Chengdu Panda Center

SONY DSCWe were originally going to spend 3 days in Chengdu as a stop over between Kathmandu and Hong Kong.   Then 2 weeks before we left, Air China cancelled our flight and our 3 days stopover turned into 8 hours.

We arrived in Chengdu at 8:00 am on an overnight flight from Kathmandu.  Our guide told us that they usually do the panda pictures until around 10:30, so it was quite a rush trying to get to the Panda Center from the airport in rush hour traffic and then to the panda picture area in time.  I think the travel gods were smiling down on me that day, because the lack of sleep and rushing around could have turned out disasterous. I was so worried that I would get the kids there for the magic picture and they would be so exhausted that they would not even smile.  Luckily the kids really wanted to hold a panda.

It costs about SONY DSC$165 to hold a panda.  While it sounds expensive, where else are you going to hold a panda?  Besides, the money goes back into the panda breeding program, so it is a win win.   The only problem is that if you are not getting your picture taken, you don’t get to go into the Panda room, even if it just to take pictures. So, we handed over our camera and hoped for the best.   The workers were nice and took pictures and video.SONY DSC

I have never seen so many Pandas in one place.  If you are lucky enough to see Panda’s at a zoo back home, there are usually only one or two.  At the Panda Ceneter, they are everywhere.

The center also has Red Pandas  and a giant koi fish pond. It costs about $20 to get your picture holding a Red Pandas.  The koi pond is unbelievable. It is something you have to see to believe.  I asked our driver if this was special, but he told me that it was like that at most parks.

There is a small café on site by the Koi fish pond.  You can also buy everything Panda that you can think of at kiosiks throughout the park and a large gift store at the entrance where you can also mail postcards.

I can’t say enough good things about our guide Mickal.  He always was quick to answer e-mails when I had questions and he helped get us to the Panda’s in the nick of time before the panda pictures closed.  He spoke very good English, and I would highly recommend him.

Driver/Guide – Mickal – csm028@yahoo.com.cn