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How To Visit The Pandas In Chengdu


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Cathe Varghese



Welcome to Chengdu, the captivating capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China! Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and most famously, the adorable giant pandas, Chengdu offers visitors a unique travel experience. With its charming streets, teahouse culture, and spicy Sichuan cuisine, this city is a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, also known as the Chengdu Panda Base, which is one of the most important panda conservation centers in the world. It is here where you can get up close and personal with these incredible creatures, observe their playful antics, and even participate in volunteer programs to contribute to their well-being.


Getting to Chengdu is relatively easy, with direct flights from major cities in China and international connections. The city is well-connected by an extensive network of public transportation, making it convenient to explore its many attractions. Whether you’re a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or a history buff, Chengdu offers something for everyone.


During your visit to Chengdu, you’ll have the opportunity to not only spend time with the lovable pandas but also discover the city’s rich cultural heritage. Be sure to explore the historic Jinli Ancient Street, where you can immerse yourself in traditional architecture, local crafts, and street performances. The Wenshu Monastery, with its serene atmosphere and beautiful garden, is another must-visit destination for those seeking tranquility.


Chengdu is also famous for its vibrant culinary scene, and no visit is complete without indulging in its renowned Sichuan cuisine. From the fiery hotpot to the mouth-numbing sensation of Mapo Tofu, Chengdu is a food lover’s paradise. Don’t miss the chance to sample a variety of local dishes and experience the bold flavors that Sichuan cuisine is known for.


In this guide, we will dive deeper into the details of visiting the pandas at the Chengdu Panda Base, explore other attractions in Chengdu, offer tips for a successful visit, and provide insights into the local cuisine. So, pack your bags, get ready to witness the cuteness overload of pandas, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Chengdu.


Getting to Chengdu

When it comes to traveling to Chengdu, you have several options depending on your starting point. The city is well-connected domestically and internationally, making it easily accessible for visitors from around the world.


If you are flying from overseas, the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is the main gateway to the city. It serves numerous international destinations, including major cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. Once you arrive at the airport, you can take a taxi or the airport shuttle bus to reach your accommodation in Chengdu.


For domestic travelers, there are frequent flights connecting Chengdu with major cities in China. Many airlines operate regular flights to and from Chengdu, providing convenient options for travelers. The journey by air is fast and comfortable, allowing you to reach Chengdu in just a few hours from most major cities in China.


If you prefer train travel, Chengdu boasts excellent rail connections. The city has several train stations, including Chengdu East Railway Station and Chengdu North Railway Station. High-speed trains connect Chengdu with many cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Xi’an. Traveling by train is a great option to enjoy scenic views along the way and experience the convenience of city center-to-city center transportation.


For those who prefer a more adventurous route, you can also consider traveling to Chengdu by bus. China has an extensive bus network, and Chengdu is well-linked to neighboring cities and provinces. Long-distance buses offer an affordable and flexible option for travelers, allowing you to take in the landscapes and make stops at smaller towns along the way.


Once you have arrived in Chengdu, getting around the city is a breeze. Chengdu has a well-developed transportation system, including an efficient metro network, public buses, and taxis. The metro system is particularly convenient, with multiple lines covering key areas of the city and providing easy access to major attractions.


When planning your visit to Chengdu, make sure to check the latest travel information and any entry requirements, such as visas, for international travelers. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and book your transportation tickets in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey to Chengdu.


Accommodation in Chengdu

Chengdu offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses, or cozy boutique accommodations, you’ll find plenty of choices in this vibrant city.


For travelers seeking luxury and comfort, there are several high-end hotels and international chains located in the city center. These hotels offer top-notch amenities, spacious rooms, and professional service. Many of them also provide stunning views of the city skyline or easy access to popular attractions. Prices for luxury accommodations in Chengdu can vary depending on the location and the services offered, so it’s recommended to book in advance to secure the best deals.


If you’re on a tighter budget, don’t worry. Chengdu has a great selection of budget-friendly accommodations, including hostels and guesthouses. These establishments provide clean and comfortable rooms at affordable prices, making them ideal for backpackers or budget-conscious travelers. Staying in these accommodations also gives you the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and exchange travel tips and experiences.


For those looking for a unique experience, Chengdu is home to several boutique hotels that offer a blend of traditional aesthetics and modern comforts. These boutique accommodations often feature stylish décor, personalized service, and a cozy ambiance. Staying in a boutique hotel allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture while enjoying the comfort of a well-designed space.


