The Panda Research Base is a panda breeding and research center that is located in the northeastern suburbs of Chengdu, about 30 minutes from the city center. It is open to the public and one of the highlights of a visit to Chengdu.
The facility actually breeds two different kinds of pandas: giant pandas (the black and white ones that are famous) and red pandas, which are much smaller and less well-known. The animals are housed in a number of open areas with trees and man-made structures that they can climb. These areas are fenced in, but open to tourists and accessible by paved footpaths. On very hot days, the animals are moved indoors to protect them from the heat. The footpaths are laid out such that you get numerous opportunities to see the pandas as you walk around the grounds. For the best viewing, arrive when the facility opens up to the public at 8AM. The pandas are active in the morning, but then get sluggish and sleepy after they have eaten a lot of bamboo during the day.
There is also a museum on the grounds as well as an education center with a series of informational exhibits about the pandas and China's efforts to save them. In addition, you can see the nursery where baby pandas are cared for. Unfortunately, there are only a few months per year when babies are visible, since the mothers all tend to give birth during the same time of the year.
There are also three restaurants (2 Chinese and 1 Western) on the grounds, as well as a gift shop.
Admission was 58 RMB (6.3 RMB per 1 US$) when we were there. Small children are half price. If you have plenty of cash, you can get your picture taken holding a panda cub. However, it will cost you over 1000 RMB (6.3 RMB to the US$ as of July 2012).
[photos to come]
Walking around the Panda Research grounds we noticed a stone monument acknowledging Jackie Chan for his financial support of the Panda Research. He was made the Giant Panda Ambassador.
Jackie Chan made a 1 million yuan donation.
Included in our 20 day tour was a visit to the Panda Research Institute. We had several hours walking around the gardens and observing the Giant Pandas and occasionally seeing a mother with her baby. I think the babies are on the smallish side when born. The baby Pandas we saw were fairly large.
I was impressed with the facilities provided for the Pandas, plenty of space and large trees and logs provided for the pandas to enjoy themselves as you can see from my photos.
It was easy to view the Pandas, very often they were about 10 metres from the tourists. Several years earlier we had visited Guangzhou and our tour included a visit to see 2 pandas. They slept whilst we tried to find them. At Chengdu there are many Pandas spread throughout the park. We had no problem finding them, some were resting/ sleeping in unusual positions, others were looking after yound ones.
It was easy to take good Panda photos.
Photo holding panda cub = 1000 rmb
Photo holding adult panda = 500 rmb - this option not offered - more money holding a cub!
Panda Volunteer 1 day program – 600 RMB p/p. Spend the entire day caring for the Pandas, getting their food ready, cleaning their cage/environment, possibly bathing them but not often.
Entry = 58 rmb
Guide = 100 rmb
From Chengdu Xinnanmen Bus Station: Take the Tour Bus Special Line No.902 to go directly to the Panda Base - cost is only 2 yuan per person 1 way trick or 4 yuan return!!
Visit the Panda Breeding Conservation Centre – go as early as possible as pandas most active then and less tour groups then!! You'll see them eat, play, eat, sit, eat and eat!!
(opens 7.30am) 10 km from city – allow ½ a day to explore
Sichuan province is home to pandas and a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is the easier way to get to see these adorable animals. Details useful to visitors including opening hours, location, entrance fee and alike are posted in the Research Base's website attached.
As pandas are "lazy" animals (because of their poor-nutritional bamboo diet their lifestyle is tailored to low energy consumption), it is recommended to visit the Research Base in the morning hours between 8:00 and 10:00, when they are supposed to be more active while feeding. I followed the advice and was able to see and take few snapshots of panda at lunch. Few photos are attached.
The Research Base is at easy reach from Chengdu's city center with a ~30-minute taxi drive. It is a very well organized Center easy to navigate and visit. Beside Giant Pandas (the animals usually referred to as simply "pandas"), you will also see red pandas, which yet are totally different animals more similar to a big reddish cat or a fox than to a Giant Panda.
You might expect to spend from a couple of hours to half a day in the Research Base. For those interested in sending postcards, there is a Post Office at the ground floor in the Museum building where you can buy postcards with panda images and post it immediately.
The Giant Panda Breeding Habitat in Chendu is tops when it comes to educational tourism. Although not in the wild, the complex has gone to great lengths to reproduce the pandas' natural environment while allowing access to visitors who wish to learn more about these gorgeous animals.
Of course, the habitat is not firstly about tourism. It is the research base for wildlife conservation throughout China and not only for the giant panda. Other species include the South China tiger, the red panda and the golden monkey. The research covers all aspects of the life of the animals from reproduction, birth, nutrition, etc. Advances have been made in the area of veterinary medicine.
The is also a strong focus on conservation education, regarding endangered species, conservation of habitits and most importantly the impact of humans on these areas.
The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Habitat was founded in 1987. The original 6 pandas were brought in from the wild and by 2007 the centre had recorded 110 births and the population had risen to 62.
The best time to see the pandas is in the morning before or during feeding or else you may find them asleep - the reason for their low reproductive rate.
The Giant Panda Research Breeding Base has a very informative visitor's centre and museum which showcases everything you need to know about pandas. We watched a film about them which was very good and educational and then saw some photo's, facts and info plus some artefacts including panda poo - just dried out bamboo. Ouch! There's also a shop where you can buy paper based items that are actually made from panda poo!
This place is the highlight and probably main reason for coming to Chengdu. The world famous Giant Panda Research Breeding Base is located about 10km north of the city and holds nearly 50 giant and lesser red pandas. The research centre specifically looks at breeding as pandas don't seem to 'get it on' with fellow pandas very well. The centre has been created in order to imitate the panda’s natural habitat in order that they might have the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. The Centre cares also for other rare and endangered wild animals. The necessary facilities for giant pandas include a fodder room, sleeping quarters and a medical station. Additionally there is a Giant Panda Museum together with research laboratories and a training centre. A great number of plants and as many as ten thousand clumps of bamboo and bushes have been cultivated to provide for the giant pandas diet and habitat. The centre is planning to expand by another 500 acres from its existing area of 92 acres on which to simulate a natural environment in order to prepare the giant pandas bred at the centre for release into the wild.
I visited the centre as part of a tour. I arrived at the research centre at 8.10am and walked in through the main gate and into a large area full of bamboo plantations as pandas live on nothing but the stuff. Then I saw my first panda, fast asleep on a wooden walkway/climbing thing in a large woody enclosure. These guys are some pampered pandas as they spend 16 hours a day eating bamboo and then the rest of the day asleep - good life! I then moved on to another enclosure but another small panda was again asleep. Another enclosure featured 4 youngsters tucking into bamboo for breakfast (well they have it for elevenses', lunch, tea, dinner and supper as well!), plus playing with each other. These guys were beyond cute and the Chinese can't get enough of them as they spy them from far off and then come rushing over. You can pay Y400 to touch and have your photo taken with a 1 year old adult panda. It costs some Y1200 to hold a baby one. You can see more photos of them in my travelogues plus I've also included some video.
Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu Chengdu
2 Reviews and 182 Opinions I stayed in Shangri-La Chengdu by accident as Kempinski had double booked me and there were no...
2 Reviews and 71 Opinions We spent a week at the Intercontinental over the Chinese New Year and it was well worth it. Great...
Jin Jiang Hotel Chengdu Chengdu
3 Reviews and 17 Opinions 20 years ago when I stayed here it was the best place to stay in Chengdu! So if you want to lash out...