Sichuan homes to more than 80% population of world’s giant pandas. In 2006, the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries-Wolong, Mt.Siguniang and Mt.Jiajin were inscribed into the World Heritage List by the UNESCO. As the hometown of the pandas, it couldn’t be more suitable to set pandas as the tourism ambassador for Sichuan. Ever since 1869 when the first giant panda was discovered and introduced to human by the French missionary and naturalist— Armand David, near the Dengchigou Church in Baoxing County, human’s pursuit of the giant panda has never stopped.
In 1980, the Chinese government and the WWF cooperated to establish the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) at Wolong National Nature Reserve, which is the first research center on Pandas in history. Thereafter, Wolong becomes a must-see site of Sichuan panda tour and later often referred to as the Wolong Panda Nature Reserve worldwide. Unfortunately, the Wolong Panda Reserve was damaged by the earthquake on 12, May, 2008; after that, all the pandas in Wolong were transferred separately to Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base and Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda Dujiangyan Base; and from 1st, Oct, 2014 the Dujiangyan Panda Valley in Dujiangyan opened to visitors, also a new panda base near Wolong named Wolong Shenshuping Panda Basewas also completed in 2014 with 32 pandas living there now, so at present there are 5 major panda bases operating normally in Sichuan. Please see the following introductions to each base and choose the most suitable panda tours.
Chengdu Panda Tours
Chengdu Panda Base, abbreviated from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, is the closest panda base from downtown Chengdu, which makes it the mostly visited one in Sichuan, visitors including Michelle Obama, Jackie Chan, Yaoming and etc. If you do have a tight schedule in Sichuan and want to see pandas, this base is the best choice.
- Half day Chengdu Panda Base Tour at $35 per person
- 1 Day Chengdu Panda Base & Leshan Giant Buddha Tour at $95 per person
Wolong Panda Tours
As the earliest panda research and breeding center in China initiated by WWF, for many years the word “Wolong” literally equals to “giant pandas” until it was devastated by the earthquake in 2008.In 2014, a new one was built in Gengda Village of Wolong, 20km away from its original site. From May, 2016, it has been fully open to tourists; it surely will bloom again like its heyday for its reputation and nice environment. Plus, the Wolong Nature Reserve and Mt. Siguniang in this region are still charming like before and serves as a good complement to a panda tour.
- 1 Day Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base Tour from $75 per person
- 2 Days Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base & Mt. Siguniang Tour from $139 per person
Dujiangyan Panda Tours
Dujiangyan city has two shelters for giant pandas, both are newly built and open in recent years. They are not rich in history, but playing significant role in modern panda conservation. One is noted at disease prevention & control; the other aims to train pandas and enable them to regain their ability to survive in the wild. Plus, either one is less than 20 minutes’ drive from the world heritage site of Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Mt. Qingcheng.
- 1 Day Dujiangyan Panda Tour plus irrigation project from $91 per person
- 1 Day Dujiangyan Panda Tour plus Mt. Qingcheng from $93 per person
Ya'an Panda Tours
Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base is currently, without any doubt, the most naturally beautiful base among all the bases in Sichuan. It’s only 2.5 hours away from Chengdu by highway. It fascinates panda fans not only because its natural habitat simulated environment but also its neighboring 2 important historic places for tourists, namely Mt. Mengding and Shangli Ancient Town.
- 1 Day Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base Tour from $95 per person
- 2 Days Ya’an Panda and Tea Discovery from $142 per person