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Trip Details

 1 Day Panda Volunteer & Exploring Tour

1 Day Panda Volunteer & Exploring Tour

Date: All Year Round

Price: From 185USD/PAX

Trip Focus: Panda + Volunteer

Status: Open to Booking

Route: Chengdu–Panda Volunteer Program–Chengdu

Trip Code: P004

Overview



Sichuan is a panda lover's dream. With 80% of all pandas living in this Chinese province, it is no wonder why the city of Chengdu is endearingly nicknamed “the homeland of the panda”. For those looking to learn more about these delightful animals and the conservation efforts behind their continued survival, coming to Chengdu is a must. In particular, travelers can make a positive impact by participating in a panda volunteer program at one of Sichuan’s many panda bases. With this tour from AbsolutePanda, we are more than capable of helping you get involved in an exciting day of activities where you will get up close and personal with these captivating animals. The program is available in three panda bases under CCRCGP (China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda), namely Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base, Dujiangyan Panda Ark and Bifengxia Panda Base upon reservation in advance and providing necessary required documents.

In this program, we will take volunteers to the panda base of their choice. They will work side by side with a panda keeper in a certain enclosure to take daily routine works for a panda. By doing this, they can gain in-depth knowledge about panda’s daily life, prepare food and hand feed captive pandas. To recognize the hard work of volunteers, CCRCGP will grant the volunteer a certificate to thank their hard work and contributions. The volunteering normally starts at around 9:00 a.m. It can be a half-day program, a full-day program or multiple days of continuous work. To ensure the full enjoyment of our clients, AbsolutePanda provides flexible volunteering program which can combine nearby attractions and arrange guide excelled in different fields to make good use of your travel time and meet your personal taste and travel style best. 



Highlights:

• Experiencing routine work of a panda keeper by working in one designated panda enclosure.

 Gaining an in-depth understanding of the daily lives of captive pandas.

• Unique experiences of accessing areas not open to the general public.

 Flexible length of volunteer work ranging from half a day to full day.

• Option to visit some exciting tourist attractions near the panda base where you volunteer.

• Be recognized for your hard work with a volunteer certificate commemorating your contributions to the giant panda conservation.

• Come to face to face with pandas and other captive animals available in the respective base.



Introduction to CCRCGP and Its Volunteer Sites:

 

China Conservation and Protection Center of Giant PandaCCRCGP
The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) is the largest research institute for pandas in the world in terms of the number of total captive pandas and panda bases with over 300 panda individuals. The goal of CCRCGP is to release as many captive giant pandas as possible into the wild and to expand the wild giant panda population by increasing the genetic diversity of the Giant Panda so that this endangered species can continue to survive.  


 

Dujiangyan Panda Ark
Dujiangyan Panda Ark is located at the mountain foot of Qingcheng Mountain. Mainly focusing on panda rescue, husbandry, and disease control, its facilities have a critical impact on the continued survival of the Giant Panda. It takes about a 1.5~2 hours drive from downtown Chengdu to arrive at the base. The base has several pandas rescued from the wild and some others are returned from overseas, such as the famous panda-Taishan who was born in Washington D.C. Dujiangyan Panda Ark is very close to the UNESCO cultural heritage sites, the 2200-year old Dujiangyan Irrigation System and the Qingcheng Mountain. 
 

Bifengxia Panda BaseBifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an
Bifengxia Panda Base is located within Bifengxia Scenic Spots in Ya’an city, which is one of the starting points of the Tea and Horse Trade Route. Thanks to the humid and warm climate conditions in this area, the Bifengxia Panda Base has the most natural surroundings compared with other panda bases. The beautiful scenic Bifengxia Gorge is located just beside. If you like hiking, it is a perfect place for a half-day nature hike after volunteering.


 

Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base
Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base is a new panda base built with the charity donation from Hong Kong Government after the 2008 earthquake when the old Wolong Panda Base was damaged by the earthquake. It takes about a 2-hour drive from Chengdu to the base. This base has the best natural temperature for the pandas and is an excellent place for people who want to see active panda cubs with fewer crowds. Wolong Giant Panda Habitat Reserve around this area is one of the most important giant panda habitats.