When deciding where to stay in Chengdu, it’s recommended to choose a location that suits your interests and travel plans. The city center, particularly the Tianfu Square area, is a popular choice as it provides easy access to major attractions, shopping malls, and dining options. Other neighborhoods, such as Jinjiang and Wuhou, offer a more relaxed atmosphere and are known for their local charm.


Overall, Chengdu offers a diverse range of accommodation options to cater to different tastes and budgets. Whether you prefer the luxury of a five-star hotel, the affordability of a budget guesthouse, or the uniqueness of a boutique hotel, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Chengdu.


Visiting the Chengdu Panda Base

A trip to Chengdu wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Chengdu Panda Base, a conservation center dedicated to the protection and breeding of giant pandas. Located just outside the city center, the base provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see these adorable creatures up close and learn about their conservation efforts.


When visiting the Chengdu Panda Base, it’s important to plan your trip in advance to make the most of your experience. Here are some tips to help you have a memorable visit:


1. Time your visit: The best time to visit the Chengdu Panda Base is in the morning when the pandas are most active. Arriving early allows you to catch them during their feeding time and witness their playful behavior. Avoid weekends and public holidays if possible, as they tend to be more crowded.


2. Explore the base: The Chengdu Panda Base is a sprawling facility with different areas to explore. Take your time to wander through the lush bamboo groves and various enclosures to observe the pandas in their natural habitats. Be sure to check the schedule for panda feeding and interactive programs, as they offer unique opportunities to learn more about these gentle creatures.


3. Volunteer programs: If you’re passionate about pandas and want to contribute to their conservation efforts, consider participating in volunteer programs at the Chengdu Panda Base. These programs allow you to engage in activities such as preparing food for the pandas, cleaning enclosures, and assisting with research. It’s a rewarding experience that gives you a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by these endangered species.


4. Photography tips: Capture the perfect panda moment by bringing a camera with a zoom lens. Pandas can sometimes be seen lounging on trees or playing together, so be ready to capture those adorable poses. Remember to respect the guidelines and avoid using flash photography, as it can disturb the pandas.


5. Don’t miss the red pandas: While the giant pandas steal the spotlight, don’t forget to explore the red panda area at the Chengdu Panda Base. These cute and elusive creatures are equally fascinating to observe and photograph.


The Chengdu Panda Base is not only a place to see adorable pandas but also an institution dedicated to research, breeding, and conservation. By visiting, you are supporting their efforts to protect these majestic animals and their habitats. So, take your time, enjoy the experience, and cherish the memories of your encounter with these remarkable creatures.


Panda Encounters

When visiting the Chengdu Panda Base, you have several opportunities for up-close and personal encounters with these lovable creatures. Here are some of the ways you can make the most of your panda experience:


Panda Nursery: One of the highlights of the Chengdu Panda Base is the panda nursery, where you can see adorable baby pandas. Here, you’ll witness the developmental stages of the pandas, from their early days to their playful antics. It’s a heartwarming experience to observe these tiny pandas being cared for by dedicated staff.


Panda Kindergarten: At the Chengdu Panda Base, you can also observe young pandas in their kindergarten area. Here, the pandas learn to climb trees, play with each other, and develop their social skills. Watching these young pandas frolic and interact is a delightful sight that will surely bring a smile to your face.


Red Panda Encounter: In addition to giant pandas, the Chengdu Panda Base is also home to red pandas. These adorable creatures are known for their bushy tails and playful nature. During your visit, you can have an opportunity to observe and learn about these fascinating animals. The red panda enclosures provide a close-up view of their natural behaviors.


Panda Volunteer Programs: For an even more immersive and meaningful experience, consider participating in a panda volunteer program. These programs allow you to get involved in the daily care and feeding of pandas, under the guidance of experienced staff. You may have the chance to prepare their food, clean their enclosures, or assist with research activities. It’s an incredible opportunity to make a direct contribution to panda conservation efforts.


Panda Photography: Capture the memories of your panda encounters by taking photographs. The Chengdu Panda Base provides designated areas where you can photograph the pandas up close. Remember to respect the guidelines, avoid using flash photography, and maintain a safe distance from the animals. The base also offers professional photography services, allowing you to have a keepsake of your visit.


Remember, while interacting with pandas can be a thrilling experience, it’s important to prioritize the well-being and conservation of these endangered animals. Follow the instructions of the staff, be mindful of your actions, and always maintain a respectful distance from the pandas. By doing so, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable encounter while contributing to the conservation efforts of these gentle giants.


