Trip Details

You’ll be joining us at the Bifengxia Giant Panda base, a branch of the China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda and one of the largest of its kind. It started working in 2003 and suddenly grew in 2008 when Pandas were relocated here from Wolong Panda base, which was devastated in an earthquake that year.

But since this move, the panda population here has more than doubled – which is an amazing achievement. A big share of pandas which you see anywhere in the world has originally come from this panda reserve! The panda base is now looking to releasing the panda into the wild, fulfilling its long term ambition.

If you would like to extend your Panda experience, consider adding on the Panda Wildlife and Culture program to extend your time enjoying the Panda population.

What will you get up to?
You will be involved in working about 4-6 hours a day side by side with panda caretakers by preparing food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, carrots – and of course their favourite – bamboo, providing them food you have put together, cleaning their enclosures and ensuring they are secure in their environment.

Please note: The keepers usually feed the Panda twice in the afternoon. However, this would depend on the individual condition of each Giant Panda and also other circumstances. We cannot guarantee the feeding times and also cannot ensure that every participant would be able to feed a Panda. Feeding tasks are assigned exclusively by the keepers.

Occasionally, you might also be asked to conduct some research of the panda’s habits and medical health so that we may extend our knowledge and experience in caring for this highly endangered species.

As a participant in this special program, you will also have the luxury of being able to walk around the panda reserve, something other visitors usually have to pay for. You’ll be able to see the panda nursery (approx. July to September), animal rescue, educational facilities, and much more. But please do not wander too far into the forest, and make sure to strictly obey the panda caretaker’s directions at all times for the panda’s safety as well as your own safety!

You will be required to be committed to your work, but let the panda caretaker or coordinator know if you cannot keep to the schedule ahead of time and you’ll have a great time with these incredible, beautiful creatures.

But remember: Pandas are wild animals and naturally lazy and and will need some time to relax on their own!

That’s why we offer plenty of Chinese lessons & cultural activities during their resting times, which you can take part in at your leisure. Some activities that you will take part in are:

  • Chinese language lessons (Daily 16:00-18:00 upon request)
  • Mahjong (Chinese chess)
  • Chinese calligraphy
  • Papercraft
  • Dumpling making
  • And more!

Aims & Objectives

  • Give you practical, hands-on experience in animal conservation
  • Assist the program and its staff with your efforts
  • Give you the chance to learn about, and bond with the Pandas

***Take note that the duration of this program is limited to one week bookings only***

 

Trip Itinerary

Sunday
You’ll be picked up from the airport and taken to your hostel. Relax, rest and recover from your journey.

Monday
Chengdu

  • Breakfast
  • Visit Chengdu Panda Breeding Center
  • Lunch
  • A walking tour through the Chengdu City, visit the Tianfu Square, People’s park and the famous ancient pedestrian street of Kuan-zhai Alley
  • Welcome Dinner at a local hot pot restaurant

Tuesday

  • Panda Reserve
  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to the Panda reserve (approx. 3 hours by public bus)
  • Lunch at the Panda Reserve Hostel
  • Orientation: Meet the team of the Panda Reserve and introduce yourself. Understand the rules and regulations, Read and sign the security agreements, watch a safety training video. Get the working manuals and assignments as well as information about the tasks you will carry out during the next days.
  • Registration followed by issue of uniforms, participant card etc.
  • Form working groups. Each group will then elect a ‘Group Leader’
  • Dinner
  • Chinese lesson (optional)

Wednesday
Panda Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • Meet at the Gate of the Panda base at 8:40. A staff member will lead your group to your respective places of work.
  • You should finish your tasks under the Panda keepers’ guidance, such as cleaning the Panda house and feeding the Panda. Tasks are decided on by the Panda keepers
  • During the break, you should fill in the form “My Panda and I”.
    After completing the morning tasks, meet at the participant service center
    Staff will lead you to the Canteen for Lunch
  • After Lunch, you will return to the participant service center. You can take a rest or choose to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.
  • Split into groups and make Panda cake in turns. Panda cake is a form of food for Pandas prepared from fresh ingredients.
  • Free time, you can proceed to complete the assignments if any or assist the staff if required
    Finish your tasks for the day and have free time
  • Free time or join in to making dumplings. Learn the secret behind tasty Chinese dumplings.
  • Dinner
  • Free time. Optionally you can watch some “Panda Videos” or take a rest.

Thursday
Panda Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • If there’s 10 or more participants: Support the Panda reserve staff in simple research activities. These vary depending on need.
  • If there’s less than 10 participants: Prepare food for the Pandas and feed them.
    A short break, then meet at the participant service centre
  • Staff will lead you to the canteen for lunch
  • Post Lunch, return to the service center and choose to take rest or continue to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.
  • Return to where you worked the day before and feed the Panda under the keepers’ guidance.
  • During the break please complete the “My Panda and I” form and any other related assignments.
    Complete your tasks for the day
  • Free time or join our Chinese Calligraphy lessons. Learn the technique of drawing beautiful Chinese characters on paper.
  • Dinner
  • Free time or you can spend your evening learning how to play Mahjong and have fun challenging your opponents. There is no doubt that once you get hooked on Mahjong it’s difficult to let go of it.

