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“Where Else Can You Hold a Baby Panda?”

Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (Xiongmao Jidi)
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Chengdu Private Day Tour: Pandas, Kuanzhai Ancient Street, and Jinli Ancient...
Ranked #1 of 340 things to do in Chengdu
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
677 reviews
268 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,858 helpful votes
“Where Else Can You Hold a Baby Panda?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2009

The Panda base is the one must-see attraction in Chengdu. There doesn't seem to be a lot of reason to go to the further panda bases, when you can see up to 80 pandas here, hold baby pandas to get your photo taken with them, learn all about the pandas, etc. It costs 58 RMB for admission (about $8.50), and is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day.

The base is located just outside Chengdu, it was 30 RMB for the taxi from our hotel - watch out because our hotel concierge tried to first sell us a private driver for 700 RMB, then when we asked for a taxi, he conspired with the taxi driver to first say they could only do round-trip taxi because there were no taxis at the panda base, then after I told him to forget it, they said it would be 80 RMB one-way. I knew that it was closer to the hotel than the airport was, and we paid only 43 RMB from the airport, so I knew they were trying to scam us - not unusual for hotel concierges in China. Took about 30 minutes.

Make sure to get there very early because that is when the pandas are active - after about 10:00 AM, they're just sleeping. The feeding is at 9:00 AM, the babies are released at 8:30 AM for a pre-breakfast playtime. You can watch them frolic with each other, very entertaining. After breakfast (no bamboo with the babies, just something in a bowl, as they are young), you can have your photo taken with a baby panda on your lap for a whopping 1000 RMB ($145.00). You can also have one taken with a red panda for a much more reasonable 100 RMB ($14.50). This is all cash-only, of course, so bring it with you - there are no ATMs on site.

You can walk over to the nursery and see the infant pandas sleeping in the incubators, and see the adult pandas mostly being lazy. The youngsters had lots of energy, and played with each other and put on quite a funny show for us. It is a pretty good walk up to the baby pandas, but there are golf carts just inside the gate that cost only 10 RMB to take you up there - well worth it, as every minute you spend walking is a minute you could be with the pandas.

The photo op is of course a total rip, but where else can you sit a baby panda on your lap and take photos and video with it? They are so soft and cuddly! We probably sat for about 2-3 minutes as we took several photos and one of the staff members shot a video with our video camera too. You wear protective clothing, so no worries about that. The panda museum onsite is interesting, and only takes about 15 minutes to walk through. There is a panda cinema that plays a movie about the pandas - you can also see one in the coffee shop over a beer or espresso. There are tour guides at the front entrance to hire, I'm not sure if they speak English or not. Wear mostquito repellent, as in some areas, and on some days there can be quite a few.

Taxis are a piece of cake to get outside to take you back to your hotel, despite what our hotel concierge tried to say. We had no problem at all, there were like 10 taxis lined up waiting to take people.

This is a great, though super expensive, experience. You won't forget the day you sat with a baby panda on your lap.

102 Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
82 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Great animal park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 17, 2009

We arrived around 10am on August 14. We tried to get there at 8:30 but our car from the hotel broke down and we had to find a cab to take us from the congested city. That was an adventure by itself. We did have the Panda Card (from the hotel desk for free... Waived the 1 RMB charge for us) so entry was free. It was already very hot and the pandas were not very active. Beware, there are two nurseries and the one in the back (#20) is empty. The two other back buildings (#18/19) each contained two pandas and no one was back there. We had them to ourselves. It's a long uphill hike to the back but it was worth it. The nursery around the middle (#10) was were you can hold a cub and see the adolescent pandas. It's a great area. The base is well maintained and signed in english. It is a must see for visitors to Chengdu.

5 Thank cleves66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“Panda Keeper Internship Program”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2009

I joined the Panda Keeper program at Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. It was one of the best experiences!

That day it was just 2 of us. We were greeted at the office at 8:30am by a lovely girl, who took us around the whole campus all day (until 3-4 pm) and educated us on various interesting panda-related facts.

We prepared apples, milk and nutrition and got to feed them to the pandas. The official panda keeper was very nice but very cautious. We couldn't be too close to the gate, or touch the pandas unless they were occupied with food. But of course we also did some keeper work, such as cleaning and mopping the cages and enclosure, pick up bamboos, but that was hardly called “work”! We also showered the pandas with cold water to cool them down from the blazing summer heat.

The pandas were surprisingly responsive to the panda keeper’s commands. One panda was heading toward a smaller gate when the panda keeper called its name and told him to come back. The panda stopped at its track and wobbly backed up, turned around to look and walked directly to the keeper.

I contacted the research center directly and they quoted 600 RMB = $88 USD for a day. You can also sign up for a 3-day program for 2000 RMB = $293 USD, which includes working as a panda keeper, a nutritionist and a behavioral researcher.

29 Thank lprisr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Brilliant Day”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2009

Visiting the pandas was definitley one of the highlights on our trip in China. We had to get to the centre pretty early as this is the best time to go as this is when the pandas are most active and when they feed them. First we saw the young adult pandas feeding and then we were lucky that there were some baby pandas there too. They are so funny to watch just like little children, running around, exploring and getting up to mischief, you could watch them for hours. We also got to see some red pandas as well, their much smaller than normal pandas and are sort of like racoons/pandas!

Some of our group also got to hold a baby panda for 1000Y, or you can touch a big one for 400Y, or a red panda for 100Y. Overall it was a great day, beauitful location to visit these awesome creatures. The panda information video about the centre is also intersting to learn more about the centre and the pandas in general.

Dont forget the mosi spray!

5 Thank Lexxuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Don't miss it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2009

The research base is a great place to visit - even if you are not mad about pandas - just to enjoy its peaceful greenery and get away from the chaos of downtown Chengdu.

Although when we visited (late June, early July) the pandas are largely indoors or sleeping during the heat of the day, you can get to see them up close at feeding time at about 9 in the morning and 4.30 in the afternoon. There are plenty of giant pandas to view as well as red pandas. The enclosures are zoo-like but pleasant, with plenty of trees and greenery. There is a museum and you can visit various places of interest, where there is information on pandas in passable "Chinglish". The nursery area was closed to visitors as the base is being expanded and renovated.

If you get yourself a Panda Card, you can get in free. The cards cost only 1RMB and give you free entrance to a number of museums etc. We bought ours from a shop near our hostel in the city centre. You need your passport when you buy your card and when you present it. You also have to activate your card by calling the number on it.

My daughter got to hold a baby panda for five minutes or so. It was expensive at 1000RMB but well worth it. The staff were friendly and helpful and didn't hurry her. For a smaller fee, you can also have your photo taken with an older panda but this is a very quick thing, done in the enclosure, with an audience looking on, whereas my daughter got to hold her panda in private.

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

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