How to Plan a Panda Tour

Visiting the cute giant pandas in China would be the once in a lifetime experience. BUT, you may wonder which panda base is the best place to see lovely pandas or join in volunteering program, and when is the best time to visit the cuddly bears…To help you put all the questions and worries down, China Discovery, the local based travel agency in panda’s hometown, is here glad to give you detailed answers with everything about your China panda tour.


Where are the Best Places to Visit Giant Pandas?

In China, travelers can see giant pandas in some zoos and parks, like Beijing Zoo, Shanghai Zoo, Chongqing Zoo, Chengdu Zoo, Guilin Seven Star Zoo, Shanghai Wildlife Park, Guangzhou Chimelong Safari Park, Hong Kong Ocean Park, Dalian Forest Zoo, Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, etc. These zoos are well located in the downtown area with limited numbers of pandas. It is very suitable for travelers who have short time and a few destinations in China, and they can pay a brief visit to see the fluffy, adorable black and white bears in person.

Moreover, since Chengdu is known as “Hometown of Giant Pandas”, travelers can see giant pandas in and around Chengdu by visiting the well-organized panda bases - Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (short for Chengdu Panda Base), Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base, and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base.

Giant Panda in Dujiangyan Panda Base

Giant Panda in Dujiangyan Panda Base

Differences between panda bases of Chengdu, Dujiangyan, Wolong and Bifengxia

Panda Bases Location Number of Pandas Activities Recommended Visiting Time
Chengdu Panda Base 15 km from Chengdu, 30~40 minutes’ transfer Around 80 pandas See and photography 3 hours to half day
Wolong Panda Base 100 km from Chengdu, 2 hours’ driving from Chengdu Over 30 pandas See and photography, join in panda volunteer program; trekking in the wild 1-2 days
Dujiangyan Panda Base 18 km from Dujiangyan; 62 kilometers from Chengdu; 1.5 hours’ transfer from Chengdu Around 40 pandas See and photography; join in panda volunteer program Half day to 1 day
Bifengxia Panda Base In Ya’an city, 150 km from Chengdu with 2.5~3 hours Around 40 pandas See and photography, volunteering with pandas about 1 day to 3 days


If you have limited time and want to pay a short visit to see the pandas, then zoos and parks are good choices to satisfy your needs. If Chengdu is on your traveling list, you should never miss the panda bases. To do one-day volunteer program, we suggest you head to Dujiangyan Panda Base which is easy to access from Chengdu.

And if you have 1-3 days more besides your Chengdu tour, then Wolong Panda Base and Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base are good choices to experience the life-time panda volunteer.


When is the Best Time to See Giant Pandas?

No matter when you come to China, you can pay a visit to see giant pandas all the year round. Every year during March to May, the pandas would seek for other pandas to mate by climbing the trees and fighting. In the late summer and autumn, they give birth to baby pandas and travelers can see the little cute being taken care in the Sunshine Nursery. If you want to see the active scene of giant pandas, come in spring. While to see the newborn pink baby pandas, it is recommended to visit Chengdu during August to September.

Giant Pandas will take 2~4 hours’ sleep in their cage after eating and they will definitely show you how to sleep - in all kinds of lovely posture. Though they are inactive, you can see their cuteness.

>> 1 Day Chengdu Relaxing Panda Tour

>> 2 Days Chengdu City Break with Panda Visiting

See Active Pandas at Chengdu Panda Base

See Active Pandas at Chengdu Panda Base

What Kind of Activities Can I Take?

Travelers can see, observe, take pictures and shoot videos in all the zoos, parks and panda bases. Besides these activities, travelers can take panda volunteer program in Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base and Bifengxia Panda Base. What’s more, if you are a big fan of panda, you can do the outdoor trekking research program of panda’s wild training area at Wolong Panda Base, the world only one base so far to do that activity.

Do Giant Panda Volunteer Work for 1~3 Days

At present, there are three facilities offering panda volunteer program in Sichuan Province. Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base, and Bifengxia Panda Base are available to join in the interesting panda volunteer program. Here you can not only have a close look at pandas, but also learn some rescue skills and scientific knowledge about pandas.

