5 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.
1. Dujiangyan Panda Base — best panda volunteer program
- Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) or 1½ hours from Chengdu
- Pandas: about 20
- Activities: panda viewing, holding pandas, and panda keeper program
- Suitable for: those who want a less-crowded panda volunteer program
- Time needed: 1 day
China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda Dujiangyan Panda Base is a new panda center, established in 2014. 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.
1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Program Tour: Join a Panda Keeper Program to take care of pandas.
2. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center — Most Popular
- Location: Chengdu city outskirts, 40 minutes by car, easily accessible
- Pandas: about 50
- 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.
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.
3. Wolong Panda Center — Home of Wild Pandas
- Location: southwest Wenchuan County, 121 km (75 mi) west of Chengdu
- Pandas: about 30
- Activities: seeing pandas, taking care of pandas, taking a photo with a panda
- Best for: people who want to take part in the volunteer program (taking care of pandas)
- Time needed: 2 days
There used to be more than 100 giant pandas in Wolong. But it was largely devastated by the catastrophic "5.12" earthquake in 2008. Now the new Wolong Panda Research Center has been opened, and visitors can not only see pandas, but also participate in panda keeper programs to experience taking care of pandas, and take photos with them.
4-Day Wolong Panda Tour: Hike in the habitat of giant pandas, and take care of them.
4. Beijing Zoo — Easiest Access, But Most Crowded
- 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.
Most popular tour: 9-Day China Family Classic Tour - Beijing, Shanghai and Xian
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
Top Places to See Giant Pandas Summary Table
|Dujiangyan Panda Base||Dujiangyan — 1½ hours from Chengdu||Easy||20||Volunteer program, taking photos with a panda||1 day||Quiet|
|Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center||Chengdu City||Very easy||50||Seeing pandas||½ day||Very crowded|
|Wolong Panda Center||Wenchuan county — 3 hours from Chengdu||Hard||30||Volunteer program, taking photos with a panda, hiking in panda habitat||2 days||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|
Most Popular Giant Panda Tours
If you want to see the lovely giant pandas in China, please see the following giant panda tours for inspiration:
- 1-Day Panda Wonderland Tour from Chengdu: meet the cuddly pandas.
- 12-Day Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu Pandas, Yangtze River, and Shanghai Tour: Enjoy the biggest highlights of China.
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.