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China's Top Places to See Giant Pandas

The best places to see giant pandas are, of course, in Chengdu, hometown of Giant Pandas. But there are zoos in other China cities where you can see giant pandas if you can’t get to Chengdu. Below are the top places to see giant pandas in China.

top places to see giant panda map

1. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center — Most Popular

Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu
  • Location: Chengdu city outskirts, 40 minutes by car, easily accessible
  • Size: about 50 pandas
  • Activities: seeing pandas, watching panda breeding movies
  • Time needed: half a day
  • Best for: tourists who have limited time, and are only interested in seeing or holding pandas

Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base is located in the northern suburbs of Chengdu City. It is fully equipped for giant panda breeding, with a baby panda house, several enclosures for adult pandas and cubs, health stations, a giant panda museum, and a laboratory. Thousands of bamboo plants are harvested there to feed the pandas.

The base aims to create an approximation of the panda's wild living environment, and to train the pandas to adapt to wild living, and then releases them into the wild for the continuation and preservation of this charming and endangered species. It also offers volunteer programs so that participants can learn more about and look after the giant pandas.

Recommended Tour

5-Day Giant Panda, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Mount Emei Tour: You will see the cute pandas, the romantic lanes in Chengdu, the Giant Buddha cut during the Tang Dynasty, and Mount Emei.

1-Day Panda Wonderland Tour from Chengdu: You can meet the cuddly pandas in a Panda Breeding and Research Center.

2. Beijing Zoo — Easiest Access, But Most Crowded

Giant panda in Beijing Zoo
  • Location: Beijing City
  • Activities: Seeing pandas only
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Best for: travelers who can’t make it to Chengdu

Beijing Zoo is the largest zoo in China with the largest number of animal species and is one of the best zoos in the world. It was the first zoo to open in China. There is a panda house in the zoo, which is one of the most popular enclosures there.

For those who can make their trip to Chengdu, Beijing Zoo is a good alternative for seeing pandas. Be warned that the panda house in Beijing Zoo is always fully-packed. Our guide knows how to escape the crowds.

Recommended Tour

Most popular tour: 9-Day China Family Classic Tour - Beijing, Shanghai and Xian

3.Bifengxia Giant Panda Base — have the most pandas

  • Location: Ya’an Prefecture, 150 km (93mi) or 3 hours’ drive from Chengdu
  • Size: about 80 pandas
  • Activities: seeing pandas, and panda keeper programs
  • Best for: people who want to take part in the volunteer program (taking care of pandas)
  • Time needed: 2 days

Bifengxia Panda Base is the largest giant panda base in the world. It offers the best giant panda volunteer programs, which allow close contact with the giant pandas.

Recommended Tour

Bifengxia Panda Volunteer Experience: Meet the lovely pandas in the Panda Breeding and Research Center. Climb up to the largest Buddha statue in the world in Leshan

4.Dujiangyan Giant Panda Valley — best panda volunteer program

Feeding Giant panda, Bifengxia
  • Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) or 1½ hours from Chengdu
  • Size: 10 pandas
  • Activities: panda viewing, holding pandas, and panda keeper program
  • Suitable for: those who want a less-crowded panda volunteer program
  • Time needed: 1 day

Dujiangyan Giant Panda Valley is a new panda center, established in 2014. It offers the same activities as Bifengxia Panda Base. However, it is quieter and sees less travelers than Bifengxia Panda Center, so volunteers have more time and chances to get close to the pandas.

Recommended Tour

Panda Keeper and Chengdu Highlights Tour: Join a Panda Keeper Program to take care of pandas. Tour most highlights of Chengdu.

5. Ocean Park in Hong Kong

  • Location: Hong Kong City

Ocean Park is a large ocean theme park and one of several large amusement parks in Hong Kong. You can see hundreds of kinds of marine fishes.
There are four giant pandas in Ocean Park: An An, Jia Jia (the world's oldest living panda, who will be 36 on August 10th 2014), Le Le and Ying Ying. Le Le and Ying Ying are presents from China's central government to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.

Other China Zoos with Pandas

There are other zoos in China’s major tourist cities where you can see pandas, such as Chongqing, Guilin, Guangzhou, and Shanghai.

giant pandas in zoos in China

Top Places to See Giant Pandas Summary Table

Place

Location

Access

Pandas

Activities

Visit

Crowds?

Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center

Chengdu City

Very easy

50

Seeing pandas

½ day

Very crowded

Bifengxia Panda Base

Ya’an — 3 hours from Chengdu

Hard

80

volunteer program

2 days

Quiet

Doujiangyan Panda Valley

Dujiangyan — 1½ hours from Chengdu

Easy

10

volunteer program, holding pandas

1 day

Quiet

Beijing Zoo

Beijing

Very easy

8

Seeing pandas

2 hours

Over Crowded

Ocean Park

Hong Kong

Very easy

4

Seeing pandas

2 hours

Very crowded

China Highlights’ Most Popular Giant Panda Tours

The following giant panda tours are most popular among our customers. We can also tailor-make a tour for you to see pandas according to your particular requirements.

Not interested in the above tours? You can tailor-make your own unique tour by telling us your interests and requirements. We will help you design a perfect trip.