Giant Panda Breeding Facility
Things to do in
Possibly your best chance at seeing a giant panda anywhere is at the official Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on the outskirts of Chengdu. The facility opened in 1987 with only a handful of individual pandas, since then they claim to have bred 261 animals and have welcomed some 3.5 million visitors a year (2017). Wild numbers seem to be increasing, but the range is entirely within China's borders and the government claims ownership of each individual panda throughout the world.
A blend of traditional Chinese zoo with gardens and a research & education component, you can spend a few hours here just walking the suggested route away from the water features and toward the mountainside home of the re-established pandas. It's open most days from 7:30am through 6:00pm, expect about $10 equivalent value of ticket price per person.
Realistically not far from Chengdu's airport (CTU) at about 32km (20 miles). Complete the last section of travel on a private vehicle or take public transport in about 90 minutes.
The most stress free route is to enjoy a private vehicle or as part of a larger tour itinerary, however public transport does service the site via the Panda Base Bus Station. From the airport, Metro Line 10 to Metro Line 3 and exit at Panda Avenue, finish the journey to the Panda Base Bus Station via line D025 / 198 / 198A. Any rail station via Metro Line connecting with Line 3 to Panda Avenue!
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