Just like Australia is known for kangaroos, China is known for pandas. Of course, a trip to China isn’t complete without getting up close and personal with these cuddly little creatures and Chengdu is the place to do it. At the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, you’ll see all sorts of pandas eating and sleeping, because that’s what pandas do best.
It’s recommended that you visit early in the morning when the animals are most active. We saw baby pandas wrestling with each other and attempting but failing to climb trees with their chubby physiques. In the red panda area, you’ll walk along a path surrounded by panda habitats on both sides. If you look closely, you’ll see small holes that have been dug out in the fence and you may be surprised when a red panda crosses the path just steps in front of you.
Here’s something really cool – YOU CAN HOLD A BABY PANDA. If you ask a Chinese person about this, they’ll most likely tell you that it isn’t true, because the panda holding experience isn’t available to them. This luxury is reserved for foreign guests only and it will run you about $400 USD. You’ll have to wear a surgical gown and gloves, which is simultaneously weird and a good thing. You won’t look very stylish in your photos, but you also won’t cause major damage to the pandas. I chose to forgo this option, but I have friends who have done it and rave about the experience.
How cute are they!? For more information on Sichuan province, check out this post on how Chengdu became my favorite city in China.