How Can We Make This Trip Special?


a. A Team of Passionate Guides Specializing in Different Fields.



b. Different Price Options to Better Meet Your Travel Style.

AbsolutePanda offers different price choices for certain short-term tours. Please see the details on the Dates & Prices page of this tour.


Map



                                Three Panda Volunteer Sites Map

 

Itinerary

 

 

For your convenience, we made the following hour-by-hour itineraries to give you a rough idea about volunteering time frame based on our running volunteering programs for many years. Please note that they may be slightly different from what actually happens. Please also note the afternoon program is largely a repeat of what you have done in the morning. If you prefer to use the afternoon time to visit some other places. You can just have half-day volunteering and use the rest of the day to explore more. Please feel free to contact us and tell us your needs, we will help you plan your own volunteer day itinerary.


Day Itineraries for Volunteering at Different Panda Bases


Option 1:

Dujiangyan Panda Ark Volunteering 


This day Itinerary starting from Chengdu for Volunteering at Dujiangyan Panda Ark


7:00-8:30  Meet your guide and driver at your hotel, then drive directly to Dujiangyan Panda Base.
                                 

8:30-9:00   Volunteer check-in, presenting document, briefing, signing papers, and changing clothes.
  

9:00-10:00  Cleaning the enclosure and preparing bamboo.

10:00-11:00  Free time to visit other enclosures for giant pandas, red pandas, and Asiatic Black Bear.

11:00-12:00  Feeding time.

12:00-13:00  Lunchtime.

13:00-15:00  Watch panda documentary movie and second feeding.

15:00-16:00  Repeat of morning work, much less work compared with morning.

16:00-17:30  Drive back to your hotel and AbsolutePanda service ends.
 

 

Map of surroundings of Dujiangyan Panda Base

You can consider one of the following programs if you just want to do half a day volunteering and make good use of your afternoon time.

 For example, you can choose one of the following sites nearby to enjoy your time after lunch.            

 

 

 • Visiting the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. (Tickets fee on your own)

 • Touring Jiezi Old Town.

 • Returning to Chengdu and spending a couple of hours exploring Chengdu.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Option 2: 

Day Itinerary starting from Chengdu for Volunteering at Wolong Panda Base    

06:30-08:30 Meet your guide and driver at your hotel, then drive directly to Wolong Panda Base.
      
08:30
-09:00 Volunteer check-in, presenting document, briefing, signing papers, and changing clothes.

09:00-10:00 Cleaning the enclosure and preparing bamboo.

10:00
-11:00 Free time to visit enclosures for other pandas.

11:00
-11:30 Feeding time.

11:30
-12:00 Free time to explore.

12:00-13:00 Lunch time.

01:00
-03:00 Second feeding.

03:00
-04:00 Repeat of morning work.

04:00
-05:30 Drive back to your hotel and AbsolutePanda service ends.



 

Map of surroundings of Wolong Panda Base

You can consider one of the following programs if you just want to do half a day volunteering at Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base after lunch. 

 

• Visiting the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.

 • Visiting Yinxiu 2008 Earthquake Memorial.

 • Visiting Shuimo Ancient Village.
  
 • Returning to Chengdu and spending a couple of hours exploring Chengdu.



 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         



Option 3: 

Day Itinerary starting from Chengdu for Volunteering at Bifengxia Panda Base                                              

6:30-08:30 Meet your guide and driver at your hotel, then drive directly to Bifengxia Panda Base.

08:30-09:00 
Volunteer check-in, presenting document, briefing, signing papers, and changing clothes.

09:00-10:00 Cleaning the enclosure and preparing bamboo.

10:00
-11:00 Free time to visit other enclosures to see more pandas.

11:00
-11:30 Feeding time.

11:30
-01:00 Lunchtime and have a free rest time.

01:00
-03:00 Second feeding.

03:00
-04:00 Repeat of morning work.

04:00
-05:30 Drive back to your hotel and AbsolutePanda service ends.


