How To See Giant Panda's In China
If you’re heading to China, chances are you’ll want to see these incredibly cute creatures. Instead of seeing them in a place such as Beijing zoo, where the Pandas are notoriously mistreated, its well worth catching an overnight train or two hour flight to the city of Chengdu in the centre of the country. Chengdu has so much to offer and if you have more than a day here check out my two day itinerary here for more ideas of what to do in the city.
The Sichuan region is one of the only places on Earth where the giant pandas are naturally found. Here at the breeding centre, you’ll find around red pandas, giant pandas, and the offspring of both. During the summer, the opening hours of the centre are 7.30am-6pm. To get the best experience, and to see the pandas outside of their glass enclosures, you have to get there as early as possible. Summers in China get very VERY hot, and the pandas start to overheat and are therefore put inside from about 11am onwards, after which, you can only view them through glass which really isn’t the same.
Getting to the park is pretty easy and theres no need to pay for an expensive taxi or go on a guided tour to visit here. The best way is to catch the tube to ‘Panda Avenue’ station (runs from 6am onwards) and then catch the 198 or 198A bus for about 5 minutes that takes you directly to the ticket booth entrance.
The park itself is huge and to work your way from one end to the other involves a lot of uphill climbing. There are numerous enclosures containing both giant pandas and red pandas, there is also three nurseries on site. One of them is for the junior pandas which age from about 6 months to two years old. They’re generally with their mothers and any other siblings born in the same litter. This was the best part of the centre for me, watching the junior pandas jump all over their mother and slide on the huge blocks of ice in their encloses was hilarious.
Next, is the baby pandas nursery. Here you’ll find the pandas that are no older than a few weeks. The queues to see the baby are the longest and you only get to view them for a few seconds as the guard is moving everyone through to keep the line moving. If you want to see the baby, I’d recommend getting to this part of the centre first, before the queues form. There’s also a huge lake named ’Swan Lake’ containing numerous café’s for when you need a break from the crowds.
The centre is most famous for its giant pandas, however it also houses hundreds of red pandas! These enclosures tend to be a lot quieter than the the giant panda ones and make for a great escape from the crowds.
If your legs get tired while walking round the park, theres a hop-on-hop-off style shuttle bus that runs through the park, costing 10 CNY. However, queues again can run into the hours from about 11am onwards.
Hopefully if you've got to the park early enough to beat the crowds, you'll have finished by about midday. When you leave the park you can get back to the city by catching the 198(A) back to the metro station or alternatively you could jump on one of the tour busses outside that will take you to see the Leshan Buddha which is the largest in the world!