Panda Keeper and Chengdu Highlights Tour

CD-7: 4-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program and Chengdu Highlights Tour
From: $599
Panda Photography Nature Culture

Join an International Internship Program or Panda Keeper Program to have an opportunity to get to know more about pandas and take care of them. This special experience is only available in Chengdu. You probably won't escape the cleaning duties in the enclosure or collecting and weighing the panda poop. All this and more!

Note: Dujiangyan Panda Base has reopened the volunteer program and the program to take photos holding a panda since March, 2015. There is a daily quota of 20 volunteers for the Panda Keeper Program, so please inquire and confirm at least two weeks in advance and we can secure 90% of booking.


  • Join a Panda Keeper Program to take care of pandas
  • Glimpse Chengdu from olden times at the actual archeological dig site of Jinsha Museum
  • Wander in the old districts of Jinli Street for trinkets and local snacks

What's Included

  • Entrance to scenic spots listed in the itinerary
  • Panda Keeper Program fee at Dujiangyan Panda Base
  • Guiding by experienced English-speaking tour guide
  • Private transfers between the airport, attractions, and hotel
  • Lunches mentioned in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast

Price Per Person in US Dollars

Nov.1 - Mar.31 Deluxe Class Superior Class
2-5 People $729 $599
6-9 People $589 $459
Apr.1 - Oct.31
2-5 People $769 $639
6-9 People $629 $499

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Chengdu Arrival

Your private guide will be on time and waiting in arrivals. A comfortable private car (non-smoking) and experienced driver will transfer you to the hotel.

Tianfu Sunshine Hotel Chengdu (superior class)/Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (deluxe class).

Day 2Jinsha Site Museum, Wenshu Monastery, Wangjiang Park, and Jinli Street
Jinli Old Street

This morning you will visit the Jinsha Site Museum to travel back in time to ancient Chengdu. Located in northwestern urban Chengdu, the Jinsha Site Museum has been hailed as one of the major archaeological discoveries in China in recent years, where the 3,000-year old Sun and Immortal Bird (the symbol of Chengdu) was discovered. Then pay a short visit to Wenshu Monastery, an oasis of peace in the city.

After lunch, you will be escorted to the next destination. Wangjiang Park is where the former residence of the famous female poet Xue Tao (768–831) was located. There you will visit the romantic poet's tomb, appreciate the ancient Sichuan-style architectures, and take a deep breath in the verdant bamboo forest, where there are more than 100 species of bamboo.

You will feel Chengdu's relaxation in Jinli Street, a commercial street with a history of over 2,000 years. In this 550-meter street, you will feast on numerous Sichuan-style snacks, bargain for stylish local crafts, and imagine the bustling of the past with the rows of ancient-styled buildings.

Tianfu Sunshine Hotel Chengdu (superior class)/Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (deluxe class)

Day 3One-Day Giant Panda Keeper Program at Dujiangyan Panda Base
Panda Keeper Program

It takes about 90 minutes to drive from your hotel to Dujiangyan Panda Base. On this day, you will start early and arrive before 8:30am, when the morning program begins.

During the program, you will learn more about this endangered species, and help take care of them under the guidance of the staff. Activities may include cleaning the enclosure, weighing and cleaning bamboo, making panda cakes, feeding the pandas, watching a panda movie, and attending a panda lecture. At the end of the program you will receive a panda keeper certificate.

Lunch will be arranged at the canteen of Dujiangyan Panda Base. Due to the limited choices of restaurants, if you don't want to eat the meal at canteen, we can escort you to a simple local restaurant run by farmers near Dujiangyan Panda Base. You can order and pay for the meal at your own expense.

After the program, drive back to your hotel in Chengdu at around 5pm.


1. The program is subject to change without notice and is totally dependent on the program of the day at Dujiangyan Panda Base. We cannot guarantee that the programs listed above will all be provided. We will make our best efforts to ensure your day is special. At present, no health check is needed.

2. There is no restriction to the age of volunteers, but we do not recommend this program to children under 6 years old. Even though the pandas look harmless and cuddly, they are still bears. Parents please take care and protect the children from direct touch with the pandas. If your children are between 2-5 years old and are too young to work for pandas, you can still take them with you during the program. Your guide will help take care of them.

