Still, have panda hangover? Another nearby panda base is situated in the southwest of Chengdu! The Bifengxia Base of China Conservation and Research Center of Giant Panda or better known as the Bifengxia Panda Base is located in Ya’an City, Sichuan Province. It is considered as one of largest panda ecological park in the world. Bifengxia Panda Base is well-established in the beautiful valley parted in a ‘V’ shaped form. Its structures are lined in the valley rift that runs for several kilometers long. The valley is home to a magnificent landscape featuring gorges, waterfalls, gardens, and forest. So a visit to the Bifengxia Panda Base is a combination of nature sightseeing and ecology.
The Panda Base started in 2001 and grown into a massive conservation zone of panda breeding and research after the earthquake in 2008 that almost destroyed Wolong National Reserve, the biggest panda center in China. The rescued giant pandas were transferred to other parts of China; however, most of the numbers were brought in the Bifengxia Panda Base. The facility is divided into different areas; the breeding zone, giant panda kindergarten, panda hospital, research center, bamboo woods, and admin office.
What to Expect in Bifengxia Panda Base?
Just like other panda centers in the Sichuan province, Bifengxia Panda Base offers to view these gentle giants in different life stages. You can catch the panda cubs playing in the swing or see-saw in the kindergarten area. Most of the time, however, they are eating or sleeping in their hubs just like their adult versions. Did you know that adult giant pandas eat an average of 25 kilos of bamboos every day? So, yes, expect to see those adorable creatures frequently eating throughout the day. The place also allows viewing of baby pandas in the nursery beside the kindergarten.
Come close and personal with the giant pandas through their Volunteer Program and/or Photo Op. A donation of 250-300 USD is required for you to get a snapshot with a cute little panda. The process usually takes 2 minutes only or depending on the mood of the animal. You will be wearing protective clothing inclusive of the fee. Don’t worry you will sure get a pretty shot. Remember to be cautious when near them, they can still use their sharp claws and teeth.
Most tour packages include a trip along the gorges, a sightseeing bus, elevator, and eco-zoo entrance. The Bifengxia Ecological Zoo features tigers, lions, bears, and other local animals living in three separate areas; the wild beasts, tame zone, and the night zoo. Total package fees cost around 20-30 USD that can be bundled depending on your preference. Of course, Bifengxia Panda Base is the highlight of all the tours in the valley.
How to get into the Bifengxia Valley?
Bifengxia Panda Base is a 3-hour drive from Chengdu. Buses usually depart every hour in the Xinnanmen Bus Station or Shiyangchang Bus Station from 7 AM to 7 PM. The bus ride at 10 USD takes 2 hours going to Ya’an City. From the city’s bus station, you can take a taxi or a minivan going to the Panda Valley. You will arrive in a huge visitor center in Bifengxia Valley. There is a separate bus that will take you from the visitor center to the Panda Base then a service elevator will ferry you down the gorge.
When to Visit the Giant Pandas in the Bifengxia Valley?
The daily operating hours of the Panda Base differ every season, but 8 AM to 4 PM is the estimated opening time. Best to visit during the off-season between October to November to avoid the crowds. It would be recommended to get there as early as you can so you won’t have to wait in long lines. Some tourists opt to stay in nearby hotels to get the best of Bifengxia Valley. Accommodations vary from decent inns to exclusive mountain resorts.
- If you have ample time, explore more of the Bifengxia gorges and other natural attractions the region has to offer to make the trip more memorable.
- We have heard stories of visitors complaining how they got limited sightseeing of the pandas, this is why make sure to visit during cool months with fewer rains at the end of October to November. Giant pandas are more active during mild weather. Rains can make the place a little less enticing since pandas seek shelter in their houses, as well as tourists, might catch cold.
- Since language can be a barrier in understanding the information, an English and Chinese speaking tour guide is helpful to help you navigate and communicate with locals and staff. Better yet, you can prepare printed Chinese signs for asking directions or basic questions.
- Bring water and light snacks when roaming the Panda Base. Remember, do not feed the giant pandas and throw the thrash in proper trash bins.
- Book your tour in advance with a trusted travel agency to have a hassle-free Bifengxia Panda Base experience.
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