Dujiangyan Panda Base — Panda Keeper Program

giant pandas A panda mother and her cute cub

China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), Dujiangyan Base (中国大熊猫保护研究中心都江堰基地) is a brand new giant panda breeding base in Chengdu.

  • Chinese: 都江堰熊猫基地 Dūjiāngyàn Xióngmāo Jīdì /doo-jyang-yen sshyong-maoww jee-dee/ 'Dujiangyan Panda Base' or 熊猫乐园 Xióngmāo Lèyuán /sshyong-maoww ler-ywen/ 'Panda Paradise'
  • Location: Shiqiao (/shrr-chyaoww/ 'Stone Bridge') Village, Qingchengshan County, Dujiangyan Prefecture, 65 km (40 mi) northwest of central Chengdu. 都江堰市青城山镇石桥村
  • Area: 1.4 square kilometers (0.5 square miles)
  • Popular activities: giant panda volunteer programs
  • Pandas: about 20

After the “5.12” earthquake in 2008, CCRCGP decided to build a new base to protect giant pandas. And Dujiangyan Panda Base was completed in 2013.

Read more about giant pandas in China

Volunteer Programs — Take Care of Giant Pandas

cleaningA volunteer program participant is cleaning a panda's enclosure.

Dujiangyan Panda Base offers volunteer programs that give visitors an opportunity to get closer contact with the cute giant pandas and understand their panda wilderness training program. During the program, participants work with Chinese panda staff to take care of the pandas.

Though less-well-established, it offers more accessible volunteer programs than Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, which is 150 km (93 miles) from Chengdu.

Duration: 1 to 2 days.

Activities

include cleaning panda enclosures, preparing panda food, watching films about pandas, visiting the Panda Center of Science and Education, attending panda classes, and planting bamboo and trees. Activities are flexible, and the program can be redesigned according to the pandas' needs, participants' requirements and interests, and other factors.

At the end of the program, each participant will be issued a certificate which proves their volunteering at the training base and a T-shirt. Contact us to sign up for a volunteer program.

China Highlights customer Lynne Buddin: "Book before your holiday. It is very quick but each magic moment will stay with you forever. The money goes towards the center's efforts to reintroduce pandas into the wild. I believe it is money well spent." Read more on Lynne's panda experience for what to expect.

Can My Child Be A Volunteer?

panda cakes Young volunteers (12+) making cakes for giant pandas.

The age restriction of volunteer is between 12 to 65 years old. Even though the pandas look harmless, they are carnivores. Parents must ensure that they prevent their children from coming into direct contact with the pandas. The cost for children of 12 years old and above is the same as the cost for adults.

If your children are between 2–11 years old, you can still take them with you during the program. Your guide will help to take care of them. The cost for children in this age group is around US$120 cheaper per person than the price for adults.

If your children are under 2 years old and you take care of them throughout the day, no tour cost is needed.

Taking a Picture with a Panda

The training base has a donation program allowing visitors to take a picture with a 2-year-old panda, after donating 1,800 yuan. Only 20 visitors are allowed to take a picture with the panda a day.

See Overseas Returnees at Dujiangyan Panda Base

According to the agreement between China and other countries, all panda babies born abroad have to be sent back to China at 2 years old.

There are many "overseas returnees" at Dujiangyan Panda Base. The giant pandas you may have seen in your country can be found there.

Famous Star Panda — Tai Shan

Tai Shan was the first panda born at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington DC, and has many fans. He should have been sent back to China when he was a 2-year-old (in 2007). 

But his fans in America really wanted him to stay. The Chinese government agreed to postpone the date to 2009. In 2009, the extension ended. However, his fans, again, campaigned to keep him for longer. And the Chinese government postponed the move again for another half year.

Tai Shan finally came to China in 2010 and stayed at Bifengxia Panda Base. Live video was set up to show Tai Shan’s life to his fans.

In 2014, Tai Shan moved to Dujiangyan Panda Base. On July 10th, 2017, staffs at Duajiangyan Panda Base celebrated Tai Shan’s 12th birthday.

Travel Essentials

Transportation

how to get to dujiangyan panda base

From Dujiangyan: Panda Base is about 19 kilometers (12 miles) southwest from Dujiangyan town center. It takes about 30 minutes by car.

From Chengdu: About 67 kilometers (41 miles), it takes about 1½ hours by car.

dujiangyan panda base

Where to Stay

There are no hotels at the training base, but there are a variety of hotels in Dujiangyan. The best are:

  • 3-star: Dujiangyan Joy Holiday Hotel (Dujiangyan Xiyue Jiari Jiudian 都江堰喜悦假日酒店)
  • 4-star: Minjiang Xinhao Hotel (岷江新濠酒店)
  • 5-star: Qingcheng Howard-Johnson Hotel (Qingcheng Hao-Sheng Jiudian 青城豪生酒店)

Where to Eat

  • Eat at the Dujiangyan Panda Base canteen.
  • Go out and eat at a farmhouse near the base.