 

Map of surroundings of Bifengxia Panda Base

You can consider one of the following programs if you just want to do half a day volunteering at Wolong Bifengxia Panda Base after lunch.  

 

• Hiking in scenic Bifengxia Gorge.
 
• Visiting a tea plantation on the way back to Chengdu.
 
• Touring Shangli Ancient Village.
 
• Returning to Chengdu and spending a couple of hours exploring Chengdu. 



 

Dates & Prices



1. Dates

This trip is available all year round. 

Important Things to Know About Panda Volunteering:

Reservation and Guarantee

Clients need to make a reservation for the panda volunteer program in advance. A health certificate signed by your family doctor or a liability guarantee provided by a local cooperative travel agency of CCRCGP is needed for volunteering. The CCRCGP volunteering policies may be changed without prior notice by following the latest relative laws and regulations of China.

Notes:
Please note that the number of volunteers every day at each base is limited. If you have an on-going plan for volunteering at a panda base, please contact the AbsolutePanda team at your earliest convenience so we can reserve a spot for you. The number of volunteers is largely dependent on the number of panda enclosures available on that day and those who reserve early are given first priority. For the CCRCGP (China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda), the welfare of their captive pandas always comes first. The center reserves the right to temporarily stop volunteering at any given enclosure in the event they think the panda is becoming stressed or is in poor health. On rare occasions, the volunteering program may be stopped entirely for a day in a certain panda base. AbsolutePanda cares deeply about the satisfaction of our clients, and if you are unable to participate in the scheduled panda volunteer activity, our team will plan other activities together with our clients and refund the remaining part of charges for volunteering by CCRCGP. However, please note that charges for the services of hired cars and our guide services cannot be refunded in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

The AbsolutePanda team works hard to provide the highest quality tour experiences at a fair price. However, after working in the travel industry for more than 20 years, our team knows that no two travelers are alike in terms of their travel style, personal interests, choice of guides and preferences in restaurants and hotels. For AbsolutePanda, our client’s satisfaction is a top priority. To meet the needs of different clients and ensure they enjoy a trip suited to their preferences, we have created a variety of different price options for our trips. These options vary from the guides they use, the quality of vehicles, accommodations, and restaurants. Our trip price has the following options, please read the explanations above and the includes and excludes for each price option below:


2. Prices

These standard prices are made based on a minimum of two travelers. The trip size is 2~10 persons per group

   
    Price Categories

 
1. Basic Panda   
 
 2. Copper Panda   
 
 3. Silver Panda    
 
 4. Gold Panda   
                     
  A. Dujiangyan Panda Ark 
  
                          
185USD/pax 
 255USD/pax 
298USD/pax 
390USD/pax 
 
  B. Bifengxia Panda Base

 
198USD/pax
273USD/pax
310USD/pax
399USD/pax
 
  C. Wolong Panda Base
 
198USD/pax
273USD/pax
310USD/pax
390USD/pax

 

Option 1: Basic Panda  

For travelers who only need a driver and a car to take them to the place designated in the itinerary; basic panda options are perfect.


This price range is only available for trips we think our clients can handle without the supervision of our team. This option only includes:

1. The Panda Volunteer Program charge. 
2. C
ost for the private car (driver, fuel, toll, and parking) to take you to the volunteer site and back to your hotel.
 
The price does not include your discretionary tips to the serving crew (driver) and any other entrance tickets.


Notes:
To AbsolutePanda team, our clients' overall satisfaction with their trip is the top priority. Please note that in this option, there is no guide, only a driver taking you to the planned panda base and the English-speaking staff inside the base will help you go through all the procedures.
 We are happy to make it easier for you to choose a tour that fits your style and budget. 


Option 2: Copper Panda

For travelers who are looking for a skilled guide who speaks English and show them around. You can choose this price option.

In this tour, the Copper Panda Price Service includes:
1. A guide with fluent English from AbsolutePanda Tour Team;
2. A private car serving the full duration of this tour;
3. The Panda Volunteer Program charge;
4. The entrance and shuttle tickets listed in this itinerary;
5. Meals as listed in the itinerary;
6. China domestic travel insurance.

