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“4 hours of bliss”

Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (Xiongmao Jidi)
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$138.00*
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Private Day Trip: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and Leshan...
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$98.00*
and up
Chengdu Private Day Tour: Pandas, Kuanzhai Ancient Street, and Jinli Ancient...
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$116.00*
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Private Day of Giant Panda Breeding Center and Local Life Experience Tour
Ranked #1 of 346 things to do in Chengdu
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
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Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed November 7, 2012

Another way to enjoy the Panda Base is to become a volunteer for the day. My son and I stayed at Lazybones Hostel which arranges these tours for 700rmb pax including transport to (not return) the pandas.
Our October trip was awesome, as they often have up to a dozen people volunteer but on this occasion we were the only ones - so got rather special treatment. The typical volunteer's day runs for up to 7 hours (including a 2 hour lunch break to wander around at your liesure).
We started off inside the "staff only" area of one of the large areas where adults are kept. The facility itself was exceptionally clean inside and our first task was to assist prepare apples and bamboo to feed to the pandas. I can tell you the apples were better than the ones I bought at the markets the day before to eat myself at lunch. In all we fed 6 separate pandas by hand - using a bamboo pole, for safety - spending around 2 hours doing so. I took several hundred photos and about 10 minutes of video and am still trying to pick my favourite moments - just too many.
We saw first hand the unique personalities of the pandas - one was very naughty and kept trying to steal the bamboo pole: only then did I realise how incredibly powerful these creatures really were, belying their cute-faced cuddliness. Others were very gentle, and some just so playful you could not wipe the smile off your face while watching them.
One of the "volunteer" duties involved cleaning out a panda cage. Not as daunting as it might seem as the pandas eat the freshest food and their ecrement was not at all offensive. Perhaps not as nice as holding a panda for a picture, but nevertheless an experience you won't forget!
Pandas at Chendu are certainly spoilt, as their last meals were of "panda cake". This was fed immediately after it was baked, and I even got to taste some! Can't say it was going to find its way onto a menu anywhere, but it was certainly another aspect of the visit that made the whole experience absolutely awesome.
We finished off with visits to the baby panda breeding areas, and red panda enclosures, again entering several areas that were reserved only for staff. In other words, we got as close to pandas as staff did - usually about a metre away.
Because we were the only 2 volunteers our day ended earlier than usual, although we did more than most larger groups as our Panda Base professional guide never had to divide her attention amongst others.
A few tips if you do the volunteer day. Lunch is not free and you will be guided to a place which is reasonable, however 100 metres away you can get other meal options. You will have time to check out the options as the typical break is 2 hours. The Panda Base is massive and you can easily spend another few hours there visiting other places - so if you have a fine day you should just cruise around like a true tourist. Finally, getting a cab back can be arduous as so many touts are ready to rip you off. Find out a fair return price beforehand from your hotel and negotiate this if you are unable to get a legitimate cab who runs on the meter.

10  Thank rederob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,395 - 3,399 of 5,312 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2012

I'd seen pandas before in Ocean Park, Hong Kong and was underwhelmed. This time it was brilliant. You start off with a film about the tricky mating process, which is hilarious, then go to an enclosure of 7 adorable adolescents and mum. They are kept in fantastic surroundings and seem to be worshipped by their keepers.The highlight for me were the two tiny creatures in an incubator, only months old. Beautiful. The gift shops sell fantastic souvenirs, and the coffee shop is very civilised!

Thank grecoLiverpool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Such a wonderful place, and needless to say the pandas are unbelievably cute. Go early and pay the money to hold one of them - I promise you, the experience is worth it!! You can tell how much they care for the pandas here, it's really great to see.

Thank Sapna66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

As part of our tour we chose to make a detour to Chengdu just to see the pandas. We were not disappointed and I think this is really a must see for any animal lovers out there.

From what we could see, the centre really takes excellent care of the pandas, who are extremely spoilt! The centre is very large, clean and well kept. We headed out early and were rewarded with smaller crowds. There are many pandas, of varying ages and sizes, including babies and it was nice to see them out in the open, rather than behind bars which can often be the case with these places.

Go see the pandas, I'm sure you will love them!

2  Thank VonGregson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Our tour guide said it would be possible to hold a panda if a 'charitable donation' were made, but numbers would be limited to prevent the pandas from being exploited. We thought since it was a charity it was worth it and paid for our two teenage daughters and to see the joy on their faces was worth every Yuan!

Thank Hampshiretraveller59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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