On July 18, 2011 I visited the Chengdu Panda Research and Breeding Center through a tour with the Dragon Town Hostel in Chengdu. This tour cost 98 yuan for round trip transportation and the entrance ticket. Pick up time is at 0720 and drop off is around 1200. I am not a fan of hostel tours BUT this is actually a pretty good deal. First of all the regular entrance ticket is 58 yuan and you are looking at least 20 yuan each way,if not more. Also finding a cab at that time of morning willing to drive all the way out there is going to be difficult in Chengdu. The best time to see the pandas is during the feeding time which happens between 0900 -0930 and afterwards they usually go back to their busy day of laying about doing nothing, not even breeding which is apparently really hard to get pandas to do (no wonder they are going extinct, they are lazy and they have problems with procreating). The Chengdu Panda Research and Breeding Center is a place I love to go since sometimes it is hard to see really conservation projects in China. This center has a great deal of education materials in both Chinese and English and you get the feeling during certain times of the day that this center values the pandas’ well being above making tourist happy, with the exception of the option to hold or pet the pandas. If you feel the need/desire to touch endangered species then Chengdu is happy to indulge you…for a price. For 400 yuan gets you about five or ten minutes petting an adult panda while he/she eats apples, and for 1000 yuan gets you some time (unsure about the length of time, but it is short) holding a toddler panda who are incredibly adorable. The park isn’t big so the tour was ample time giving me enough time to take pictures and walk around to some enclosures a few times, and when it gets hot the pandas do enjoy there air conditioning and will be inside by 1100.

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