China Giant Panda Conservation Chengdu

7 days

from £459

Trip Highlights

  • Play a part in helping to save pandas from extinction
  • Work closely with panda keepers and the pandas!
  • Immerse yourself with the Chinese way of life

Trip Summary

Pandas are one of the most endangered animals in the world, and this conservation project is a fantastic opportunity to observe and help these amazing bamboo-loving creatures.

Located within a beautiful mountain region of the Wolong Nature Reserve, 150 kilometres from Chengdu City, you’ll be working closely with the pandas! This is the largest Panda base in China, and the care you provide will genuinely help the Panda reserve to protect these animals from extinction.  

Full training will be given and typical activities included cleaning the pandas' living areas and preparing food and feeding them. You may also be asked to conduct some research into their habits and health, to extend the knowledge and caring activities for this highly endangered species. 

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

On arrival you will be picked up from Chengdu airport by one of our English speaking coordinators. You’ll be transferred to Chengdu City using public transport where you will stay the night in a hostel. This transfer will take approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic. You’ll then have the rest of the day and evening to rest and recover from your journey.

After a morning’s rest the following day, you’ll have a tour of Chengdu city which includes local markets, parks, the business quarter and the famous ancient pedestrian street of Kuan-zhai Alley. 

There will be a welcome dinner in one of the city’s restaurants in the evening. 

The following morning (typically a Tuesday) you will be transferred to the Panda Reserve by bus which takes approximately 3 hours.

After lunch at the panda base, you’ll have a brief and introduction to the work you’ll be doing. You’ll be issued with your uniform and volunteer card and anything else that you need during your time at the reserve. The next morning, you’ll meet and get to know the panda keepers whom you’ll be assisting and have a guided tour of the base.

Later on, you’ll have dinner at the hostel restaurant. 

The schedule may vary from week to week depending on the needs of the project, so it is important that you are flexible and follow all instructions given to you by the Panda keepers who are helping you.

General duties include:

  • Ensure that the pandas are secure and safe in their environment
  • Cleaning panda pens and surrounding area
  • Preparing food such as apples, panda bread, carrots and bamboo
  • Chopping and carrying bamboo 

Departure

Your programme will finish on a Saturday and you'll be transferred to Chengdu airport or Chengdu City at 9:00am. We recommend arranging your flights from the late afternoon onwards.

Panda base is on a mountain, so do not expect the bright lights, clubs and bars of a large city! There will be a fair bit of free time once all of your daily duties are finished – after all, pandas like their own space! It can get pretty chilly in the evenings expecially so we recommend bringing some warm clothes with you too!

There are a number of things you could do to keep you occupied, such as;

  • Visit the local market and ancient bridge in Ya’an city
  • Play Table Tennis, Mah-jong and Chinese Chess
  • Take part in free Chinese language lessons from 4pm – 6pm daily
  • Go trekking (there are many famous waterfalls in the mountain close to the reserve, set in peaceful and beautiful natural scenery and mountain fresh air)
  • Also, you’ll have a free pass to access all areas of the Panda Reserve.

During the weekends, you'll be able to go further afield. A member of the in-country team will be happy to help you organise trips to Hot Spring Resort, a Cruise on Yangtze River, the City of Ya'an or to the Sichuan Opera with traditional 'face changing' masks.  

Accommodation & Meals

When staying in Chengdu City for your first two nights, your accommodation will be in a hostel with 4-6 beds and a shared bathroom.

The accommodation is in the Panda base, which is very large and enclosed in the mountains. You’ll be staying in a recently renovated hostel within the reserve in a twin rooms with a TV, 24 hour hot water and asian style toilet.

There is a bar in the hostel which is popular for parties, movies and purchasing cold drinks.

Laundry facilities are available for a small charge (20 CNY each time)

There are free WI-FI facilities at the accommodation.

You will be provided with three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. These will be Chinese dishes typical of the local area, comprising mainly rice, noodles and vegetables with some meat. 

