There are 2 panda centers near Chengdu, 1 more in the city and 1 way outside that takes 2 hours to get to, so I went with the closer option. The hostel I was at (Mrs. Panda) offered a group ride with a driver, who waits for you and brings you back to the hostel, and 2 Australian guys also wanted to go, so we shared the cost. It was definitely worth it.
We got to the center at 8am, which seems ideal. It’s just opened, pandas are more active (they’ve just woken up, it’s not too hot, they’re being fed, etc.), and most of the tour groups don’t arrive until after 10. Here’s the entrance and a great sign telling you that it is in Chinese, in case you weren’t aware.
The first spot we stumbled on was for younger pandas (age 18mo-2 years), and they were playing a lot, so it was a great spot.
We walked around looking for the baby building, the red pandas, and the spot for pandas under 1 year-old.
At the panda cub area, there were too many tour groups, so we couldn’t see very well, and we wound up returning to where we’d first started.
I really appreciated all of the “save nature” quotes on signs at the panda center. Obviously, the most effective thing anyone can do is to be vegan (not hyperbole—it’s a fact, backed by study after study after study, including a statement from the U.N.).
At the end, we also walked through the panda museum, which had some interesting notes on the history of pandas, panda breeding, the center, etc. and famous visitors.
Of course, there were also references to the Kung Fu Panda movie series (I’ve never seen any of them).
All-in-all, it was a good trip for my last full day in Chengdu.
That night, I convinced A to go with me to an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet in Chengdu (Yu Su Ge restaurant), which was AMAZING on all levels. The next day was my last in Chengdu, with an overnight flight to Indonesia coming up. I did some errands, like washing a few clothing items in the shower (such as my sweaty clothes from the Leshan trip), packed up, did some more sightseeing, and got a bunch of work done during the day before heading out in the pouring rain to get to the Chengdu airport.
Next post: Bukit Lawang, Indonesia