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The Top 4 Places to See Giant Pandas in China

The best places to see giant pandas in China are, of course, in Chengdu, the hometown of giant pandas. There are four panda reserves in Chengdu.

Where to go? Continue to read and you will get the answer. 

We frequently visit the reserves to hone our knowledge and get the latest information. Check the insider’s recommendation and touring tips. 

Top places to see pandas in china

1. Chengdu Panda Base — Most Popular to See Pandas

Giant Panda Breeding Center in ChengduYou can see many giant pandas at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center.
  • Pandas: about 50
  • Time needed: half a day
  • Activities: seeing pandas, especially cubs, watching panda breeding movies
  • Best for: tourists who have limited time, and are only interested in seeing pandas
  • Location: Chengdu city outskirts, 40 minutes by car, easily accessible

Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base, or Chengdu Panda Base for short, is the best place to see giant pandas if your time is limited.

You are likely to visit many giant pandas of various ages, including baby pandas (between Sep. and Nov.). 

Make sure you arrive there in the early morning (before 8 am at best). Otherwise, expect to see a flood of tourists and inactive pandas. Feeding time is 8:30–10 am.

If you don't want to just follow the crowds, and queue for an hour for only 15 seconds taking pictures, then travel with a private guide.

Our experienced guides know exactly where and when to take you to see the best sights and maximize your time for this experience of a lifetime.

Without a guide, you will be uninformed about the habits of the pandas and the efforts of the organization and it will feel like you are walking around a zoo.

2. Dujiangyan Panda Base — Handiest Volunteer Programs

Dujiangyan Panda Base is great place to see pandas and join in volunteering program.You can feed pandas in our panda volunteer program.
  • Pandas: about 20
  • Time needed: 1 day
  • Activities: panda viewing,  panda keeper program
  • Suitable for: those who want to experience a 1-day panda volunteer program
  • Location: Dujiangyan Prefecture, 67 km (41 mi) or 1½ hours from Chengdu

If you want to join a 1-day panda keeper program, Dujiangyan Panda Base is a great option.

In the volunteer program, you can see pandas close up, help clean the panda enclosures, make food for them, and feed the pandas.

Only 60 people per day can have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

We, as the first tour operator to arrange group tours for the Panda Keeper Program at Dujiangyan, have visited the base extensively and know how to maximize your opportunity to get close to the pandas.

3. Wolong Panda Center — Variety of Programs and Habitat Hiking

Go to Wolong Panda Base to see pandas and experience red panda volunteer programYou can have a face-to-face contact with red pandas in our volunteer program.
  • Pandas: about 30
  • Time needed: 2 days
  • Activities: visiting pandas, taking care of giant pandas, red pandas, and baby pandas, hiking
  • Best for: people who want to take part in the volunteer program (taking care of pandas) and see the wild habitat of pandas
  • Location: southwest Wenchuan County, 121 km (75 mi) west of Chengdu

Want to have the rare experience of entering a red pandas' enclosure, and feed them, touch them, and photograph them?

Eager to hold an adorable panda cub and feed it? (Can you imagine how green your friends will be with envy when you do that?) Head to Wolong Panda Center

This panda sanctuary is one hour further from Chengdu than Dujiangyan’s, but it is less crowded and offers more activities.

Apart from the giant panda keeper program, you can join in programs involving red pandas or baby pandas (an exclusive experience only offered by us).  See details about Where and How Can I Hold a Panda?

Moreover, you will have a chance to be the pandas' private guest and explore pandas’ nightlife without tourists and noise, and to hike in the lush forest habitat of wild giant pandas.

4. Bifengxia Panda Base — Longer, Less-Busy Programs 

Bifengxia Panda Base, a quiet place to see pandas and join panda volunteer program The pandas enjoy their life in the panda sanctuary. 
  • Pandas: about 20
  • Time needed: 2 days or more
  • Activities: seeing pandas, taking care of pandas
  • Best for: aficionados who want to take part in a volunteer program (taking care of pandas)
  • Location: Ya’an City, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Chengdu

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is an option if you want to visit pandas in a less crowded environment due to fewer visitors. This option means you’ll have a longer drive and it’s more expensive.

It is ideally suited to those who want to take part in a panda keeper program that lasts for 2 days or more.

Your trip can be enriched with a beautiful walk along the gorge, which has lots of water, waterfalls, hanging coffins, and green vegetation.

City Zoos with Pandas

Beijing Zoo, a place to see giant pandasA giant panda in Beijing Zoo

For those who can't make a trip to Chengdu, the zoos in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Hong Kong Ocean Park offer opportunities to have a quick look at the adorable giant pandas.

The zoos are easy to access but are always fully-packed. Our guides know how to help you avoid the worst of the crowding.

See The Top 10 Zoos and Safari Parks in China.

Get Expert Help Finding the Best Panda Experience for You

Our specialists have visited the panda bases many times. With extensive first-hand knowledge, they can help you plan your trip to avoid the crowds and find the most suitable places to see giant pandas.

Here are some sample itineraries, for inspiration:

1-Day Dujiangyan Panda Keeper Program Tour 1-day It’s a memorable day tour to look after a cute and fluffy panda as you clean its enclosure, make its food and feed it View more
Start planning your tailor-made China tour by contacting ​one of our specialists... Create My Trip