The price does not include your discretionary tips to the serving crew (driver and guide) and any other entrance tickets.

Example Guides:

1) Claude: A Sichuan local who is fluent in English, passionate, and is well-versed in general knowledge about popular destinations. He can work as a driver and guide for small groups.

2) Melinda: A detail-oriented guide who is fluent in English. Melinda is knowledgeable about general information about our popular tour locations.

3) Michael: An American living in Chengdu, Michael is a passionate guide and is adept at interpreting Chengdu from the perspective of a westerner.


Option 3: Silver Panda 

For travelers who hope to have a guide who knows certain specialized fields very well and can share the knowledge in-depth in a certain field like birding, flower-watching, Buddhism, food, photography, etc. so that they can make the best use of their travel time and meet their personal taste best.

In this tour, the Silver Panda Price Service includes:
1. A guide who has excellent knowledge pertaining to a certain field from Absolutepanda team;
2. A private car serving the full duration of this tour;
3. The Panda Volunteer Program charge;
4. The entrance and shuttle tickets listed in this itinerary;
5. Meals as listed in the itinerary;
6. China domestic travel insurance.

The price does not include your discretionary tips to the serving crew (driver and guide) and any other entrance tickets.

Example Guides:

1) Shay: One of AbsolutePanda’s resident birding experts, Shay speaks English and is a detail-driven guide.

2) Cory: A botany expert and photographer who speaks English, Cory is a passionate guide who excels at leading clients.

3) Lily: An English speaking guide, Lily is especially skilled at leading clients on tours that involve Yoga and Taiji.


Option 4: Gold Panda 

For travelers who want to travel in luxury, the gold panda option is the right choice for you. With this level of service, your group will enjoy the best restaurant and transportation options available. We will provide the details concerning your trip. Please feel free to ask us any questions concerning this package option.

In this tour, the Gold Panda Price Service includes:
1. An expert guide from AbsolutePanda Tour Team;
2. A nice private car with serving the full duration of this tour;
3. The Panda Volunteer Program charge;
4. The entrance and shuttle tickets listed in this itinerary;
5. Meals in the best and the most authentic local restaurants;
6. China domestic travel insurance.

The price does not include your discretionary tips to the serving crew (driver and guide) and any other entrance tickets.


Example Guides:

1) Bella: A fluent English speaker, Bella is a knowledgeable birding expert and is well versed in Chinese food and local culture.

2) Philip: A local guide with fluent English and basic Japanese, Philip is an exceptional photographer and birding guide who has keen interests in Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese cuisine. 


Notes:
To AbsolutePanda team, our clients' overall satisfaction with their trip is the top priority. We've created different price options to make it easier for you to choose a tour that fits your style and budget. The basic option is not available for this trip as we feel it is difficult for our clients to enjoy this trip without the help of a guide. If you prefer to travel in a different style than the options we've provided here, please feel free to contact us. 

For travelers who hope to tailor-make the day programs with their specific travel preferences in mind (transportation, hotels, special privileges, and famous local experts) tailor-making a tour is the best way to ensure your desires are met. Please contact us with your specific needs and we will make an itinerary based on your expectations. Once you confirm, we work out the cost and send it to you. Please feel free to ask any questions to learn more.

Please note that guides with specialized knowledge are not always available, especially during our busy season from April to October. If you have an on-planning trip, please contact us as early as possible so that we will block the date of our expert guide for you.

When you put your trust in our team, we are certain to help you enjoy an unforgettable travel experience in Chengdu!


Accommodations



AbsolutePanda firmly believes travel is an art. To ensure every trip traveling with us is a great travel art for our client, the AbsolutePanda team does all we can to consider every possible detail. The choice of hotels is an essential part to make a great trip. You are welcome to contact us and tell us your requests, we will do our best to create the best travel itinerary for your private use.
 
The followings are a list of hotels at different styles and luxury levels we often use for our trips. 

