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ChengDu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding ReviewChengDu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding Review

Cute Panda SleepingChengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (also known as Giant Panda Base) is a place where all panda fans should visit. The giant pandas are considered the "National Treasure" of China. It is depressing to see such beautiful creature listed as an endangered species. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is dedicated to preserving this lovable animal. Is it worth visiting Chengdu, China just to see these pandas? Read this review below to find out more!

In June 2009, I took a trip to Chengdu, China to see my favorite animal, the Giant Panda. My first stop in this city was the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. To promote tourism in Chengdu, visitors had the option to purchase a prepaid "Gold / Silver Panda Card". This promotion began in 2009 and allowed users to free admissions to various tourist attractions, and offered discounts at numerous retail outlets in Chengdu.

The cost of admission for the Panda Base was 50 RMB, equivalent to approximately $10 USD($1USD = $6.7 RMB at the time). The first stop at the Giant Panda Base was the red panda exhibition. It was here where I saw 4-5 red pandas wandering around. There was a sign that shows you can have a chance to hold a red panda if you were to make a contribution to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. I heard from a source that it was $100 RMB. Every exhibitions after that was all about the giant pandas. You'll usually see the giant adult pandas in groups of 3-5, but there were time when some were alone by themselves. All of them was either sleeping or eating, mostly sleeping. Unfortunately I didn't get to see any baby panda cubs out in the open.

Holding a Baby Panda CubI inquired about the chance to hold a panda and was told that if I contributed $500 RMB, I could take pictures with an adult panda, and if I contributed $1000 RMB ($150USD), I could hold and take pictures with a panda cub. Although the cost seem a bit extreme to just snap a couple of photos with my favorite animal, the money would go towards the panda research and breeding program. For this good cause I told the workers there that I was willing to contribute for both the adult and the baby panda. They told me that only the panda cub was available at the time, so I accepted. When they asked me if it was OK for them to provide me with a receipt for my contribution, I found it a bit suspicious. Were the workers pocketing the money for themselves? Who knows... but I was too big of a panda fan to turn down this opportunity.

Before I was able to take pictures and videos with panda cub, I had to follow a particular dress code. I was given a few thin layered protective gears to cover my shoes, body, and hands. - what was it for? Perhaps it was to prevent the spread of germs between the panda and I, but if that was the case, where was my face mask? Once I was fully attired in my new outfit, I sat down on a bench full of excitement. Then it was time...

When the panda came out, it did NOT look like a baby. I was expecting a small cuddly baby panda when they said he was only 4 months old, but the panda that they brought out was huge! He must have been eating good, because he wasn't light at all. He must have weighed a good 80 pounds or so. Now the question that everyone must be asking - how was my experience?

They placed the cute panda cub on my lap. The lady that worked there helped me take pictures using my camera. During this time, the cute panda cub at first didn't really move and just sat there, then it started moving around and one of the workers then gave the panda a slice of fruit. At one point, the baby panda lifted its paw up and displayed it sharp claws inches from my face. I wasn't scared but it made the experience so real. After a two minute photoshoot, the panda cub went back to his shelter and it was over.

After this surreal moment with the baby panda, I was off to more giant panda exhibitions and came upon a tourist service center which was a combination of a panda museum and a panda gift shop. The panda museum is a huge source of information on pandas. There you'll find old historic record books on pandas, panda bones and skulls, and artistic rendering of pandas. Everything that you ever wanted to know about pandas can be found here with this wealth of information at their panda tourist service center.

After three hours at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, my visit was over. Although it cost me $1000 RMB to hold the cute baby panda cub, I thought it was well worth it. The pictures and videos that I took were priceless and something that I will cherish forever. So in the end, my recommendation for all panda lovers is that if you're ever in China, and near the Chengdu area - definitely give the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding a visit. It's not like a regular zoo where you only get to see one or two panda in an enclosure. The panda base is like a zoo just for pandas with close to 50 pandas! It's well worth the admission to just see all the cute red pandas and giant pandas. If you can afford to contribute the money then be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to hold a panda. It's a rare experience that you will never forget.

Be sure to check out our numerous pictures and videos of all the giant pandas and red pandas from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding! To top it off AsiaFinest is also offering a rare and extremely cute panda figures sets.

Review was written by Ben Li of AsiaFinest.com

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