GIANT PANDA BREEDING RESEARCH BASE
Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Within China’s southern province of Sichuan, if you find yourself in the city of Chengdu, it is obligatory that you pay a visit to the Panda Base, lest you be punished by the hand of Destiny! Ok that’s not true but who would ever willingly give up the chance to see the cutie Giant Pandas up close, a species that is almost on the verge of extinction?
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a meager 10 kms from the middle of town. You can easily get there through public buses or a combination of metro and bus. Or just spend an extra penny and take a metered cab that’ll cost around RMB40. The best time to go is in the mornings and catch these furry sweethearts while they indulge in breakfast and are generally most active. Later on, the Pandas just lay about digesting and generally being lazy. Entrance fee is RMB58 and like a lot of other attractions, children under 4 ft are admitted free.
Utilizing an area of almost 100 acres, the Panda Base has vast open areas that are imitations of the natural environments of Giant Pandas and other rare species of the region. This area also provides the food supply and ideal mating and rearing conditions for the animals under care there. Facilities like training centers, medical station, fodder room, research laboratories and sleeping quarters are also on site. For visitors, the best lure is the Giant Pandas at various stages of their life, from adults to new-born cubs. But they are additionally rewarded by sights of other rare animals such as the Red Pandas, Peacocks, Butterflies, Cranes, etc. as well. The base also houses the world’s only museum dedicated solely to the Giant Panda and has fascinating insights in to the endangered species and the steps being taken to remedy this.
Since these animals are a national treasure, the local animal lovers also flock here to get closer to them. Expect huge crowds on holidays and weekends. Dress comfortably to be able to explore the huge area of the base (some people prefer to get a map at the tourist information booth due to the sheer vastness of the area) and bring plenty of water to keep hydrated. Facility of a sightseeing bus is also provided in the base, which you can avail for RMB10 from 07:30 to 18:00 i.e. during base hours in the summers. From Nov-Mar the bus timings are 08:00 to 17:30.
The base offers a really unique experience of holding a young panda and taking pictures with it for RMB2,000. But this is by reservation only through email prior to visiting and payment is cash only. However, the service remains suspended in the 2nd quarter of 2019 due to an epidemic that was detected in Xi’an. You should inquire before you plan to go.
And of course, one of the best pieces of advice is to make sure you go with plenty of camera memory space and battery!