 
1. Three International-brand Hotels in Chengdu:

• Shangri-la Hotel Chengdu
• The Temple House
• The Ritz-Carlton Chengdu

Shangri-la Hotel Chengdu
Located in Jinjiang District, just beside one of the Chengdu Landmark-Anshun Bridge, Shangri-La Chengdu offers one of the best hotel services in Chengdu. It served many VIPs and political leaders when they were visiting Chengdu. Shangri-la Hotel Chengdu is also a very good starting point for a city day tour with a 25-minute drive from Chengdu International Airport, and 30 minutes to Chengdu Panda Base.




2.Three Local Brand Hotels:

• Tibet Hotel 

• Buddha Zen Hotel

• Chengdu Huanhuahongtai Hotel
 

Chengdu Huanhuahongtai Hotel
Chengdu Huanhuahongtai Hotel is an exquisite boutique hotel featured with Ancient Shu culture as the theme. Located on the bank of Huanhua Creek, it is a rare quiet place in a noisy city with active vegetation coverage, with clean air, and a pleasant environment. Hongtai Hotel is also adjacent to Wuhou Shrine, Huanhuaxi park, Dufu Thatched Cottage, and very close to Jinsha Site Museum, Qingyang Taoist Temple and Qintai Road.


 

3. Three Economic Hotels

• The Hotel Zen Urban Resort

• Minshan Anyi Hotel

• Tianfu Sunshine Hotel
 

The Hotel Zen Urban Resort 
The Hotel Zen Urban Resort is a zen-themed boutique hotel. It offers well-designed rooms with modern facilities in Chengdu. Like its name, Hotel Zen Urban Resort gives its client a special quiet place in the city to rest. The Wuhou district, where the hotel locates, is a great choice for travelers interested in culture, spicy food, and local food.





If you need help in booking your hotel accommodation, please feel free to email our team at info@absolutepanda.com.
 


FAQs



1. Do we need to do a medical check-up or health certificate for the volunteering program?
According to the current rules of CCRCGP, you can provide a health certificate signed by your family doctor. The CCRCGP may suspend the volunteering and require further check if their doctor finds any volunteer suspicious of carrying a contagious disease. (Usually, you should send your recent medical form to us if you are convenient to do so.)  


2. Is there a minimum age limit for my children to do volunteering work?
The youngest age for panda volunteer in principle is 10. Please contact us and tell us the information about your children, we will try our best to convince CCRCGP staff to give your child a chance to work as a panda volunteer.

3. Can you please confirm if I can take a photo with Panda up close? 
Panda Hugging Photo Program was suspended and not likely to restart again soon. You can take photos with panda up close when you are feeding the panda.

4. How we choose our accommodations if we do panda volunteering?
Please go to the accommodation page for this trip. We can easily book a hotel for you. If you plan to have multiple days of volunteering and hope to stay in a hotel at walking distance from your volunteering base, please feel free to let us know, We hope to give you a hassle-free, multiple-day volunteering experience.

5. Are there other panda interactive programs available?
CCRCGP provides some special and seasonal interactive programs. These programs normally are only available when panda cubs suitable for that program are available. Please contact us, we will update you with additional information. 

6. What is the donation charged by the Panda breeding center for volunteering?
The Volunteer program is rolled out at the beginning as a way of expressing thanks for those people who have made a generous donation to the conservation of Giant Panda. So the charge for volunteering is still called a donation.

7. What exactly can volunteers help in the volunteering program?
After check-in, document-reviewing, staff briefing and changing clothes, the volunteers for the day will be divided into several groups and each group will be led by a CCRCGP staff to the designated work site. There, volunteers will work under the guidance of a panda keeper to do the daily routine works for a panda including cleaning the panda enclosures, preparing bamboos and feeding the pandas. After the volunteering program, you will get a volunteer certificate. The money charged for volunteering will go directly to the panda conservation programs. 

8. How long does this volunteer program last?
The morning volunteering work only lasts for a little more than one hour, then you can enjoy about one-hour visiting other panda enclosures on your own and come back to the volunteering site before 10 p.m to feed pandas. After feeding pandas, you get another hour to walk around freely in the public area. If you also take the afternoon, session, there will be a shorter version of what you have done in the morning, plus some other activities such as watching panda movies and making panda bread. If you just want to work for the morning, you can use the afternoon to explore nearby areas or come back to Chengdu to enjoy a couple of hours of city tour.