Friday
Panda Reserve

  • If there’s 10 or more participants: The Giant Pandas eats between 10 and 20 kilos of bamboo per day. Support the staff to plant more of it to ensure there’s enough food.
  • If there’s less than 10 participants: Prepare food for the Pandas and feed them.
  • A short break, then meet at the participant service centre
  • Staff will lead you to the canteen for lunch
  • Post lunch, return to the service centre and choose to take rest or continue to watch a documentary about the Giant Panda.
  • Return to where you worked the day before and feed the Panda under the keepers’ guidance.
  • Your time at the Panda base is over. Return your work uniform, participant card and gloves at the service centre and also submit the “My panda and I ” form.
  • Summary meeting: Share your work experience with the others. Thereafter, the staff will issue certificates to everybody. Later, you can leave a message on the “Love wall”.
  • All the participants and staff take a photo in front of the service centre. Later the photo will be sent to you by email.
  • Free time. Optionally we arrange a visit to a local temple (Bifeng Temple).
    If you need to return to Chengdu early, e.g. for catching your flight on Saturday morning, now is the time. Our coordinator can help arrange your bus and a hostel in Chengdu at your cost.
  • Dinner
  • You can choose to end your last day of stay at the Panda Base with a taste of Chinese cinema, watch a Chinese movie together at the activity room. Or you can choose to pack your things and get enough rest before your return journey.

Saturday
Chengdu
After breakfast around 8:30 you will be transferred to Chengdu city or airport. If you decide to leave at a different time you will need to arrange and pay your own transport.
If this is the last week of your program (around Chengdu) it’s time for you to say goodbye. You will arrive at the airport around noon. Late afternoon flights are recommended to be on time!
Otherwise stay in Chengdu to connect to your next program.

*Please note that activities and schedules can change at any time based on local conditions and weather conditions *

Please note: Volunteers are unable to hold the baby pandas.

Trip Accommodation

Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province of China and also one among the three most populous cities in Western China. Chengdu is one of the most important economic, financial, commercial, cultural, transportation and communication centers in Western China.

Chengdu also had the reputation of being ranked among one of the most livable cities in China, with bustling streets, new magnificent buildings, historical towns, beautiful monasteries.

Accommodation & Food

Your room will be in a hostel located in the centre of Chengdu city. It features colourful accommodation and offers a tour desk, a garden, a shared lounge, a bar and a restaurant.

There is also a desk, electric kettle, hairdryer and the bathroom comes with free toiletries and slippers.

Limited Private Rooms available. Please contact us to confirm availability

Food Arrangements
Your meals will typically be Chinese dishes common of the local area, comprising mainly rice, noodles and vegetables with some meat. Three meals a day on weekdays and Two on weekends.

Transportation
The accommodation is just a 10-minute walk away from airport shuttle bus station and only a 5-minute walk from Huaxiba Subway Station (line 1).

Shops
The hostel is located in the city and so all amenities are located within walking distance. Shops are open from 10:00 to 22:00 in Chengdu city, Monday to Sunday.

Money
If heading to the Panda reserve, remember Chengdu might be your last chance to withdraw money, as the nearest ATM that accepts international bank or credit cards is an hour away by car from the Panda Base.

Sights & Surroundings
Like any major city, Chengdu has a lot to offer in terms of things to do and see. Although a guidebook can tell you everything you would need to know, here are a few ideas we recommend:

Jinli Street
This is a commercial pedestrian street described as being representative of the city. Here you will find plenty of shops and street food

Wuhou Temple
Located near to Jinli street, this temple complex provides the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle found so close.

Mount Qingcheng
One of the most famous Taoist mountains in China at the top of which you will find Laojun Pavilion.

Bullet Train
Keep in mind that with the new High Speed Train service operating between Chengdu and Guilin, you can now make the trip that was once a 24hr journey in just 8 hours! China’s newest high speed trains, also known as bullet or fast trains, can reach 300 km/h (186 mph), or a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph). That means you have many new options, for combining programs in a variety of locations. The route, along this super fast and technologically-advanced train, couples a comfortable ride adventure with breathtaking scenery, in a way that should not be missed. So… All aboard!

Trip Country Info

China

Capital: Beijing
Language: Standard Chinese
Currency: Renminbi (Yuan) (CNY)
Time zone: CST (UTC +8)

China covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers making it the 2nd largest country by land area. It is not only the country with the largest population in the world but it is also one of the largest economies laying claim to being the world’s largest exporter and 2nd largest importer of goods.

It is a country of incredible cultural history boasting one of the earliest ancient civilisations dating back to around 2800 BC. Its landscape is equally rich in diversity, ranging from its forest steppes, its deserts in the north and subtropical forests in the south to its 14,500km long stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline. All of this makes China an incredible and exciting place to be, both in what it has to offer today and the story of its past.

China has solidified itself as a contender for global recognition and as a tourist hotspot.  We have a number of  travel experiences in China from volunteering & gap year travel  to Tours and Paid Teaching.

With an assortment of climates and social structures, it is near impossible to experience all of China in a gap year trip. You can invest yourself and discover a whole new culture and still miss out on a dozen other cultures within arm’s reach while travelling in China, and these programs are dedicated to helping you help others while experiencing the different wonders of the country. Combine adventuring through nature with helping those less fortunate, and you have got yourself a stellar journey ahead of you. If you are looking for a gap year holiday in China, conservation work, an exciting road trip in China,  volunteer work with Pandas, teaching or other work & travel in China have a look at our latest experiences below or contact us for more information.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age 12

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa