Ask around what the cutest animal on the planet is and no doubt the panda will be on the lips of a few people. Un “bear” ably cuteness overload, you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with the panda bear.
These goofy creatures are super fluffy and cuddly with stunning black-and-white fur. China’s most iconic beauty the panda bear is also known as the giant panda or just panda. Tick some days off your calendar and head off to China for some panda love. Not sure where to soak in this cuteness? We’ve got your back. Check in at some of the best hotels in Chengdu for a memorable stay and dining experience.
We feature the most amazing destinations in China where you can catch a glimpse of the giant panda, and all that’s left for you to do is choose.
So where will you go?
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center
Chengdu is arguably one of the most popular tourist hotspots for panda lovers. This is because compared to the other panda centers it is the most easily accessible panda base, located only 41 miles from Chengdu.
It is the ideal option if you are time-strapped as it gives you a close view of the giant pandas. It is advisable you tour with a private guide to avoid the crowds. Established in 1987 with only six giant pandas, Chengdu panda center is home to about 50 pandas which is the highest compared to the other panda centers in China.
This center is in partnership with some organizations such as the University of Liverpool and zoo Atlanta to enhance its conservancy efforts.
You get to see giant pandas of different ages including the baby pandas. Apart from the giant pandas, this center is home to endangered species such as swans, peacocks, and red pandas to enrich your tour.
Within the center is the iconic giant panda museum with one of a kind exhibition with all things panda from their physical nature to the conservation efforts to ensure their existence.
Wolong Panda Center
Wolong panda center offers a serene habitat for giant panda fans. Located 75 miles from Chengdu, this panda center is a natural reserve and home to about 30 wild pandas.
It is quite a new panda base reopened in 2016 following earthquake damage in 2008. This center is famous for its panda keeper program that gets volunteers involved in the upkeep of the pandas and a hike through this massive wild panda reserve.
Don’t miss a chance to be a private guest to the pandas and soak in the nightlife as you explore the stunning beauties in a quiet, serene landscape.
Dujiangyan Panda Base
If you are a panda fan and would like to volunteer in one of the panda centers, then Dujiangyan panda base has one of the handiest volunteer programs you’d love to be part of.
Located 41 miles from Chengdu, Dujiangyan panda base is home to about 20 pandas with a 1-day panda keeper program for its volunteers where you get to clean the pandas, prepare food for the pandas and feed them.
This center only allows for 60 people per day of ages 12 to 65 but only a maximum of 20 visitors per day can have their picture taken beside a panda. It offers you an unforgettable experience because you get to see and interact with the pandas close up.
What’s excellent with this center is that once you’ve completed your panda keeper program, you are awarded a certificate of participation and a t-shirt.
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base
Bifengxia giant panda base, located 93 miles southwest of Chengdu, is home to about 20 pandas. Most of the pandas were rescued from the Wolong national nature reserve following its extensive damage from the 2008 earthquake.
The best panda center if you’d like to see the pandas in a less crowded area. It is an ideal choice if you are a super panda fan and would like to take part in the panda keeper program which lasts for two days or longer.
The pandas receive training on necessary survival skills. There is a kindergarten for baby pandas, a research center and a breeding zone. But with the distance, you’ll spend long hours on the road making it quite an expensive option.
This center will enchant you with its stunning sights such as the waterfalls, lush green landscape and hanging coffins which make it a must-visit landmark for most tourists.
Shaanxi rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Center
Shaanxi center is also known as the Louguantai wild animal breeding and protection center. It was founded in 1987 and it’s a more accessible option if you don’t have time to reach Chengdu.
Located at the foot of Qingling Mountain, this center is home to 20 giant and red pandas several panda cubs which are the main attraction.
The pandas are tucked away from prying eyes in an enclosure with an indoor concrete area and an outside grassy area. Unlike the other centers, this panda base keeps the giant pandas with the hope of releasing them back to the wild in the future.
If you travel to China and miss out on a visit to the four main panda bases, don’t despair you can still get to see giant pandas in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Chongqing or Shanghai.
Both cities have zoos with a sizeable population of pandas and are easy to access but brace yourself for the vast crowds because the panda house is an ideal stopover for a majority of the visitors.
Tips to consider when visiting panda centers:
When setting out to visit the panda centers, it is crucial to note that pandas are most active in the morning which is around feeding time and get quite tired and lazy the rest of the day.
If you want to catch them at their most active state, when playing or feeding plan your visits for morning hours or around meal times which is between 8:30 and 10:00 am. If you are a lover of baby pandas, be sure to visit between July and September to see some baby panda thrill. You get to soak in the pink cubs being looked after by the human caregivers.