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6 Top Places to See Giant Pandas in China: 3 Bases and 3 Zoos

The best places to see giant pandas are, of course, in Chengdu, hometown of giant pandas. But there are zoos/parks in other China cities where you can see giant pandas if you can't get to Chengdu.

There are usually two ways to see pandas, a short visit to see them from outside the enclosures or a panda keeper program. Dujiangyan Panda Base is the closest panda sanctuary to Chengdu with a panda keeper program.

Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base stands out as having the most pandas and cubs.

Below are the top places to see giant pandas in China.

Where to See Giant Pandas City What's on Offer
Dujiangyan Panda Base Chengdu Typical visit: From half a day
1. Seeing pandas
2. Panda keeper program
Wolong Panda Base Chengdu Typical visit: From 2 days
1. Seeing pandas
2. Panda keeper program
3. Hiking in wild panda habitat
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center Chengdu Typical visit: Half a day
Seeing pandas and cubs
Chongqing Zoo Chongqing Typical visit: 2 hours
Seeing pandas
Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park Guangzhou Typical visit: 1 day
1. Seeing pandas,
2. Little Panda Keeper Program for kids
Beijing Zoo Beijing Typical visit: 2 hours
Seeing pandas

Tips: The best time to see pandas is in the morning when they're more active, especially during feeding time between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m.

1. Dujiangyan Panda Base: Easily-Accessible Panda Keeper Programs

Two lovely pandas are playing.Two lovely pandas are playing.
  • Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) or 1½ hours from Chengdu
  • Pandas: about 20
  • Activities: panda viewing, and panda keeper program
  • Suitable for: those who want a less-crowded panda base or to join in a one-day volunteer program
  • Time needed: from half a day

If you're looking for close contact with pandas, a panda keeper program is the best choice. It offers the perfect opportunity to see and serve those lovely creatures.

Dujiangyan Panda Base focuses on breeding, wilderness training, and releasing pandas into the wild. Only 1½ hours from Chengdu, it is the most easily accessible panda base offering a panda keeper program.

During the program, you will take part in the daily work of panda keepers, including cleaning the glass of their enclosures and preparing panda foods (like bamboo, steamed 'panda cakes', and apples).

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2. Wolong Panda Base: The Most Peaceful Panda Base

Hiking in the Dengsheng GorgeHiking in the Dengsheng Gorge
  • Location: 121 km (75 mi) west of Chengdu, 3 hours' driving
  • Pandas: about 30
  • Activities: seeing pandas, panda keeper program, hiking in wild panda habitat
  • Best for: taking part in a volunteer program in a peaceful environment
  • Time needed: 2 days

Compared with Dujiangyan, Wolong Panda Base is much further away from Chengdu. Thus, it is less frequented by visitors. Besides, Wolong National Nature Reserve is considered to be the real hometown of wild pandas. Hike in Dengsheng Gorge, learn about the habitat of wild giant pandas, and try tracking a wild panda.

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3. Giant Panda Breeding Research Base: See Most Baby Pandas

Newly-born Panda Cubs in Chengdu Panda Breeding BaseNewly-born Panda Cubs in Chengdu Panda Breeding Base
  • Location: Chengdu city outskirts, 40 minutes by car, easily accessible
  • Pandas: about 50
  • Activities: seeing pandas and cubs, watching panda breeding movies
  • Time needed: half a day
  • Best for: people who have limited time, and are only interested in seeing pandas

The following panda base in Chengdu's suburbs and city zoos optimize your time with convenient journeys. Without age limitation, they are more friendly to families with little kids and seniors than panda sanctuaries.

Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base is one of the largest panda reserves with 50 giant pandas. It specializes in baby pandas and their care.

September is the best time to see adorable newly-born cubs and naughty year-old panda cubs. Visiting the panda playground in the morning will brighten your trip. You might see them snoozing on tree stumps, gamboling with one another, or crunching on bamboo shoots...

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4. Chongqing Zoo: Second Largest Number of Pandas in a City

A panda is eating bamboos.A panda is eating bamboos in Chongqing Zoo.
  • Location: Chongqing City, conveniently on subway line 2
  • Pandas: about 16
  • Activities: Seeing pandas only
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Best for: travelers who visit Chongqing or take a Yangtze Cruise

Chongqing Zoo boasts 16 pandas, which is only second to Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center among the city zoos. Located in the "Mountain City", Chongqing Zoo is built on the mountain slopes. The panda house utilizes the mountainside and includes a rock cave. So, you have to ascend a little for a panda visit there. Chongqing is the top port for a Yangtze River cruise. You could make a short excursion to Chongqing Zoo before your Yangtze cruise.

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5. Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park: Little Panda Keeper Program for Kids

A panda is snapping in Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park. A panda is snapping in Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park.
  • Location: Guangzhou, 40 minutes driving
  • Activities: Seeing pandas, 1-hour Little Panda Keeper Program
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Best for: families with kids, expats in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong

Chimelong Safari Park is considered to be the largest wildlife theme park in China. The only visitable panda triplets are the stars there. During your visit, you can have meals at a panda-themed canteen where pandas play next to the windows.

Kids over 5 years old have the chance to join in a 1-hour Little Panda Keeper Program. They will learn about pandas, make a panda cake, and visit the panda house.

Want more insider recommendations and suggestions? See How to Plan a Panda Tour.

6. Beijing Zoo: An Easily Accessible Place with Pandas

Our clients are taking photos with panda in Beijing Zoo.Our clients are taking photos with panda in Beijing Zoo.
  • Location: Beijing City
  • Activities: Seeing pandas only
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Best for: a first China visit with limited time, Beijing expats

Beijing Zoo is the largest zoo in China with the largest number of animal species. It features pandas in a scenic Chinese garden setting.

Located in the No. 1 gateway city of China, Beijing Zoo is an easily-accessible way to see pandas. What could be better than seeing the Great Wall and giant pandas in a few-day stopover in Beijing?

We could easily add a trip to Beijing Zoo to one of these popular Beijing itineraries:

Not interested in the above tours? You can get more inspiration from our popular panda tours. We are happy to tailor-make your own unique tour, including a place to see pandas, according to your interests and requirements. We will help you plan and create your perfect trip.

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