Lonely Planet review
One of Chéngdū’s most popular tourist attractions, this reserve, 18km north of the city centre, is the easiest way to catch a glimpse of Sìchuān’s most famous residents outside of a zoo. The enclosures here are large and kept in good condition.
Home to nearly 50 giant and red pandas, the base focuses on getting these sexually reluctant creatures to breed; March to May is the ‘falling in love period’, wink wink. If you visit in autumn or winter, you may see tiny newborns in the nursery.
Try to visit the base in the morning, when the pandas are most active. Feeding takes place around 9.30am, although you’ll see them eating in the late afternoon, too. During the middle of the day they spend most of their time sleeping, particularly during the height of midsummer, when they sometimes disappear into their (air-conditioned) living quarters.
Take bus 60 (¥2, one hour, frequent services 7am to 8pm), a little wooden tourist bus, from outside Traffic Inn to Shulong Lu Longqing Lukou (蜀龙路龙青路口) bus stop, from where the panda base is a 400m walk (come back on yourself and turn right). Alternatively, from North Train Station, you can take bus 69 (¥2, 20 minutes, 6am to 8pm) to Zhāojué Sì Bus Station (昭觉寺公交站; Zhāojué Sì Gōngjiāozhàn) from where bus 87 (¥2, 20 minutes, 6.30am to 8.30pm) runs to the gate of the panda base. All youth hostels run trips here, too.