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How to Plan a Panda Tour in Sichuan

Visiting the giant pandas in China would be the once in a lifetime experience of unforgettable. 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, There are many places to see lovely giant pandas in China. But where is the best place to go for a special trip? What is the best time to go? How to get there?

Where Are the Best Places to See Giant Pandas?

China Panda

Visit giant pandas in one of panda bases in Chengdu. You can see giant pandas in one of the four panda bases in Chengdu.

The four panda bases in Chengdu are the best places to see giant pandas. But which one to go? It depends on how much time you have and what kind of experience you want to have.

If you just want to see giant pandas, we recommend you go to Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Base. It is the most easily accessible panda base. You can see pandas at different ages, from the oldest to the newborns.

This base is huge but usually crowded. A private tour is the best way to get around the base to see the most pandas and get the best experience.

See the table below for more about the four bases to help you decide which best fits your situation. For more, see The Top 4 Places to See Giant Pandas.

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

Deeper panda experience

Feeding a giant panda

If you want to experience more, you can consider a one-day volunteer program at Dujiangyan Panda Base, or longer programs in Wolong Panda Center and Ya’an’s Bifengxia Panda Base.

For an in-depth experience, book a private trip to the vast Wolong Panda Center to explore the habitat of wild giant pandas. Enjoy a chance to be the “pandas’ private guest” and discover what their nightlife is like.

When is the Best Time to See Giant Pandas?

Panda in Sichuan

No matter when you come to China, you can pay a visit to see giant pandas all the year round. Every year during March to May, the pandas would seek for other pandas to mate by climbing the trees and fighting. In the late summer and autumn, they give birth to baby pandas and travelers can see the little cute being taken care in the Sunshine Nursery. If you want to see the active scene of giant pandas, come in spring. While to see the newborn pink baby pandas, it is recommended to visit Chengdu during August to September.

Keep in mind for traveling: In the panda bases, the keepers will feed the giant pandas twice a day - in the morning and in the afternoon. During the feeding time, pandas will be very active - eating, crawling, climbing trees, playing with partners…It is recommended to arrive early in the morning around 08:00 AM to catch the best time to observe the pandas eating and playing outdoors.

Giant Pandas will take 2~4 hours’ sleep in their cage after eating and they will definitely show you how to sleep - in all kinds of lovely posture. Though they are inactive, you can see their cuteness.

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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