Chengdu and the drive to Bifengxia is stunning. My friend and i were volunteering for 2 weeks unfortunately due to the terrible experience we had with the accommodation (black mould and wet mattresses anyone!?) food (made us sick) and bad service from the onsite hotel / restaurant staff we left after 3 days.
Maybe I'm being unfair as I suspect a lot of our experience was down to the inept tour operator however it was truly awful and I wouldn't wish anyone to go through what we went through. It's actually put me off going back to china..... For a few years!
Another negative is that when volunteering none of the staff could speak English, yes we are in rural China and their English is notably better than my Chinese but volunteering is big business for them and I'd hoped to learn about the panda's - sadly I only learnt what I read before I got there!
This is less of a reserve and more a panda zoo and for that you can go to Beijing Zoo!!
I loved the experience of feeding the panda's - they love apples and panda cake - and seeing the baby panda's was the highlight.
We didn't even consider holding a baby panda (for USD500) due to pandas being really sceptical to picking up human viruses however a lot of people were which was actually quite upsetting. Similarly learning that only 2 pandas have been released into the world is disheartening and you wonder why there are so many painful and obtrusive practises continuing to ever increase the number of pandas in captivity.
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