you're reading...

Things To Do

Where to See Giant Pandas in China

Giant Pandas are the animal that is most commonly associated with China. The Chinese are understandably very proud to call the Giant Panda their own, and they maximise the marketing potential of these gentle giants.

Many zoos around the world have Giant Pandas, but it is of course great to be able to see the animal in its native country.

Here are some ideas for seeing Giant Pandas in China itself.

Wild Pandas

The Giant Panda - national icon of China

The Giant Panda - national icon of China

Pandas used to be widespread in the wild, but now they’re confined to the rugged countryside of Sichuan Province.

This part of China is hard to visit if you’re a Westerner. Transportation is difficult, and it’s difficult to get around without being able to speak or read the local language.

The best place to head for is Chengdu, a large city in Sichuan Province.

Just outside Chengdu is the famous Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. This is a great place to see many, many Pandas. While it’s possible to see Pandas in zoos all over the World, at the breeding research station you’ll have a rare chance to see Pandas of all ages. Of course, the baby Pandas are a particular attraction.

At the research station you can even get the chance to be photographed holding a baby Panda. This is pretty expensive, so bring plenty of cash if you want this opportunity!

Remember also that Pandas like to sleep. So don’t get to the park too late, or all you’ll see are dozens of dozing Pandas!

It can be a little difficult to find the station if you’re not good at reading or understanding the Chinese language. For this reason, many foreign tourists who visit choose to do so as part of an escorted tour of China. Companies like Wendy Wu tours often include a trip to Chengdu and the Pandas as part of their tours of China.

Zoos with Giant Pandas

Guangzhou zoo's Giant Pandas are a huge draw for the many tourists who visit each day

Guangzhou zoo's Giant Pandas are a huge draw for the many tourists who visit each day

Most larger cities in China have zoos or wildlife parks. These zoos normally have a pair of Giant Pandas on display.

I’ve visited Chinese zoos in Wuhan, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Wuhan’s zoo had seen better days, but it was an interesting day out. The zoo has a pair of Giant Pandas, and many other exhibits. The good thing about this zoo is the extremely low entrance fee!

Shanghai’s zoo wasn’t bad, but I thought it would be more modern for such a thriving city. The zoo had a couple of Giant Pandas, but their enclosure wasn’t really anything special.

Guangzhou’s zoo is pretty good. It’s in a nice central location, and there’s plenty to do. If you an pay extra few Yuan then you can get to watch a couple of live shows, and enter the petting zoo (small children will love this).

Guangzhou also has a much larger wildlife park in the Panyu district. You can get there on the metro.

Giant Pandas in Hong Kong

Red Pandas are also pretty cute. Many zoos have these smaller Panda bears as well

Red Pandas are also pretty cute. Many zoos have these smaller Panda bears as well

While not strictly part of China, Hong Kong also has Giant Pandas. You can go to see them at Ocean Park. This is a theme park/wildlife park on the other side of the island that faces Kowloon. Go on a sunny day and the park affords some spectacular views of the rugged coastline on that side of the island.

Hong Kong is a wealthy place and it shows in the amount of money lavished on the Panda’s enclosure here. Clearly these are two very lucky Giant Pandas indeed!

Red Pandas

Don’t forget to see some Red Pandas while you’re in China. These bears are much smaller than the enigmatic Giant Pandas, but they’re interesting little creatures.

They’re about the size of a small dog, and as the name suggests, they have red coats.

A nice thing about these Pandas is that they love to climb trees. If you’re lucky then you’ll see them eating food in their enclosure, then climbing the nearest tree before taking an afternoon nap.

So if you’re interested in seeing a Giant Panda in real life, then China offers plenty of opportunities to do so.


No comments yet.

Post a Comment

More Holiday Ideas