Image by Wibowo Rusli Getty Images
One of Chéngdū’s most popular attractions, this reserve 18km north of the city centre is the easiest way to glimpse Sìchuān’s most famous residents outside of a zoo. The enclosures here are generally large and well maintained. Home to nearly 120 giant and 76 red pandas, the base focuses on getting these shy creatures to breed.
March to May is the ‘falling in love period’ (wink wink). If you visit during autumn or winter, you may see tiny newborns in the nursery.
Try to visit in the morning, when the pandas are most active. Feeding takes place around opening time at 8am, although you’ll see them eating in the late afternoon too. Pandas spend most of their afternoons sleeping, particularly during the height of midsummer, when they sometimes disappear into their (air-conditioned) living quarters.
From exit A of the Panda Avenue (熊猫大道) station on metro line 3 , a free D025 bus transfer is available from 8.30am to 4pm. A taxi from the city centre costs about ¥50, or hostels run trips here.