Eligibility & FAQ's

Minimum 18 years, maximum decided on potential participants health and fitness.

Whats Included

  • Accommodation
  • Food (3 meals a day)
  • Tour of Chengdu City
  • Orientation and Induction
  • Local in-country team and 24 hour support
  • Arrival Airport Transfer from Chengdu Airport (Sunday)
  • Departure Airport Transfer or Transfer to Chengdu City

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Additional Tours/Trips

Flights

You should arrange your flights to arrive into Chengdu Airport between 8am and midnight on your programme start date. We recommend that your departure flight after 3pm on your programme end date.

To book your flights, please contact our amazing flights team on 01892 277037 who can find the best deal of the day for you! 

It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination. 

Visa Information

You will need to arrange a tourist visa for your visit to China. You will enter on an L tourist visa, to cover the entire length of your stay in China. Please note that once your visa is granted you must enter China within 90 days, so do not apply for the visa too early. IMPORTANT NOTE - You must apply for a tourist visa only. On your application form please put down "tourism" as the reason for your visit to China. It is important that you do not mention that you are volunteering as this can cause complications at the embassy and may result in the rejection of your visa. As you have paid for all board and accommodation, you are considered a tourist.

As part of your application you will need an invitation letter. Please click here, complete your details in the sections that are highlighted yellow, then print a copy of the letter to include with your visa application. You will also be required to show a return flight itinerary for your time in China along with your completed application form and relevant fee.

To apply for a visa you will need to contact your nearest Chinese Embassy to find out how to apply. In the UK you can apply in person by booking an appointment, applying by post or by using a visa courier service (see below).

Visa courier service: If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your Chinese visa on your behalf, we recommend Travcour who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward. To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.

Reviews

I've done this trip

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Overall Rating 9/10

(2 Reviews)

kerrie bates

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Pandas obviously :) Li our co-ordinator was also brilliant The addition of the visit to the Chengdu Research base as that wasn't in our notes (I don't think)

Tips for other travellers?

Bring a Camera, Old trainers (get covered in Panda wee), Games to play

Any other comments?

I think you should do a day in the life of a panda volunteer in the trip notes. There were 12 of us and we were all a little disappointed by the lack of work. I think you should say a typical day looks like this: 1-1 and half hours cleaning in morning, feed at 11.30, feed at 14.00 and feed at 15.30. Feeding takes 15-20mins depending on the panda. We asked to do more but there wasn't really anything else.

laura longland

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Definitely contact with giant pandas far beyond what you could ever hope to experience as a visitor to such a park.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

I feel there was a lot more we could have helped with in the park. We had a lot of free time and our service could have been put to better use. Maybe helping prepare the panda cake or harvesting the bamboo.

Tips for other travellers?

1. be prepared to work hard and sweat, but there is also a lot of waiting around. The pandas like to be left alone to eat and sleep in peace a lot of the time so there is not much for you to do for a lot of the day. 2. Come with an open mind and ready to enjoy experiences as they arise. 3. come for two weeks. One is just not long enough to get a good idea of what goes on at the park and more than two would be too repetitive and there is not enough in the local area to keep you entertained on your days off.

Any other comments?

Would have been good to know before hand that we would not actually be transferred to the park until the middle of the first week. I didn't find that out until after I had paid and confirmed when I received my briefing. This could have an impact on some peoples experience. Also because the experience was actually run by a third party I felt there were lots of small discrepancies in the information I was given and the reality. For example I was told to book forward travel after 3pm to ensure I would be able to make it. In actual fact we arrived back in Chengdu by 8.30am so I was left waiting around all day. Would have been better to have a fixed itinerary in advance.

Dates & Prices

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China Giant Panda Conservation Chengdu - 7 days 2nd Apr 2017 £459 Book Now
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China Giant Panda Conservation Chengdu - 7 days 3rd Dec 2017 £459 Book Now
China Giant Panda Conservation Chengdu - 7 days 17th Dec 2017 £459 Book Now

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