Bifeng Gorge Panda Base
Pandas are the main reason for most foreign travelers in Chengdu. In our point, if you are coming for pandas, then make the most of them by being a volunteer in the real wild panda base. On May 12, 2008 during Wenchuan Earthquake, the Wolong National Natural Reserve suffered a lot and more than 50 pandas were homeless. Besides 27 pandas being moved to other cities, the rest of them were settle down in Bifeng Gorge Panda Base, thus adds the fame to the base, too.
Bifeng Gorge Panda Base (碧峰峡大熊猫基地) is actually in Ya'an City with 150 km southwest to Chengdu City, which takes around 2 1/2 hours driving time. While visitors can have a clearer understanding about panda's names and categories in the well-organized Chengdu Zoo, people can enjoy a more real and wild reserve for pandas with tall trees and big enclosures. Moreover, volunteer work in Bifeng Gorge Base is the real highlight. If going with kids, do let them be a panda keeper, this would definitely be an unforgettable experience.
Usually one-day volunteer work is enough to get close to these cute creatures. Visitors will be dressed into work clothes and gloves. Then they will be assigned to certain keepers. Before starting the work, photo taking with pandas are allowed but just for 10 seconds or so. Then here comes the work. Cleaning enclosures like removing their poo, taking out the leftover bamboo and mopping the place. Luckily the area doesn't smell. The process will last about 45 minutes. Then the rest of the day there are three more secessions to feed the pandas (11:30/14:00/15:30), the real highlight of the day. Wandering around the area for the free time you can see some pandas sleep high on the tree which is really cute. Photography opportunities are a lot especially there are only a few people in the wild reserve.
Note that in July and August the base may be closed due to heavy rains. Go early and you will be lucky to pandas being active.
- Add: Bifeng Gorges Scenic Resort, Yucheng District, Ya'an
- Admission: 400-600 yuan/day for volunteer work; 2000-3000 yuan/time for hugging a panda.
- Opening Hours: 08:30am-11:30am and 01:30pm-04:00pm
- Getting there: Take a bus from Chengdu New South Bus Station to Ya'an City within 2 hours and then transfer to Ya'an by a shuttle bus for about 30 minutes. Another 15 minutes for internal bus from HQ to the panda park. Frequent Bus service all day in the large reserve is available for 15 Yuan per day.