Giant pandas! Oh my gosh is there anything cuter and cuddlier or more loveable than a panda? While we were in China we decided to head out to Chengdu to visit these adorable creatures at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
It’s so easy to visit and find your way around this park, and the pandas are so beautiful!
I loved that they are in huge forest areas and can roam around at just be pandas - while we watch them of course. It’s such a great experience it should be on your must-do list when visiting China.
We used trains to get around China and traveled on a 10 hour train from Hangzhou to Chengdu and stayed at the Hello Chengdu Hostel - you can read our review here. It is a fabulous hostel with lovely grounds, good sized rooms with bathrooms and amenities, a restaurant and lots of lovely staff and guests.
Getting to the Giant Panda Research Base:
We booked our trip out to the centre with the desk at the hostel, and a minivan picked us and some other guests up and returned us to the hostel after a three hour stay at the park. It was super easy. You could take a Chengdu panda tour (book at your hostel or hotel) however we found it easy to walk around by ourselves following the guide map, and that way we could go where there were no other tourists at the time and have spots all to ourselves.
You can organise your own transport - it’s very close to the city and if you take your own car you can easily do it yourself and then stay at the panda centre for as long as you like. I would suggest arranging for pickup at an agreed time though, as it can be difficult to flag a taxi down on the main road.
When to go:
As there is a panda breeding program here, the time of year you arrive determines the size of the baby pandas you see. When we were there in July there was a bunch of little newborn panda babies in humidi-cribs in the maternity ward. Oh it was so amazing!
There was a queue to walk inside and file past the little baby pandas but the wait was only around 10 minutes. And we got to see the panda twins that had been born only a couple of weeks earlier which was so exciting. They are so cute and it's amazing we get to see them like this, being cared for by vets. It's all very professional and well organised.
A little later in the year, around September, lots of cuddly toddlers - like the ones you see in the famous videos - can be found there...but they are not always in the public viewing areas.
But regardless, whenever you go within the Chengdu Giant Panda Base you will see giant pandas lolling around, trying to climb, eating, falling over and just living a great life!
I reckon the Chinese manage their attractions really well. The park is well pathed and sign-posted in English. You can wander around the paths and spot giant pandas in the forest or playing, snoozing or laying on their bamboo platforms.
They are so much fun to watch, you can literally spend hours, spellbound by them.
There are other displays too like small red pandas and golden monkeys, but the pandas are the main event! Oh and on your way out there will be vendors with all kinds of panda gear for you to buy if you can’t find what you want at the tourist shops inside.
WHERE: Giant Panda Research Base, only 10km from Chengu centre
COST: RMB 58 per person (arond $11 AUD)
OPENING HOURS: 7.30am - 6pm year round.
ACCESSIBLE: Yes! Pathways, signposts in English and clean toilets. There is a cafe at the entrance.