3 ways to meet the pandas of Chengdu
Chengdu is more than just another bustling, congested Chinese metropolis. The city sits on a picturesque flatland at the foot of the Himalayas and its outskirts are populated with luscious humid forests. Much of this land is protected to ensure there’s a home for the endangered giant pandas who live here and are considered a ‘national treasure’ by the Chinese government.
Here are three excursions you can take from your hotel in Chengdu to understand more about these cuddly animals.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Less than a 40-minute drive north from Millennium Hotel Chengdu, one of the city’s leading leisure and business hotels, is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. As its name suggests, this facility is dedicated to growing the population of giant pandas. Here, nearly giant pandas and red pandas live a simulated natural environment, complete with rivers, lakes, bamboo forests and caves.
Visit during the autumn or winter months if you can as this is panda birthing season. You can also learn more about environmental conservation, witness panda feedings and even have a photo session with a baby panda as your co-star.
If you’d like to take your encounter to the next level, Panda China Tour offers one-day volunteer opportunities so you can get up close and personal with the pandas, while offering a helping hand. Expect to do some grunt work, such as cleaning cages, feeding the bears and assisting with laboratory tests.
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries is a UNESCO World Heritage site spanning 924,500 hectares and contains approximately 30 per cent of the world’s giant panda population. This protected area, which includes seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks, is good for guided treks. It’s densely packed with an immense amount of flora and fauna, including the endangered snow leopard, golden monkey, white-lipped deer and clouded leopard.
Before the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, the Wolong National Nature Reserve was one of the more tourist-friendly reserves. However, its panda enclosures were destroyed and the pandas have since been relocated to different sites, including the Bifengxia Panda Base.
Bifengxia Panda Base
The two-hour drive south from M Hotel Chengdu to the Bifengxia Panda Base is a scenic one, filled with views of racing waterfalls, rocky cliffs, winding rivers and thick ancient forests. The base itself is a stunning and sprawling 72 hectare sanctuary that’s home to dozens of giant pandas. Not only can you tour the facilities, including a research institute, hospital and nursery, which are needed to maintain and grow Bifengxia’s panda population, but you’ll also come face to face with other exotic animals, such as tigers, squirrel monkeys and ostriches.
Want to know what else you can do in Chengdu? Find out at Millennium Hotels and Resorts.