Monday, February 2, 2015

Giant Panda Sanctuary

Watching the giant pandas in their natural habitat in China is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember. Visiting them at the research base in Chengdu, China is probably the closest I'll get. The facility houses about 83 giant pandas as well as a number of red pandas. 

I stayed at a hotel in the Chengdu downtown area and took a taxi to the giant panda research facility. The cost each way was just under 50 yuan (about $7-$8 USD) and took approximately 30 minutes. The entrance fee at present is 58 yuan (about $10 USD).  

It's recommended to get there before their feeding time of 9-10am when the pandas are the most active. I was feeling a little under the weather most likely due to something I ate, so I arrived around 11am. The red pandas were either eating or sleeping high up in the trees. While some of the pandas were sleeping, many were still eating or walking around so I didn't miss everything by arriving later. 

 There is a trolley that will drive you around the facility and costs 10 yuan (about $1.50 USD). I walked most of the way on my own. Then I paid to have the trolley drive me around to a few places at the back of the property because it was cold and I was tired from trekking all over Xi'an the week prior. 

I loved my visit and I could have stayed all day watching the giant pandas. In January it's still fairly cold in Chengdu and everything is outdoors. My total visit was roughly four hours. 

Check out the short clip I shot below.



  1. When my son was a youngster I took him to the Cincinatti, Ohio zoo when they had Panda's visiting from China. They were amazing. I just finished Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Thanks so much!! You can see my review at

    1. I've visited other zoos with pandas and each time they were asleep far from the tourists. I'm so glad your experience was much better than mine has been. At least I finally got to see them up close!