Other Attractions in Chengdu

Chengdu is not only famous for its adorable pandas but also offers a wealth of other attractions that showcase the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty. Here are some must-visit places in Chengdu:


Jinli Ancient Street: Step back in time as you stroll down Jinli Ancient Street, a bustling pedestrian street that reflects the charm of ancient Chengdu. Lined with traditional-style buildings, this street is filled with shops, teahouses, street vendors, and local snacks. It’s the perfect place to soak up the ambiance, shop for souvenirs, and sample delicious Sichuan street food.


Wenshu Monastery: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the tranquil Wenshu Monastery. This Buddhist temple, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, is renowned for its exquisite architecture, beautiful gardens, and serene atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll through the temple grounds, explore the various halls, and even participate in a tea ceremony at one of the teahouses within the monastery.


Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding: While the main focus of the Chengdu Panda Base is pandas, it is also home to other fascinating animals. Explore the Wildlife Park section of the base, where you can encounter rare and endangered species such as red pandas, golden monkeys, and black swans. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about biodiversity and conservation efforts beyond the giant pandas.


Leshan Giant Buddha: Embark on a day trip from Chengdu to visit the majestic Leshan Giant Buddha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the largest stone Buddha statue in the world, it stands over 71 meters tall and is an awe-inspiring sight. Take a boat ride to admire the Buddha from the river, or climb the stairs for a closer look and panoramic views of the surrounding area.


Mount Qingcheng: If you’re seeking natural beauty and spiritual serenity, a visit to Mount Qingcheng is a must. Known as one of the birthplaces of Taoism, this lush mountain offers scenic hiking trails, ancient temples, and serene bamboo forests. Explore the mountain at your own pace or join a guided tour to learn about its cultural significance and enjoy breathtaking views from the summit.


Sichuan Opera: Immerse yourself in the local culture by watching a Sichuan Opera performance. Known for its unique face-changing techniques, fire-breathing, and acrobatic stunts, Sichuan Opera is a traditional art form that showcases the vibrant spirit of the region. Enjoy a dynamic performance of music, storytelling, and colorful costumes for an evening of entertainment.


These are just a few of the many attractions that Chengdu has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or food, Chengdu provides a diverse range of experiences to suit every traveler’s interests. So, don’t limit your visit to just the pandas; make sure to explore the other fascinating aspects of this captivating city.


Local Cuisine in Chengdu

Chengdu is renowned for its mouthwatering cuisine, which is rich in flavors, spices, and unique ingredients. Sichuan cuisine, with its bold and fiery flavors, takes center stage in Chengdu’s culinary scene. Here are some must-try dishes and local delicacies to experience the true taste of Chengdu:


Hotpot: A visit to Chengdu is incomplete without indulging in the fiery delight of Sichuan hotpot. Choose from a variety of broths, ranging from mild to extra spicy, and select your favorite ingredients, such as thinly sliced meat, fresh vegetables, and tofu. Dip them into the bubbling pot and savor the tantalizing flavors that will leave your taste buds tingling.


Mapo Tofu: Mapo Tofu is a classic Sichuan dish that showcases the region’s signature flavors. It features soft tofu cubes cooked in a fiery sauce made from chili bean paste, Sichuan peppercorns, and minced pork. The combination of spicy, numbing, and savory flavors is truly addictive.


Kung Pao Chicken: Kung Pao Chicken is another iconic dish from Chengdu. It consists of diced chicken, peanuts, and crunchy vegetables, all stir-fried in a spicy and tangy sauce. The contrasting textures and flavors make it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.


Dan Dan Noodles: Dan Dan Noodles, a staple street food in Chengdu, is a noodle dish tossed in a rich and spicy sauce made with chili oil, ground pork, soy sauce, and Sichuan peppercorns. The combination of chewy noodles and bold flavors creates a satisfying and addictive dish.


Twice-Cooked Pork: Twice-Cooked Pork is a beloved Sichuan dish that combines tender slices of pork belly, stir-fried with garlic, chili bean paste, and Sichuan preserved vegetables. The pork is initially simmered, then sliced and stir-fried to achieve a deliciously crispy texture.


Huiguorou: Huiguorou, also known as Double-Cooked Pork, is a popular dish in Chengdu. It features slices of tender pork belly that are first boiled, then thinly sliced and stir-fried with garlic, ginger, and spicy bean paste. The end result is a mouthwatering combination of savory, sweet, and spicy flavors.


