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The Top 4 Places to See Giant Pandas in China

The best places to see giant pandas are, of course, in Chengdu, the hometown of giant pandas. There are four panda reserves in Chengdu. Choose from them according to what you want to see and do.

Our panda specialists frequently visit the reserves to hone their knowledge, and they can each give you an insider’s recommendation and tailor a panda trip that’s right for you.

giant panda base map

1. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center — See Lots of Pandas Easily

Giant Panda Breeding Center in ChengduYou can see many giant pandas at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center.
  • Pandas: about 50
  • Time needed: half a day
  • Activities: seeing pandas, especially cubs, watching panda breeding movies
  • Best for: tourists who have limited time, and are only interested in seeing pandas
  • Location: Chengdu city outskirts, 40 minutes by car, easily accessible

Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base is the most easily accessible panda base in China. If you have limited time, this base is good for getting close to the giant pandas. Traveling with a private guide is helpful to avoid the crowds.

You are likely to see many giant pandas of various ages, including baby pandasA visit to the museum will help you have a better understanding of this animal.

Other endangered wildlife, such as red pandas, swans, and peacocks, will enrich your trip.

2-Day Giant Panda and Giant Buddha TourSay hello to the giant pandas in the Panda Breeding and Research Center, and be amazed at the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world in Leshan.

2. Dujiangyan Panda Base — Handiest Volunteer Programs for Panda Fans

Dujiangyan Panda BaseMaking cakes for giant pandas in Dujiangyan Panda Base.
  • Pandas: about 20
  • Time needed: 1 day
  • Activities: panda viewing,  panda keeper program
  • Suitable for: those who want to experience panda volunteer program
  • Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) or 1½ hours from Chengdu

If you want to join a 1-day panda keeper programDujiangyan Panda Baseis a great option.

In the volunteer program, you can see pandas close up, help clean the panda enclosures, make food for them, and feed the pandas. Only 60 people per day can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We, as the first tour operator to arrange group tours for the Panda Keeper Program at Dujiangyan, have visited the base extensively and know how to maximize your opportunity to get close to the pandas.

1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper TourGet close to lovely pandas by making a cake to feed them, and helping to clean their enclosures.

3. Wolong Panda Center — Habitat Experience for Super Panda Fans

Wolong Panda CenterThe pandas enjoy their life in Wolong Panda Center.
  • Pandas: about 30
  • Time needed: 2 days
  • Activities: seeing pandas, taking care of pandas
  • Best for: people who want to take part in the volunteer program (taking care of pandas) and see the wild habitat of pandas
  • Location: southwest Wenchuan County, 121 km (75 mi) west of Chengdu

Wolong National Nature Reserve is considered to be the real hometown of wild pandas. It is a fairly new base, which reopened in 2016 after it was damaged by an earthquake in 2008.

The new Wolong Panda Research Center was opened to the public in May 2016 and China Highlights was the first tour company to inspect it. You will have a chance to be panda’s private guest and explore panda’s nightlife without tourists and noise in the brand new center.

  • Recommended tours: 4-day Wolong in-depth Panda Tour — Explore panda’s nightlife without tourists and noise in the brand new center.

4. Bifengxia Giant Panda Base — Longer, Less-Busy Programs for Panda Devotees

Bifengxia Panda Base
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base
  • Pandas: about 20
  • Time needed: 2 days or more
  • Activities: seeing pandas, taking care of pandas
  • Best for: aficionados who want to take part in a volunteer program (taking care of pandas)
  • Location: Ya’an City, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Chengdu

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is an option if you want to see pandas in a less crowded environment due to fewer visitors. This option means you’ll have a longer drive and it’s more expensive.

It is ideally suited to those who want to take part in a panda keeper program that lasts for 2 days or more.

Your trip can be enriched with a beautiful walk along the gorge, which has lots of water, waterfalls, hanging coffins, and green vegetation.

A Summary of the Top Places to See Giant Pandas

Place Location Access Pandas Activities Visit Crowds?
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center Chengdu City Very easy 50 Seeing pandas ½ day Very crowded
Dujiangyan Panda Base Dujiangyan — 1½ hours from Chengdu Easy 20 Volunteer program 1 day Quiet
Wolong Panda Center Wenchuan county — 3 hours from Chengdu Hard 30 Volunteer program, hiking in panda habitat 2 days Quiet
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base Ya’an — 3 hours from Chengdu Hard 20 Volunteer program 2 days or more Quiet

City Zoos with Pandas

For those who can’t make a trip to Chengdu, the zoos in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Hong Kong offer opportunities to have a quick look at the adorable giant pandas.

The zoos are easy to access but are always fully-packed. Our guides know how to help you avoid the worst of the crowding.

Get Expert Help Finding the Best Panda Experience for You

Get close to giant pandas in China
Get close to giant pandas in China.

Our specialists have visited the panda bases many times. With extensive first-hand knowledge, they can help you plan your trip to avoid the crowds and find the most suitable places to see giant pandas.

Here are some sample itineraries, for inspiration:

  • 1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour: Join the Panda Keeper Program.
  • 4-Day Wolong In-Depth Panda Tour: Be a panda keeper and hike in the habitat of wild pandas.
  • 13-Day Beijing – Xi’an – Chengdu –Yangtze Cruise – Shanghai Private Tou : Enjoy the giant highlights of China: the Great Wall, the First Emperor’s legacy, pandas, dams, and skyscrapers.

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