In which I visit the Chengdu Panda Reserve
Pandas were top of my list when I went to Chengdu. Sure, I wanted to see Rachel and Ruby again as I’d not seen them since they left Zhangzhou in March, but the pandas at the Chengdu Panda Reserve are a little hard to ignore.
Even Dad was excited when I told him I was going to see them!
Apparently the best time to see the pandas is early in the morning before and just after they are fed. This is because pandas love to sleep. They have little energy because the bamboo they constantly eat has little to offer them. Did you know that pandas are still considered carnivores because of their teeth? They used to eat meat thousands (maybe millions, I wasn’t really paying attention and just wanted to see something cute and fluffy!) of years ago. Interesting fact anyway that I didn’t know before.
I digress, as is common with me.
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding opens at 7:30am so there’s plenty of time to see the pandas more active, as they get fed around 9:30am. The price is 58RMB for an entry ticket.
The cheapest way to get to the pandas is via the public bus, 2RMB per journey.
I took number 1 bus to Zhaojuesi bus station, then number 87, which was a cute old wooden bus (and reminded me of a tram!) which stops opposite the centre.
There are plenty of taxi drivers hanging around outside though if you’re feeling lazy, however my common reaction to taxi drivers shouting “hello” at me now is “buyong” which is “don’t need/want it.” They then state the obvious that I am tall and then I sigh and engage them – they are then surprised and get bored of me, leaving me to my own devices to catch the bus.
Plus 1 for Sarah.
Back to the Chengdu Panda Reserve.
The park itself is actually quite large. It was also a little wet when I went so I decided to cheat and buy a ticket for the shuttle (10RMB). It says it was valid for 1 or 2 rides, but I hopped on and off a couple more times and because it was quiet I don’t think they minded so much.
The lady who sold me the shuttle ticket showed me the best route to see the pandas. This included seeing one of the nurseries first.
Oh. My Word. Panda heaven.
Cute little pandas galore. Ok, so the youngest were a bit scrawny, but the ones on the blankets were cute as.
I have to admit at this point, I hadn’t gone early. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t see the pandas move at all.
However, I was one of the lucky ones. I saw pandas awake and eating, as well as climbing up things in the most unusual manner.
I’m in a quandary. As much as I think pandas are cute and all, and that obviously we should save any species from extinction, I do think that too much money is spent keeping them alive. I’m sorry, but Darwin didn’t come up with his altogether correct theory of natural selection without reason. Pandas do not breed well, so therefore perhaps they’ve adapted to become extinct? I know, a crazy idea from a crazy person but just think about it, will you?
Or let me know what you think in the comments below. Am I absolutely stark raving mad?
The pandas at Chengdu Panda Reserve are uber cute though. Go, go see them immediately. And maybe get there earlier than I did, just in case they do decide to sleep!
Would you fancy doing some panda volunteering too? Check out this page at Windhorse Tour for more information!