Nearby Attractions

One-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour

Departure: Daily

Price: From US$279 per person

Schedule for Reference

panda volunteer program

Itinerary:

7:00am: Our guide and driver pick you up from your hotel in Chengdu.

8:30am–11:30am: Arrive at Dujiangyan Panda Base and begin your tour. You will learn more about the pandas, and help take care of them. The activities may include cleaning panda enclosures, feeding the pandas, and making panda cakes.

11:30am–2:00pm: Lunch at the canteen of Dujiangyan Panda Base. And then watch a panda movie that lasts for about 40 minutes.

2:00pm–3:30pm: Continue the program in the afternoon.

3:30pm–4:00pm: The panda keeper program finishes. You will receive a panda keeper certificate. Transfer back to your hotel in Chengdu.

5:30 pm: Arrive at your hotel in Chengdu.

Price inclusions:

  • Entrance to Dujiangyan Panda Base
  • Dujiangyan Base Panda Keeper Program fee
  • English speaking guide
  • Private transfers between your hotel in Chengdu and the panda base
  • Simple lunch

Price exclusions:

  • Costs for photos/videos of pandas and holding pandas
  • Customer purchases at the base
  • Anything else not mentioned on the itinerary
QUICK INQUIRY Each tour can be tailored.

Find more details on One-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour.

More Popular Giant Panda Tours

take photo with panda Have your photo taken with a cute panda.

Want a trip to Dujiangyan Panda Base? China Highlights can help you tailor-make a trip, with a knowledgeable, English-speaking guide. Contact us and tell us what you would like to do. See more of our giant panda tours:

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.

China Highlights Customer Lynne Buddin's Dujiangyan Panda Base Experience

Everyone loves Pandas!

You scratch my back...

It's official; the BBC's animal scientists proved that just by looking at them, certain animals make us feel happy. Apparently, because like cats, dogs and rabbits, pandas have large, front facing eyes, (made bigger with the black around them), and because they are furry, we consider them cute and cuddly.

Beautiful Dujiangyan Panda Base

With its beautifully landscaped gardens and wireless enclosures, designed in rectangular shape so you can get great, close up, panda photos, Dujiangyan Panda Base should be jam packed with visitors. It's not! Even on a Bank Holiday Sunday it was easy to get to the front of each panda enclosure.

Why is it not really busy?

t shirtVolunteer program T-shirt

Well, it's not officially open yet. Another benefit for families is they haven't opened any cafes or souvenir shops. Apart from the entrance fee there is nothing else to buy. The signposting to find it is not that great either, only one sign and it's literally just outside the entrance.

Well worth it.

The 1 ½ hour journey from Chengdu city is so worth it.

Get up early. Pandas are mainly active in the morning, after lunch they will be sleeping, you won't see as much. When the center is fully finished it will have 30/40 giant pandas, 50/100 babies and other animals.

Panda's seen:

When we visited we saw 20 giant pandas and 4 youths.

the 3 legged pandaThe three-legged panda

The first panda was a happy ending to a sad tale. Injured so badly by weasels, one of his legs was amputated, he would not survive in the wild, but here he was happily sunbathing and eating bamboo.

Youthful antics: Four “baby” pandas of about a year old were all playing up a pine tree the other side of the base. They are really skilful climbers; however they don't climb down as well as they climb up! Sometimes it seems more of a tumble down rather than an intentional move!

Feeding time: We watched one giant panda scratching himself on a tree, before climbing it and calling out. Such a small call considering his size. We started to mimic it. We felt like Dr. Doolittle. Then the Keeper came with food and we realised the panda was just excited about lunch coming.

Panda photo call: Another really liked her photo taken. Her tree had a tyre wedged in the branches that she sat on like a cushion. When all the visitors were facing one way she faced them, then when they went round the other side of the enclosure, she turned round in the tree.

Ideal for children...

We loved our morning here, the child in our group had a wonderful time, but be warned, children will want to ride on someone's shoulders so they can see over the walls. There are some steps to the walls, but most are still too high for an 8 year old.

Want more?

Chewing Bamboo, panda close up

If you want even more time with the pandas there are two fantastic options at Dujiangyan. You can join the Panda Volunteer Program, and, or, get your picture taken holding a panda. I can personally recommend both; I did mine at the Chengdu Center where they don't do them currently.

Panda Keeping — the best way to get up close to pandas

You go behind the scenes, learn more about them, make panda cake and immerse yourself in everything panda. On the down side they make you wear silly blue overalls to clean up the panda's poo. But being able to feed pandas from a safe distance by bamboo was just brilliant!


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