Giant Panda Day Trip
Traveling to China just wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse of their national treasure located in the heart of the country. On the outskirts of the city of Chengdu in Sichuan province lies a sanctuary which is home to the Giant Panda. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a welcome break for any tourist seeking a relaxing day trip. Located along major bus and train routes running through China, with its own local airport, Chengdu is a convenient stop for travelers.
Although the sanctuary covers a large area, the surrounding natural beauty makes for a pleasant experience. Visitors make their way through the tranquil forest setting to gaze upon one of the worlds most loved and adorable creatures. The pathways are well-marked and the adult panda enclosures are lovely outdoor areas where you can get quite close to view the Giant Pandas in their natural environment. You’ll soon find yourself mesmerized by their antics and may spend more time there than initially anticipated.
Bamboo Sanctuary and Red Pandas
The sanctuary has a variety of endemic bamboo species and there is information describing each one as you pass them by. The sea of bamboo which line the walkways will take you into another world. I was sure the pandas would agree as I watched one of them sit back and tuck into a thick piece of bamboo and crunch away at it loudly. With their placid nature one can so easily forget the strength which these animals possess. They seem to almost glide their way up a tree making it look so easy. There is more information at hand in the form of an audio video gallery, a small museum, and books telling visitors all about these amazing creatures. Restaurants and outdoor areas for relaxing are also available as you will need to have a rest along the way. Red Pandas also reside in the sanctuary and come onto the decks to get a closer look at what’s going on and who’s got a few tit bits to give them, although I might add, the public are instructed not to feed any of the animals.
Memories To Take Home
You’ll find that these creatures will melt your heart and that you just want to take one home with you. Well, if you are willing to pay 2000 RMB, the local Chinese currency, you can spend ten minutes cuddling a Giant Panda while the staff take snapshots for you so that you can take that special memory with you. If that doesn’t suite your pocket, there are always loads of fluffy panda toys and souvenirs to choose from. The base is about a ten-minute drive from the city of Chengdu, a trip which you can easily arrange at your hotel or hostel. The entrance fee is 58RMB which is real value for money and the sanctuary is open throughout the year until 18:00 each day.
Outdoor Activities in Pristine, Natural Surroundings
Sichuan province is also China’s top birding destination with its sub-tropical mountain forest which is home to 50 endemic bird species. The high grasses of the mountains of the Tibetan plateau are only a short distance away and just as spectacular. The scenery is magnificent and there are plenty of hiking trails. Mount Emei is a popular day trip for hikers, cyclists, and keen birders, and includes sub-alpine forests among its diverse flora. Alpine Birding offer numerous tours for bird lovers and custom trips to suit you.
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park
The nearby Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park is an absolute dream with a multi-colored crystal clear lake, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and verdant forests filled with thousands of plant species, as well as 141 bird species, and 17 extremely rare animal species. There are estimated to be at least 20 wild Giant Pandas in the valley which still roam freely. Among the forest fauna you may spot golden monkeys, marmots, and reclusive snow leopards. Calcite pools cascade down towards the river and make for a spectacular sight for hikers out on a trek through the park. An even more refreshing sight are the Nourilong Waterfalls where you can gulp down a few mouthfuls of crisp, mountain water. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I am sure that your experience through the 35km long valley will be a fabulous outdoor trip whether you decide to walk, cycle, or even take one of the eco-friendly buses which pass through the grounds. Bike China Adventures also offer nature cycle trips through the valley. There is nothing better than a tranquil bike ride along the peaceful paths beside the lake as the mountain tops reflect on the calm surface of the water.
Get Pampered in a Luxurious Eco-Setting
To add a special touch to your trip, why not check in at A Bu Lu Zi Eco Lodge in Jiuzhaigou. The accommodation is in a luxurious yet environmentally friendly setting which promotes the Tibetan culture. Furthermore, they offer free transport to the park and back. The Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain Resort is another green accommodation choice where you can be pampered surrounded by the beauty of the Sichuan environment.