Tianfu Sunshine Hotel Chengdu (superior class)/Sofitel Chengdu Taihe (deluxe class)

Day 4Chengdu Departure

After breakfast at the hotel, your private guide and driver will escort you to the airport in time and make sure everything goes smoothly before saying goodbye.

Trip Notes

1. Tailoring Your Tour

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest, and schedule:
If you would like to book the hotels on your own, we can remove the hotel cost from quotation.
If one-day program is not long enough for you, we can extend the program to 2 days. You can stay overnight in Dujiangyan city after the first day's program. The arrangements for the 2 days are similar.
Please inform your travel advisor about your preference.

2. Panda Keeper Program

As the first tour company in China to operate the program, China Highlights has developed stable relationship with the Dujiangyan Panda Base. Sometimes the program is subject to change due to force majeure. Usually we are able to get the first-hand information that is very helpful for your tour arrangement. Your early booking (at least two weeks before departure) is also useful to guarantee the availability of the program. Sometimes the activities listed in the description will be adjusted according to health condition of the pandas. Hope customers can understand this.

If your time is limited, you can only join the activities in the morning. The price is the same.

3. Taking Photos with Panda

Photo with Panda

It costs as much as CNY100,000 (US$16,260) to raise one panda each month. A donation program that allows you to take pictures with a panda next to you for about one minute is not included in the Panda Keeper Program. It is only available in Dujiangyan Panda Base and the donation amount is CNY1,800 per person [July 2015].

Only 30 tourists are allowed to take close-up photos with pandas each day. If you would like to take part in this donation program, please tell your travel advisor in advance because we have to book it at least one week in advance. This program is subject to the availability of pandas on that day. Please take enough CNY cash, as payment by a non-Chinese credit card is not accepted there.

Please note the photo program is totally depends on the availability of the pandas on that day. We will double check on the booking one day in advance and inform you as soon as there is any unexpected change.

4. Recommended Option

If you don't want to join a panda keeper program, and only want to hold a panda for photos, the tour on Day 3 takes about 5 hours. Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, 30 minutes away by car, is recommended to enrich your day with some cultural elements. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it has been irrigating the whole Chengdu Basin for well over 2,000 years.

8:30am: Collection from your hotel in Chengdu.
10:00am: Arrive at the Panda Base in Dujiangyan and tour around it.
11:00am: Hold a panda for some photos. CNY1,800 is required. Please take enough Chinese cash.
11:30am: Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:30pm: Arrive at Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and start the tour there.
4:00pm: Finish the tour and transfer back to Chengdu.
5:30pm: Arrive at your hotel in Chengdu.

Feel free to tell us your requirements and interests, and we will be happy to help you arrange a trip using our professional knowledge and experience.

5. Booking Procedure:

Step 1: Submit your name, email address and traveling dates for the tour.
Step 2: The Volunteer Program and option to hold a panda for some photos have a limited daily quota. You can choose to make payment via PayPal and your request will be listed as our top priority. We guarantee a 100% refund if you are not satisfied.
Step 3: Receive a reply within 24 hours. The tour will be tailor-made to meet your requirements and the booking confirmed.
Step 4: Your guide will call you at the hotel one day before departure or leave a message to double check the collection time with you.
Step 5: Enjoy the tour with panda!

6. Payment Methods:

We now offer three payment methods: PayPal, credit card authorization via fax, and wire transfer. PayPal is recommended for its safety and efficiency. You can pay with USA dollars, Australian dollars, European dollars, and British pounds directly with your credit card or debit card if you do not have a PayPal account.

7. Cancellation Policy:

In the event of cancellation, we will refund any payment made to China Highlights (unless any cancellation fee is applicable) within 14 days of our receipt of your written cancellation request. Visit here for more details.

8. Gratuities to Guide or Driver

Tips to the guide and driver are not included. If you are satisfied with their service, our recommendation for tipping would be:
1 person in the group: CNY150–200
2 people in a group: CNY100/person
3-5 people in a group: CNY50-70/person
6-9 people in a group: CNY40-50/person
≥10 people in a group: CNY20-30/person.
The driver would be half the amount, and separate tips given to each is preferred.

9. Travel Insurance:

Travel insurance is not included. We carefully selected some insurance providers from your region that give you the best value for money. Click here to go to the travel insurance page.