The Wolong Panda Reserve is the hometown of all giant pandas in China. It was the very first ecological conservation facility built in 1963 for the protection and breeding of giant pandas. Other Sichuan Panda Bases rely on Wolong Panda Reserve as the core center for panda breeding. Due to the persistent threats from poachers, deforestation, and the passive lifestyle of pandas, the Wolong Panda Reserve is the first to address this looming problem. In line with these conservation efforts, the giant panda ultimately became the national treasure of China. The Wolong facility is the home to more than a hundred giant pandas and other wildlife before the earthquake in 2008. Luckily, most of the animals survived the disaster and they are temporarily moved to Bifengxia Panda Base for shelter.
Now, the Wolong Panda Reserve Center has been rebuilt and completed in 2016 sponsored by the Hong Kong government. Since then, the Wolong facility opened its doors to travelers and animal enthusiasts. It is located northwest of Chengdu in Gengda Town, Wenchuan County. Wolong being the third largest natural reserve in China, it doesn’t just boast giant pandas but an overflowing species of flora and fauna. The area is composed of vast bamboo forests and lush vegetation set in a cool weather that makes it suitable for raising these gentle beings.
What to Expect in Wolong Panda Reserve?
In the reserve park, giant pandas are not kept in cages instead they roam around freely in the Baby Panda Zone, Sub-Adult Panda Zone, Grown-up Panda Zone, and Wildness Training Zone. It has laboratories as well to facilitate the breeding of giant pandas. These adorable creatures can be seen wandering around in their native habitat; climbing trees, sleeping in awkward positions, munching bamboos, and playing with their kin. Expect to express a lot of ‘oohs and awws’ from this trip because everything you’ve seen in a viral panda video will now be in the flesh.
Similar to other panda bases, Wolong Panda Reserve gives visitors the opportunity to get closer to the giant pandas through the Volunteer Program or Photo Op. The Volunteer Program costs 300 USD for a one day close encounter with the giant pandas through training, base cleaning, feeding, and making food panda cakes. On the other hand, the Photo Op will require you to pay 200 USD to get a 1-minute snapshot with a baby panda.
The Wolong Panda Reserve is well-noted for a serene and quiet park for panda sightseeing unlike other crowded panda centers. Due to the distant area of the reserve, few people visit in a day. You need not to worry about long lines and crowd. The facility is powered with a high-tech GPS system that narrates information in English and Chinese to viewers whenever you go near the enclosure.
How to Get There?
If you are coming from Chengdu, travelers can take the Metro Line 2 going to Chadianzi Coach Station near Jinniu District. The train ride will cost you around 3-5 USD. Then, catch a 3-hour bus ride bound to Xiaojin County or Wolong Town and alight in Wolong. Bus fare is around 8-10 USD.
Other options include hiring a van from Chengdu to take you straight to Wolong Panda Reserve or booking a tour with a travel agency that has private bus transfers to and from the reserve park.
When to Visit Wolong Panda Reserve?
The Wolong Panda attraction is open daily from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Pandas are most active during the morning when they are being fed so get here as early as you can. Furthermore, these animals are not fond of heat so they tend to lounge all day inside their shelters. It is recommended to avoid visiting during summer season in June to August. The best time to come here is around October to November for cooler months.
- The drive going to the Wolong Panda Reserve is a long and mountainous road, it is better to ride during the daylight to prevent accidents.
- Some visitors complain about the limited food stores nearby so, bring water and snacks since the park is not so commercialized to have food options. 3. Rest rooms only provide basic facilities.
- The toilets are usually messy so, stock up on sanitizer and tissues.
- Relieve yourself in nearby rest rooms before exploring the reserve. Toilets are only limited.
- 5. Explore the Wolong Mountains with a trusted tour guide through a day hike. You can coordinate or ask this with your travel agency.
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