Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

Any trip to Chengdu is not complete without a visit to one of the four giant panda centers in the area. The cuddly national icon of China, and the logo of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the cute black and white pandas are one of the world’s rarest animals, and were hunted and forced out of their natural habitats until they were close to extinction. Now recovering and taken of the endangered list, the pandas live both wild and in captivity in China, at 26 panda research centers as well as at more than a dozen wild locations in Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi.

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

As the natural home of the giant panda, Sichuan is the most popular of all the places in China to visit the pandas that are kept in captivity. And with four fantastic sites to choose from, there is always somewhere to go to see the giant pandas. The only problem there is which panda base to explore first.

How to Plan a Giant Panda Tour

Planning a tour to see the giant pandas in Chengdu can be done either on your own or through a tour operator. As one of the largest tour operators in southwest China, we have a wide range of tours available for you to visit the giant pandas, which normally also include guided visits to some of Chengdu’s other fascinating attractions as well.

We offer the options of taking a Chengdu panda tour that allows you to visit the panda centers along with other sites around the area, the option of being a panda volunteer for two days at the Chengdu Panda Base and at Wolong Panda Base, or taking the rare opportunity to hug the giant pandas at Chengdu Panda base.

If you are planning the tour yourself, then you need to take into account the expenses of getting to and into the panda centers, as well as working out how to get there. This can be a hard thing to plan if you are not able to read Chinese, as the metro and bus routes are only written in Chinese. You would also need to hire a tour guide to guide you around the centers, if you want to get the best out of the tour.

Where to see Giant Pandas in Chengdu

Chengdu has four amazing sites where you can view the giant pandas, and all four offer the rare opportunity of being able to hold the pandas or becoming a panda keeper for the day. Which one you visit is entirely up to you, though the Chengdu Panda Base in northeast Chengdu is the most popular, as well as being the busiest, even in the low season. The other three are less busy, being further away from the city center, but each has its own attraction for visitors. They also have fewer visitors in the peak season, which means less crowded tours. Alternatively, if you are finding it hard to choose one from the others, you could always tour all four on different days.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

The largest and most popular of the four panda centers in Chengdu, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, known locally just as the Chengdu Panda Base, is located a short distance from Chengdu city center, in the Chenghua District in the northeast of the city.

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

The center has around 200 pandas in residence at the moment, with around 50 in full view of the public at any one given time. As a major center for panda breeding, there are always groups of these cuddly animals that are being mated or are already pregnant, and these animals are kept out of the public eye for their own safety and benefit.

The most easily accessible of all the centers in Chengdu, possibly even in the whole of China, it is great for those that have a limited time in their itinerary for getting really close to the giant pandas in their most natural captive habitats. Having a private guide is also an advantage, as it helps you to get through the crowds more easily having someone guiding you that knows the center inside out.

The pandas at the center are of a variety of ages, from small newborns to adolescents and full-grown adult pandas. The center has a museum of the giant panda, where you can learn more about the life cycle of the pandas, as well as giving you a better understanding of them and their habits and behaviors.

The center is also the home of other creatures that are either endangered or rare. These other animals include the rare red pandas, which look more like a raccoon than a panda, black swans, peacocks, and rare butterflies.

Wolong Panda Reserve

A heaven for those people that want to see the giant pandas in their more natural habitats, instead of in a concrete-surrounded enclosure, the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base is located in one of the natural homes of the giant panda, in Wenchuan County of Chengdu. Over 100 pandas reside at the center, and the Wolong Natural Nature Reserve is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China.

The center was constructed after the old Wolong center was damaged in an earthquake, and has become a much better site for the pandas, as they are now living in their own natural habitat in their own ranges, which were once populated by thousands of wild pandas. The ideal climate for the pandas, it is warm and humid and has a wealth of the panda’s natural food source, bamboo.

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

There are zones inside the reserve that cater to ill or baby pandas, which are not part of the natural habitat, though they are far from the cages that one sees in a zoo, and are for the care and health of the pandas.

The nearby Shenshuping Panda Center, which is part of the Wolong National Nature Reserve, includes a panda museum, and other attractions, as well as being one of he places where you can learn to be a keeper or hug the giant pandas.

Dujiangyan Panda Base

Lying around 55 kilometers northwest of Chengdu center, the Dujiangyan Panda Base is also the home of the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, with Mount Qingcheng, the mountain said to be the birthplace of Chinese Taoism, to the south. The center is located in Shiqiao Village of Qingchengshan Town, and is around 51 hectares in size, much smaller than the other panda centers.

However, while it may be smaller, it is just as important, as it has a great natural climate and environment for the cuddly icons of China. The center is built around a huge bamboo forest, the natural food of the giant pandas, and is set in some of the most beautiful scenic surroundings in southwest China.

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

With more than 30 natural enclosures, which contain the natural environment and habitat of the pandas, the focus at this site is the rescue and rehabilitation of pandas from the wild that are sick or injured. The center ensures that they receive the correct medical attention and treatment, with the minimum of human interaction, so that they can eventually be released back into the wild. The site is also the center for disease control in pandas, and has the quarantine center for pandas returning to China from around the world. The state-of-the-art laboratories mean Chinese researchers can work easily with other research experts from around the world to ensure the continued survival and rehabilitation of China’s awesome panda population.

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base

Located around eighteen kilometers outside the city of Yaan, and around 150 kilometers from Chengdu, the Bifengxia Panda Base was built to accommodate some of the pandas at Wolong, as the original center there was getting too crowded. Splitting the population was an idea that was developed to ensure that there was more than one place where the pandas and the research was kept, in case of natural disasters.

The center covers around 400 hectares, or about 998 acres, and is the largest natural habitat for pandas in captivity in the world. With so much more land for the use of the pandas, and a location within one of the natural ranges of the old wild pandas, the inhabitants of the center are spread over a wider area, allowing them to be more solitary, as their nature requires.

Ultimate Guide on Chengdu Panda Tour Guide 2019

The center also includes the usual panda hugging sessions twice a day, as well as the panda keeper volunteer days, where you can become a volunteer panda keeper for the day and spend the entire day as one of the staffs, carrying out the same tasks of feeding the pandas and cleaning out their enclosures.

The center is primarily designed to function as a research base, and work closely in the areas of panda breeding, educational work, and rescue, as there is a population of wild giant pandas in the same neighborhood.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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