Top 5 Places to See Giant Pandas
Chengdu, the hometown of the giant pandas, is the obvious destination for panda lovers. There are four panda reserves in Chengdu offering various experiences, from viewing pandas to being a panda keeper. They may seem hard to pick and choose against at first.
Mar, 2019 Updated: Chengdu panda holding program has been suspended since early November, 2018. Till now, there is no official news about when it will be reopened. We will keep an eye on it and keep you updated.
Our panda specialists visit frequently to keep abreast of everything happening there, and they’ll give you an insider’s recommendation and help you to create a panda tour unique for you.
|Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center||50||Seeing pandas||Half a day||40 mins from downtown|
|Dujiangyan Panda Base||20||Seeing pandas, volunteer program, taking photos next to a panda||1 day||1½ hrs from Chengdu|
|Wolong National Nature Reserve||30||Seeing pandas, volunteer program, taking photos next to a panda||2 days||2½ hrs from Chengdu|
|Bifengxia Panda Base||20||Seeing pandas, volunteer program, taking photos next to a panda||2 days or more||3 hrs from Chengdu|
|City Zoo (take Beijing Zoo as an example)||8||Seeing pandas||2 hours|
1. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center — Great for Panda Viewing
- Pandas: about 50
- Time needed: half a day
- Things to do: viewing pandas, watching panda breeding movies
- Suitable for: those who are interested in seeing pandas
- Location: Chengdu outskirts, around 40 minutes by car
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base is 40-minute drive from Chengdu, making it a prime spot for panda encounters since it's easily accessible.
This base hosts the largest number of giant pandas in China. You are likely to see many giant pandas of various ages, who are sleeping in trees, sitting on the ground eating, and peering out from their homes.
If you arrive around August or September, you may be able to see baby pandas. A panda breeding movie should not be missed, which will show you how a baby panda grows up.
2. Dujiangyan Panda Base — Best for Being a Panda Caretaker
- Pandas: about 20
- Time needed: 1 day
- Things to do: seeing pandas, taking photos with pandas, and being a panda keeper
- Suitable for: those who want to join in a panda volunteer program
- Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) outside of Chengdu
Dujiangyan Panda Base is a place where you can join a whole-day Panda Volunteer Program and take photos next to a panda.
The volunteer program allows you to get up close and personal with the panda, and learn about daily life of pandas. You can help clean out panda enclosures, make panda cakes and feed the pandas.
You are recommended to book early as only 60 people per day can have this chance to be a panda caretaker.
3. Wolong National Nature Reserve — Hiking to Spot Wild Pandas
- Pandas: about 30
- Time needed: 2 days
- Things to do: seeing pandas, taking photos with pandas, joining a panda volunteer program, hiking
- Suitable for: those who want to be a panda caretaker and see the wild habitat of pandas
- Location: Wenchuan County, 121 km (75 mi) west of Chengdu
Wolong National Nature Reserve offers the biggest chances to spot wild pandas. Before going to join the Panda Volunteer Program, you can enjoy a one-day hiking in the wild habitat of giant pandas.
4. Bifengxia Panda Base — the Least Visited Base with Longer Drive and Higher Price
- Pandas: about 20
- Time needed: 2 days or above
- Things to do: seeing pandas, taking photos with pandas, joining a panda volunteer program
- Best for: avid pandas lovers who want to take part in the volunteer program
- Location: Ya’an City, 150 km (90 mi) southwest of Chengdu
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is the least visited base for its longer distance but similar panda viewing and volunteer program.
It is an option if you desire to see pandas with no crowds of people and be a panda caretaker for over 2 days.
The jungle like vegetation and rock formations will make your trip enjoyable.
5. Zoos in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou…
If you wish to see pandas on your China trip but have no time to Chengdu, you can consider having a snapshot of the cute giant pandas in the zoos of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Try to get early to avoid crowds of visitors.
Immerse Yourself in a World of Pandas with an Local Expert
Encounters with the adorable giant pandas are enough to get many visitors hooked. But there’s also great joy in having an expert guide introduce you to the minutiae and interesting facts of the pandas.
Our panda specialists have tried and tested each panda base, and they can help you decide where to go based on your interests and budget.