During the classic one-day volunteer program, the activities include honorary keepers, science quest, panda nutritionist, panda movie, panda class and panda fun trip. After the panda volunteer activities, participants will receive an official certificate from CCRCGP that proves your love for giant pandas, as well as souvenirs, like a panda badge, a panda T-shirt or a panda club magazine.

Check more details about Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Program.

Check more details about Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Volunteer Program.

Check more details about Wolong Panda Volunteer Program.

Recommended Panda Volunteer Tours:

>> 1 Day Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Tour

>> 2 Days Inspiring Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Volunteer Experience

>> 2 Days Wolong Panda Volunteer at Shenshuping Base

Join in Red Panda Volunteer Program

If you are not only have interests in giant panda volunteer program, but also want to do further volunteering work with red pandas (lesser pandas), you can head to Hetaoping Panda Base (Wolong, Sichuan) which is close to Shenshuping Panda Base, about 120 kilometers away from Chengdu downtown area with 2.5 hours’ drive.

There are over 60 red pandas in Hetaoping Panda Base. In 2019, this base has been designed 1-day red panda volunteer program, starting from 09:30 to 16:30. Like the giant panda volunteer work, travelers who attend this program will have the intimate chance to take care of red pandas, clean their enclosures, prepare special food for them, take photos with one of the gentle red pandas in your arms. Watch the meaningful scientific documentary and understand how to protect the endangered species. After the work, you will be rewarded with volunteer certificate and some souvenirs. For red panda lovers, you can plan one day red panda volunteer program which means you will drive to the base from Chengdu and after the work, drive back to Chengdu.

Read more about the program, please go and see Red Panda Volunteer Program 2023 >>.

Hug & Take Photos with Giant Panda

Volunteer between 12 and 65 years old can hold one panda in Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Panda Base, and Bifengxia Panda Base and take photos with it, on the condition that you have a valid Health Examination Form, which can be applied in your country or in China. It charges extra fee 1800 Yuan which belongs to the donation fee to help saving this endangered species and create a better environment for them.

Recent news for panda holding for all panda bases: To well protect and provide giant pandas friendly and natural living environment, and prevent spreading disease to any of them, panda holding and photo taking activities have been suspended since November 2018. There is no latest news for panda hugging in 2019. We’ll keep update the info.

Join Hiking Research at Panda Wild Training Area

For panda lovers, now you have the chance to do the outdoor trekking research program at panda’s wild training area at Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base, which is the only one base providing such new try in the world.

Join this one day program, hike in the primitive living environment of giant pandas, enjoy the really natural sightseeing of the protection zone, observe rare plants in panda's habitat, learn how to use the tools and instruments to collect data of panda habitats, and know what actions to protect pandas and their home. You will be one of the proud contributors to the animal species saving and nature health of our planet earth.

Check more details about Wolong Outdoor Trekking Research about Pandas.

See Baby Cub in Chengdu Panda Base

See Baby Cub in Chengdu Panda Base

Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Program

Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Program - Prepare Fresh Bamboo

Baby Panda and her Mom

Baby Panda and her Mom

Panda Likes Eating Bamboo Shoots

Panda Likes Eating Bamboo Shoots

Sleeping Panda at Bifengxia Panda Base

Sleeping Panda at Bifengxia Panda Base

Red Panda in Hetaoping Panda Base

Red Panda in Hetaoping Panda Base

Private Tour with China Discovery

With many years’ experience, China Discovery has taken thousands of travelers to see the giant pandas in China. Local based in Chengdu, we have the advantage to arrange Chengdu Panda Tour and Panda Volunteer Program for you. No matter which panda base you want to head to and what kinds of activities you are interested, we are here trying our best to tailor make your panda tour, helping you fulfill your panda dream.

Recommended Panda Tours

Top 3 Panda tours chosen by most customers to explore Panda in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Mama and Baby of Panda
10 Days Golden Triangle Tour with Panda Fun

Shanghai / Chengdu / Xian / Beijing

Dujiangyan Panda Volunteer Experience
6 Days Leshan, Mount Emei & Panda Volunteer Tour

Chengdu / Leshan / Emei / Chengdu / Dujiangyan / Chengdu

The Lesser Three Gorges
17 Days China Paradise Tour with Tibet Discovery & Yangtze Cruise

Beijing / Xian / Lhasa / Chengdu / Chongqing / Yangtze Cruise / Shanghai

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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