9. Is there a chance to get a close encounter with giant panda?
Yes, two ways you can really get close to pandas. First is the feeding time, there is only one wall of iron bars between you can a panda. You can even feel the breathing of a panda and have close eyeball contact with the panda. Second is the time when you watch panda from outside the enclosure, there only one artificial wall between you and panda, you can see a panda eating his bamboo in various posture, strolling around with a curious eye on you. You can panda can be only two meters away from each other.

10. Are the pandas at the base wild?
The layout Chengdu Panda base is similar to a zoo and the animals at this facility are all living in specialty enclosures specifically designed to provide them with a natural environment in a captive setting. 

11. Are guests able to hold pandas at this base?
For the last few years, all panda bases in Sichuan have stopped the practice of allowing guests to pay to hold pandas. This is for the safety and welfare of these animals. For those interested in interacting with a panda, we suggest the panda volunteer program offered by the Panda base.


Email us if you have any questions. Read our FAQ


Testimonials



Pandas!
Absolute Panda put together a custom tour for me and my boyfriend. I absolutely love pandas and knew I wanted to volunteer at the Dujiangyan Giant Panda Base. I heard you could organize it without a guide, but the logistics were more than I wanted to deal with - paperwork, transport, etc. I also wanted to hold a panda, which had just been suspend when I started looking. I hoped by booking a tour they would monitor the panda holding situation and take care of everything else. I came across AbsolutePanda after looking at several other groups and I'm glad I did. I worked with Melinda and she made an excellent recommendation to just volunteer in the morning (you basically do the same thing morning and afternoon which might have been more than my boyfriend could handle). Instead, she suggested we spend the afternoon at the irrigation ditch or Mount QingCheng. We decided on Mount QingCheng. It was a wonderful place to visit, but I don't recommend walking up unless you really like steps... Anyway, Melinda was great. She brought us gifts and snacks. She asked in advance about any dietary restrictions/preferences. She even helped us book a hotel in another part of China. I absolutely recommend working with AbsolutePanda.

                                                                                        --Katy Hoth
Date of experience: June 2019
 

Amazing way to experience the Pandas.  
My family and I (3 kids 11, 9 and 7) got to have the experience of a lifetime in the Panda volunteer program. Bella was an amazing tour guide and what a treat to be able to not only get very very close to the pandas but to also help in their daily routines and upkeep so that the world can enjoy these beautiful bears. I never thought that my kids would be so happy to clean and prepare animal enclosures, but it was a blast that they will never forget. Aside from cleaning we got to prepare bamboo for the pandas, make panda cakes, and the highlight of the trip - feed the pandas directly and take videos and photos the entire time. We had a very nice lunch with the staff (option to go offsite but this made the trip 100% authentic and I highly recommend). We did not do the irrigation tour but opted to go to a local park/tea spot near a lake where locals hang out with Bella. Here we had tea and people watched (as they watched us also lol). In Chengdu you can see some interesting things like people getting ear massages by professional ear technicians using all sorts of wild brushes and instruments (you can even get one if you are adventurous enough). All in all I highly recommend this tour and again thank you so much Bella for a wonderful day with our family.

                                                                                       --Derik A
Date of experience: July 2019

 

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Videos & Photos




                                                                                                     Close encounter with pandas




                                                                              Nice panda enclosure in Dujiangyan Panda Ark.

 


                                                                                  Pandas are very active in Wolong Panda Base.

 


                                       Clients of AbsolutePanda are taking pictures of Panda video in Bifengxia Panda Base.




                                                                 Panda volunteers are preparing bamboo food for our pandas.




                                                                                  Cleaning the enclosures.

                                                                                                


                                                                                              Making panda cakes.

                                                                                                


                                                                           Rescued Moon Bear in Dujiangyan Panda Ark.

 


             Cory, a plant expert from AbsolutePanda Team is giving an interesting lesson about plants in Dujiangyan Panda Ark.




                              Claude, one of our panda tour guides is with one panda-lover client in Wolong.

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