Top 5 Places to See Giant Pandas in China

Written by Sally Guo Updated Apr. 19, 2023

Top places to see giant pandas in China

Chengdu, the hometown of Giant Panda, is definitely the best place to see giant pandas.  If you can't go to Chengdu, there are some zoos in other China cities where you can also see a panda. But if you want to hug a panda, going to Chengdu is almost the only choice. 

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1. Chengdu Panda Base: Visitors-Friendly, Nearest to Chengdu

baby pandas at chengdu panda breeding center

Chengdu Panda Base, fully named Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding, is only 6 miles away from downtown Chengdu, making it the best choice for travelers who want an excursion tour while on a layover in Chengdu. The place simulates the giant panda's wild living environment and houses lakes, streams, bamboo forests, and lawns. It can be cheerful to see tiny newborn pandas in the delivery room.

2. Dujiangyan Panda Base: Volunteers to Feed a Panda Face-to-Face

dujiangyan giant pandas

Dujiangyan Panda Base is a post-earthquake reconstruction project of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. It is the only research center in the country that is focused on rescuing and re-introducing giant pandas to the wild. Most giant pandas here are injured, old, sick, or disabled, but they are well-cared for. Visitors can join the Panda Volunteer Program and feed pandas face-to-face, learning how to take care of these adorable endangered creatures.

Note: Pandas give birth to babies in July and August, so there is a chance to see baby pandas when you visit Dujiangyan Giant Panda Base from August to December. In Dujiangyan Panda Base, visitors may also see some pandas that have had several years’ experience in other countries, such as a panda named Tiger who once lived in Washington DC.

3. Bifengxia Giant Panda Base: Stay with Pandas Longer

Bifengxia giant panda playing

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, located in Bifeng Gorge Scenic Area, is the largest panda base and is blessed with a broad and beautiful landscape, providing an ideal natural environment for giant pandas to live. Sometimes it is hard to see pandas here since they live in mountain and jungle areas.

A panda keeper program is also available in Bifengxia Panda Base. But the program is less busy and lasts longer, for maybe 2 days or more. People who want to do volunteer work need to arrive one day in advance to join a training program.

4. Wolong Giant Panda Center: Real Hometown of Wild Pandas

Wolong giant panda base

Wolong National Nature Reserve is considered to be the native habitat of wild pandas. A catastrophic earthquake largely devastated Wolong Giant Panda Center in 2008 and many injured pandas were moved to Bifengxia. The new panda base of Wolong was relocated to Gengda  Town and opened in 2016, where visitors can also be panda keepers. For years the center has made efforts to reintroduce pandas to the wild after captive breeding and preparation for the wild.

5. Beijing Zoo

Beijing Zoo was built in 1906. It is the biggest city zoo in China with a lot of rare creatures from all over the world. Penguin House and Panda House are the must-visit attractions and they are also the most popular houses there. Transportation to the zoo is very convenient.

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Summary of the Giant Panda Bases in Sichuan

The place to see pandas Driving hours from Chengdu Access Activities Visit time Tourists
Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding Very easy Seeing baby pandas Half-day Very crowded on holidays
Dujiangyan Panda Base Easy Volunteer Program 1 day Less-busy
Bifengxia Giant Panda Base Hard Volunteer Program 2 days Quiet
Wolong Giant Panda Center Hard Volunteer Program 2 days or more Quiet

Questions on Giant Panda Bases Frequently Asked by Our Customers

1) Where can I hold a panda and take a picture?

The Hugging Panda Program has been suspended since 2018 in ALL panda bases in Chengdu.

Don't be upset, there is an alternative way to get up close to pandas, you can join the Panda Keeper Program for feeding pandas, cleaning the panda cubs, and making cakes for pandas.

2) Can my child be a panda keeper?

Anyone who is between 10 to 70 years old and passes the physical examination can take part in the Panda Keeper Program.

3) Can I visit giant pandas at night?

Panda Home Inn

Panda Home Inn

If you stay in the Panda Home Inn inside the Wolong Panda Base, yes, you can pay a night's visit to the fluffy pandas under the guidance of a panda feeder and your tour guide. Don’t hesitate to contact us for an interesting panda base night tour!

4) Any tips on accommodation within the panda base?

Back to Giant Panda

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