Asked by Ms.Panda Lover from Hong Kong | Mar. 30, 2009 22:52
About:Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

I'm a complete panda lover and we're planning a long awaited visit to see the Center in a week's time during Easter. I've been reading different sites and somehow getting different information.

Firstly, I read about all the experiences holding a panda and taking a photo which sounds a must do, but I've also read the different amounts people had to pay to hold a panda (from 100s to 1000s).

One of the latest I've heard is you get 7 minutes per person for the experience, RMB500 to hold an adult panda and RMB1000 to hold a baby panda. But that 7 minutes includes getting dressed in protective clothing and you will only actually get 1 minute to take photo's or videos with the panda in your lap. Is this info. correct?

Can anyone who has been and held a panda tell me how much they actually paid and how long they got to hold the panda?

Secondly, I read on the main site that it will cost approx. RMB30 to get there by taxi from Chengdu centre. Is this correct? Has anyone taken a taxi there? If so, how much did it cost and how long did it take? I want to make sure I plan well enough so that I can wake up early enough and arrive at the center as soon as it opens at 8am (according to main site). Although it says the centre opens as early as 7.30am on this site.

And finally, on this site, it says that the entrance fee is 30RMB, but on the main official site, the cost is 58RMB. Not sure if the information on this site is a bit outdated!

Would really appreciate your info. and advice.

Answers (6)
Answered by Ms.Panda Lover from Hong Kong | Apr. 21, 2009 02:07
I finally managed to get to Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Base at Easter. Only took about 35mins by taxi for less than 80 yuan from city centre.
Yaan is about 2-3hrs from Chengdu. We only had 3 days so didn't go to that place.

We saw about 40-50 pandas altogether.
Arrived 7.45am on Saturday morning and allowed in a few minutes before the 8am opening time. There were a few other locals, but luckily no tour groups at that time, so it was nice and quiet to take good pics.
We saw the panda cubs first and they were definitely most active around 8am. About half an hour later, the first tour group arrived. The pandas became a lot less active from as early as about 9.30am. So we were really glad we got there as soon as it opened.

I paid 1000 yuan to have a panda cub in my lap for less than a minute (500yuan to hug adult panda). It was a one off opportunity so paid the high price. We didn't organise it before and couldn't find anyone who could for half an hour, until I saw one of the nearby tour guides (who spoke cantonese too). He kindly helped me arrange it by joining his tour group in the line. It's a good idea to call the base to arrange it before you go.
If you decide to do it, make sure your batteries have enough power and memory cards have space to ensure you don't miss any photo or video opportunity in the few seconds you get to hold the panda.
The guide told me the money goes to development of base after the earthquake. Later heard they charged same high price before earthquake anyway. Just hope money does go to pandas and not to the keepers' greed.

Spent a good 4hrs at the base. There's a swan lake (although not many swans)which had many big goldfish in it which you can pay 5 yuan for food to feed the fish.

You can buy postcards stamps and there's a postbox to send them overseas too at the museum.

I had a great time and my boyfriend proposed to me there too, which made it even more special.

It's a panda lover's paradise!
Answered by Ms.Panda Lover from Hong Kong | Apr. 21, 2009 02:41
Just read some of the other comments and queries.
This is for anyone who is planning to pay for holding a panda at the Chengdu Breeding Base.

Do you have to arrange it beforehand?
If I went again I would definitley call up the base to arrange it before I go. This is esp. if you don't have a guide already who can do it for you. There's a visitor information number you can call to ask about and arrange the visit. I would imagine calling the day before is sufficient unless it's high tourist season in Chengdu.

I also recommend arranging to hold the cub before 10am if they allow it because it may get quite busy after that, especially on weekends. In this way, you may get to hold the cub for the full minute or two without being rushed through the expeerience.

2. Do the pandas look sccared or unhappy?
The panda cub I held seemed quite content as the keepers made sure it had cane to chew. There was one moment when the cub dropped the cane and turned to stare right into my eyes. Then its paw suddenly went for my face. The keepers had to run over and quickly put another cane in the cub's paws before it scratched my face. Then it continued to chew happily! We made sure we didn't use flash when taking pictures.

Was it worthit?
If you're a panda lover, then yes, definitely worthit!
As i say, try and arrange it before and get as much time with the panda when it's not busy and the experience may not feel too rushed.
Some people say the money goes towards the panda base as a donation for research and development which can be very costly. One guide told us they only introduced this (pay and hold a panda) after the earthquake. We later heard it existed long before the earthquake. I spose you will never know for sure, but they do give you a receipt for the 'donation'.

What's the best time to visit?
We're so glad we researched advice online before and arrived at the base at 8am. You'll get better pictures, it's quiet and the pandas are most active then.
Answered by Ms.khia from usa | May. 24, 2009 14:19
I have been to the center and it does cost 100 yuan to hold a panda not a thosand dollars a thosand yuan. It is however worth it and all of the money goes to the pandas. I heard one person say it is greed they charge so much but thats how much it costs to feed all the pandas. If the line is short you can hold the panda much longer. I got to hold the panda for about five minutes and feed him some sugtar cane while holding him. It was an amazing experience.
Answered by Ms.Panda lover | Jun. 06, 2009 08:52
Am definitely angry to read that they are charging significantly different prices then. That is real greed and am very disappointed with this. My boyfriend told me it wasn't even a minute I got to hold the panda and I didn't get to feed it either.

Although I'm sure some of the money goes to the pandas' feed, the keepers must be pocketing 1000s a month for themselves.
Answered by Ms.FRESHONION from Russia | Jun. 19, 2009 07:26
Ms Khia, you paid only 100Y (while most of others were charged 1000). Was this price told or bargained?
Answered by Mrs.Panpan's mom from USA | Aug. 16, 2009 04:04
My daughter (12 years old) held a baby panda in January, 2009. The panda was about one year old and weighed about 100 pounds. We paid $100 USA, she held the panda maybe 2 minutes. I was allowed to go in and take pictures. They fed the panda honey while she was holding it. It was an amazing experience- It is a must do!
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