But if you visit between August and November, you will probably see adorable panda babies.
If you visit during Chinese holidays, e.g. May 1st–3rd, October 1st–7th, we recommend you visit Dujiangyan or Wolong or Bifengxia Panda Base, which will be less crowded.

The Best Time of Day

Giant pandas spend almost half their days sleeping. So, if you want to see them walking or climbing, it's important to know their general rest schedule.
Grown-up giant pandas in captivity usually eat twice a day: early in the morning and late in the afternoon. They usually sleep around noon, any time from around 10:00 am to around 2:00 pm.
We recommend you get to a panda base as early as possible (8:00 to 10:00 am is optimal), when it is less-crowded and the pandas are at their most active.

What Kind of Activities Can I Take?

Travelers can see, observe, take pictures and shoot videos in all the zoos, parks and panda bases. Besides these activities, travelers can take panda volunteer program in Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base and Bifengxia Panda Base. What’s more, if you are a big fan of panda, you can do the outdoor trekking research program of panda’s wild training area at Wolong Panda Base, the world only one base so far to do that activity.

Do Giant Panda Volunteer Work for 1~3 Days

At present, there are three facilities offering panda volunteer program in Sichuan Province. Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base, and Bifengxia Panda Base are available to join in the interesting panda volunteer program. Here you can not only have a close look at pandas, but also learn some rescue skills and scientific knowledge about pandas.
During the classic one-day volunteer program, the activities include honorary keepers, science quest, love feeding, panda nutritionist, panda movie, panda class and panda fun trip. After the panda volunteer activities, participants will receive an official certificate from CCRCGP that proves your love for giant pandas, as well as souvenirs, like a panda badge, a panda T-shirt or a panda club magazine.

Join in Red Panda Volunteer Program

If you are not only have interests in giant panda volunteer program, but also want to do further volunteering work with red pandas (lesser pandas), you can head to Hetaoping Panda Base (Wolong, Sichuan) which is close to Shenshuping Panda Base, about 120 kilometers away from Chengdu downtown area with 2.5 hours’ drive.
There are over 60 red pandas in Hetaoping Panda Base. In 2019, this base has been designed 1-day red panda volunteer program, starting from 09:30 to 16:30. Like the giant panda volunteer work, travelers who attend this program will have the intimate chance to take care of red pandas, clean their enclosures, prepare special food for them, enjoy some merry time to feed them and take photos with one of the gentle red pandas in your arms. Watch the meaningful scientific documentary and understand how to protect the endangered species. After the work, you will be rewarded with volunteer certificate and some souvenirs. For red panda lovers, you can plan one day red panda volunteer program which means you will drive to the base from Chengdu and after the work, drive back to Chengdu.

Hug & Take Photos with Giant Panda

Volunteer between 12 and 65 years old can hold one panda in Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base, and Bifengxia Panda Base and take photos with it, on the condition that you have a valid Health Examination Form, which can be applied in your country or in China. It charges extra fee 1800 Yuan which belongs to the donation fee to help saving this endangered species and create a better environment for them.

Recent news for panda holding for all panda bases: To well protect and provide giant pandas friendly and natural living environment, and prevent spreading disease to any of them, panda holding and photo taking activities have been suspended since November 2018. There is no latest news for panda hugging in 2019. We’ll keep update the info.

Join Hiking Research at Panda Wild Training Area

For panda lovers, now you have the chance to do the outdoor trekking research program at panda’s wild training area at Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base, which is the only one base providing such new try in the world.

Join this one day program, hike in the primitive living environment of giant pandas, enjoy the really natural sightseeing of the protection zone, observe rare plants in panda's habitat, learn how to use the tools and instruments to collect data of panda habitats, and know what actions to protect pandas and their home. You will be one of the proud contributors to the animal species saving and nature health of our planet earth.

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Top 4 Sichuan Tours chosen by most customers to explore China Panda in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

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