In addition to these iconic dishes, Chengdu also offers a wide variety of street snacks, such as spicy rabbit heads, Chuan Chuan Xiang (skewers), and Guokui (a type of flatbread stuffed with various fillings). Don’t forget to try the refreshing Sichuan-style mala fruit salad for a zesty and spicy twist.


Chengdu’s food culture is not just about the flavors; it’s also about the vibrant atmosphere of local teahouses, where you can unwind and sip on a cup of traditional Sichuan tea. The teahouses also serve a range of snacks, including dumplings, pastries, and small dishes to accompany your tea.


With its bold flavors, varied dishes, and lively food scene, Chengdu is truly a culinary playground for food lovers. Immerse yourself in the local cuisine, explore the night markets, and savor the unforgettable flavors that make Chengdu a food lover’s paradise.


Tips for a Successful Visit

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to Chengdu, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:


1. Plan your itinerary: Chengdu offers a plethora of attractions and activities, so it’s important to plan your itinerary in advance. Research the places you want to visit, decide on the duration of your stay, and allocate sufficient time for each activity. This will help you make the most of your time and avoid missing out on must-see attractions.


2. Learn a few Mandarin phrases: While many people in Chengdu can speak basic English, knowing a few key Mandarin phrases can go a long way in making your interactions smoother. Phrases such as “hello,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” can be helpful in various situations, from ordering food to asking for directions.


3. Be prepared for spicy food: Sichuan cuisine is known for its fiery and spicy flavors. If you aren’t accustomed to spicy food, it’s important to inform the waitstaff about your preference for milder dishes. You can also try asking for “xiao la” (less spicy) versions of the dishes you order.


4. Dress comfortably: Chengdu experiences hot summers and mild winters, so it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather. Wear comfortable shoes for exploring the city as there may be a fair amount of walking involved, especially at attractions like the Chengdu Panda Base.


5. Carry cash: While major establishments in Chengdu accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to carry some cash, especially for smaller local shops, street vendors, and transportation services. ATMs are readily available in the city, but it’s always helpful to have cash on hand for convenience.


6. Respect local customs: Chengdu has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions during your visit. Be mindful of appropriate behavior and dress modestly when visiting temples and religious sites. Additionally, it’s customary to ask for permission before taking photos of locals.


7. Stay hydrated: Chengdu’s climate can be humid, so it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it as needed. You can also sample local drinks like barley tea or Sichuan-style iced lemonade to keep refreshed.


8. Take care of your health: Remember to take care of your health during your visit. Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating, and consider carrying hand sanitizer. Also, be cautious with street food and make sure it’s prepared and cooked properly before consuming.


9. Pack necessary essentials: Before heading out for the day, pack essentials such as sunscreen, a hat or cap, insect repellent, and a small umbrella, as the weather can be unpredictable. It’s also recommended to carry a small backpack or bag to keep your belongings secure and easily accessible.


10. Embrace the local culture: Chengdu has a unique and vibrant local culture. Take the time to observe and immerse yourself in the local customs, try traditional activities like tea tasting, and interact with the friendly locals. Engaging with the local culture will enhance your experience and create lasting memories.


By following these tips, you can ensure a successful and memorable visit to Chengdu. So, pack your curiosity and enthusiasm, and get ready to explore this captivating city in the heart of Sichuan.



A trip to Chengdu offers an unforgettable experience, from visiting adorable giant pandas to exploring the city’s rich cultural heritage and indulging in its mouthwatering cuisine. The Chengdu Panda Base provides a unique opportunity to witness these incredible creatures up close and contribute to their conservation efforts. But Chengdu is more than just pandas – it’s a city that captivates with its vibrant teahouse culture, historic streets, and delectable Sichuan cuisine.


Whether you’re strolling down Jinli Ancient Street, savoring the numbing heat of a Sichuan hotpot, or immersing yourself in the tranquility of the Wenshu Monastery, Chengdu offers a plethora of experiences to satisfy all interests. From towering mountains to world-class opera performances, there’s never a dull moment in this enchanting city.


By planning ahead, respecting local customs, and embracing the unique aspects of Chengdu’s culture, you can ensure a successful and memorable visit. Engage with the local community, try new flavors, and take home cherished memories of encounters with adorable pandas and the warmth of Chengdu’s locals.


Whether you’re a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or a history buff, Chengdu is a destination that will enchant and amaze you. So, pack your bags, fuel your curiosity, and embark on a journey to discover the wonders of Chengdu, where giant pandas, vibrant culture, and unforgettable moments await.