Chengdu Pandas

The 2007 Panda trip

My dreams have come true!!!!  Nick gets countless brownie points for bringing me to Chengdu – home of the giant panda bears!  Squeezed between 3 other Asia destination, we took a 2.5 hop over for one reason only: pandas!

This short trip was taken on Dec 2nd, 2007 (arrival day in the evening), Dec 3rd as full Panda day @ Woolong reservation centre, and Dec 4th @ Chengdu breeding centre, and then fly back to Hong Kong.

Chengdu is the home of where China does their research and breeding of the these rare cute endangered fuzzy animals. We checked in at the Shangri-La in the heart of Chengdu. very nice hotel. luxurious with courteous staff…but this post isn’t about Chengdu accommodations…so moving on!

Nick pre-arranged a personal guide for our one full day to the WooLong – a local man named Mickal. He was our driver, our guide, and our friend by the end of the day. Fluent in English, punctual and delivered us to the pandas as promised. Mickal picked us up from the hotel lobby at 5:30am. we had to meet so early because it takes 3 hours of driving to get up to the top of the mountains where the pandas are!

We bundled ourselves as much clothing as we packed – it was very cold in Chengdu – we weren’t expecting it to be – especially coming from Bali, then Hong Kong, then Shanghai. we mostly fell asleep on the beginning trek. by the time we woke up – we were in the middle of the mountains. If you are squeamish about heights and jagged edge and cliffs – this ride is not for you! the roads are unfinished – so mostly gravel – there’s large boulder on the road where the car had to serve to go around. When we asked Mickal about the boulder, he replies ” o, that must have just fallen, it wasn’t there a week ago”. hmm…that’s very soothing. And then we passed through this tunnel where they were still actively digging through with planks and scaffold holding up the sides. we literally just drove through it. but alls well – we finally arrived by 8:30ish. perfect timing!

Mickal advised us early on during our planning that we must go in the early mornings. Pandas are active only between 7 to noon. then they sleep. perhaps for the rest of the day. When we got to the Reservation, all pandas were awake! Posted tons and tons of pictures of the Panda experience – trust me – I have more on my computer. see photo gallery page titled “I LOVE Pandas” for some panda porn.


Nick also arranged for me to go behind the fence and play with the panda cubs (9 month olds) for a good 5 minutes. that’s all the time you’re allow to have… it costed $150 USD. and it was sooo worth it. I ended up getting approx 7 mins =P woohoo!  I was SOOOO thrilled and happy, it was crazy!


We also met the cutest 5 month old baby panda ever – we nicknamed him “Ankle Biter”. see the video post I have for him.   The poor little guy kept waddling to the caretaker wanting a hug but was denied.  I think she was suppose to try to give him independence or something. at least that’s what i hoped.


the next day before our departure out of the panda city, we also stopped by at the Chengdu breeding centre. This was more like a zoo environment. after the woolong experience – it was only considered okay. but still got to see more pandas!

Side note about Chengdu non Pandas related – the drivers are all crazy! i’ve never been so scared for my life during a taxi ride where they were skirting in and out of heavy traffic with oncoming buses and people on bicycles!

so after this post…would you say that Pandas are my favourite animal yet?


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