Where is Chengdu you may ask? And why should you go? Located in Sichuan Province, Chengdu has been called the “Land of Milk and Honey”, because it’s so rich in resources.

Truly, there are so many things to do in Chengdu. Wenshu Temple. Taking the bus to Leshan town and checking out the 71 meter Buddha. Climbing Mount Emi where the legend of Kung Fu was born within the respected monks of Emi.

Myself? Pandas! It’s no mystery that I love animals. You’ll always find me petting anything furry, despite warnings of rabies and fleas. I seriously can’t help myself. Which is why a visit to the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Research was high on my list.

The Research Base is a non-profit and was founded in 1987 to focus on protecting and breeding the endangered giant panda. Their emphasis is on wildlife research, captive breeding and educating people on conservation. What is most unique about the Base is the educational tourism aspect. As you move through each section of the grounds, you’re encouraged to understand a panda’s life span and behaviors. There’s even a panda movie theater that shows educational films.

With about 200 hectares of land to play with, the Research Base carefully reconstructed the natural habitat of pandas and created a haven for other animals like red pandas, swans, peacocks, birds and golden monkeys. Humans are also privy to a calming atmosphere with gardens to explore and the addition of a manmade lake and teahouse. It was relaxing to hang there after gushing over the pandas. Unabashed admiration is hard work.

The Base is located about 30 minutes from Chengdu. If you plan on going on your own the entry fee is 58 RMB or you can book transport through your hostel or hotel. My hostel provided a van and driver with a guide for 98 RMB, which is a pretty decent price.

Without further ado, here they are!

Entrance to the Research Base

Charming waterfall near entrance. Do you see the stuffed panda on top?

It’s best to catch the pandas at 8 or 9 am for breakfast, like these 2 heading to their eating spots

Okay, adorable, right?

Their bamboo rich diet is low calorie, garnering pandas the “lazy” label, but cuteness is a slow and easy life if you ask me

Two adults dazzling the crowd

I started giggling when I saw this, live stuffed animals make you giddy

The nursery

I almost busted in to steal this one!

They seem so helpless and in need of love

An attendant cleaning a baby

Hamming up for the crowd

A visit isn’t complete without seeing the red pandas

They are smaller and more lithe – red panda

Red pandas are fiery and I witnessed a few scraps

What pandas nibble on: bamboo

As I walked the grounds I encountered some new friends

Never seen a black swan before! Stunning

Fish swimming the lake

Aren’t they round and insanely adorable?