how to see pandas in chengdu

How to Visit the Pandas in Chengdu [ Panda Research Centre ]

We’re in Chengdu, our favorite big city in China to date. Friendly and temperate at least while we’re here, there’s Sichuan food to sweat for and home of the Panda Research Centre and the Giant Pandas.

There are less than 1,000 Giant Panda left in the world – very few in the wild, yet who doesn’t love them? The Panda Research Centre made the news only this last week, as it’s been reported that Ai Hin a female Panda from the center, had faked a pregnancy in order to gain extra food and better digs. It turns out that once female Pandas in the center exhibit signs of pregnancy, they start to get extra rations and they’re also moved to a different enclosure.


It’s an amazing experience to wander round in the early morning and watch as the Panda’s begin to wake (or continue to sleep in our case – we were a little early). To go into the delivery units and see the tiniest Panda’s just a few weeks old, to see the twins playing together and to watch the older mother feeding as her baby plays with the bamboo.

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Their gestures are so human like, you can’t help feeling that these are humans sitting there in Panda suits. The mother sitting, legs splayed, belly protruding, surrounded by a pile of bamboo, mechanically chewing, and chewing and reaching for stalk after stalk could also be human sat in front of a TV gazing sightless at the screen, chewing her way to obesity.

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The red panda’s are a different story. Much, much smaller. More racoon than panda, we came literally face to face with one, who’d decided the boardwalk was more interesting than the enclosure. Conflicting signage declares the red panda both sensitive and aggressive, so we tried to watch from a distance.

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Quiet, say the signs, all around the park, which appears to give over more space to humans than Pandas. Hey, hey hey, hello, say the hordes of tourists, whistling and stamping their feet. The Panda’s continue chewing their way through the bamboo, clearly having seen it all before.

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I can’t help wondering if they look so sad all the time, or just when we’re behaving like we are the ones that should be in an enclosure.

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