We had an amazing time in Leshan. Our guide, Andy, taught us so much and made it a great day. Lunch in the village was fantastic too.
Seeing the Pandas was a once in a lifetime day. Our guide, Andy, was very informative and helped us have a great day.
Booked from the UK before we left, this visit was added to a different two week tour with another provider and it worked perfectly. The guide, a Panda Research Centre employee, met us at our hotel 10 minutes early, we picked up the only other couple on our tour and arrived at the Panda Research Centre ahead of the crowds. Our guide was enthusiastic, very informative and well worth the price for the trip. We had ample time to visit all the available viewing sites and he even arranged for us to meet up with our "parent" tour group who were on a locally arranged visit. It wasn't till we compared notes afterwards that we discovered what good value the Viator visit was! And, of course, the Pandas were captivating - busy eating and playing happily. We would recommend this visit to anyone lucky enough to be in Chengdu during a China holiday, but do go early - Pandas are morning creatures!
THE PANDA TOUR WAS FANTASTIC
Everything was truly amazing, from my tour guide Andie (she's awesome; request her if you can, and tip her well, she's a wealth of knowledge and really sweet, with a very good command of English) to Sam, who ensured I got the airport on time after the tour. It seems pricey up front, but if you are a fan of pandas, this will be something you remember for the rest of your life. Can't recommend this highly enough.
Very interesting tour and good tour guide. Had a nice lunch in between sites. Thought the extra payment for transport $4 and the tram fare $13 could have been built into the tour fee.
This entire experience was a bucket list for me, not only did I get to touch a Panda, but I had the chance to feed a few of the Pandas. on the down side to this tour was that I thought I was going to the Chengdu but I was in Wolong, I was nice was because it had way less tourist. You really don't hold a Panda, you sit next to them, but I totally understand, 1 1/2 year old Panda that is some what wild. overall I would do it again because I turned from 33 to a kid again.
Wonderful day with a wonderful informed guide... Thank you
Kevin was my tour guide and arrived right on time speaking wonderful English!! Making a last minute booking I did not know if it went through and it did thanks to Viator as this was to be a one time adventure. The tour was so informative and easily laid out and timing perfect. He was a great help with getting me in for the picture and on the end gave us a suggestion for the evening. Again with a pick up on time went to the opera and he arranged perfect front seats for one of the best entertainment shows Ever! We were thrilled with Kevin and the tour, money very well spent.
We really wanted to see Pandas up close and personal and thought there was no better way than to sign up for this 1-day volunteer programme at the Panda Breeding Center. We read the reviews by previous participants before signing up. Our expectations were also somewhat set by what we read. We were picked up promptly at 7.30 am at the hotel by Lilian, our guide. As we speak Mandarin, she was able to offer us lots of information about the pandas and Chengdu. We thought we were going to the Panda Breeding Center just 40 min north of Chengdu but when we were in the car, we were told that it would be a 2.5 hours drive to the breeding center at Bifengxia. Apparently, at the beginning of May, the center near Chengdu stopped accepting volunteers. So essentially, an 8-hour programme has shortened to just 5 hours (3 hours on the roads).
When we arrived at the Breeding Centre, it was past 10 am and Lilian brought us around to see the pandas and told us more about them which was great. We expected that the keepers would be the ones telling us facts about pandas but they did not. I don't think they were expected to. At 11 am, we were brought behind the scenes. We expected to be able to prepare panda food and clean the enclosures as this was the impression given to us by past reviews. However, all we did was cut a piece of panda cake which was pre-made. We then fed a panda which was in a cage the panda cake and a carrot. We did this again at 2 pm. That was all we did for our volunteer work. We were told that there were too many volunteers and the enclosures were already cleaned early in the morning so there was nothing else for us to do. We asked to see the panda cubs up close but were told that it was not allowed as they have weak immunity at a young age. While we appreciated being able to see pandas up close but there was no other interaction allowed. We felt that this experience was a let down for the amount we paid. We don't think the center needs any volunteers.
They picked us up from our hotel right to the park.....this is a plus since we are English speaking and catching a cab is difficult. They reserve was beautiful in a very busy city.
I booked this activity for my two teenage boys, husband and self. It was "amazing."
To be that close to the Pandas and hand feeding them was a memory we will all cherish. Well worth every dollar paid as you are taken behind the gates where the general public aren't allowed to access.
My partner and I went to Chengdu especially to do this Viator tour. We looked at plenty of other tour companies and options but chose this one because it advertised being “a panda volunteer for a day” and an exclusive tour not available anywhere else. Not only was the tour itself extremely expensive but we also had to pay for flights, accommodation and transfers. Given how much effort and expense went into this trip to Chengdu we were extremely disappointed with what happened. We did not experience what was promoted, promised or advertised.
To begin with the trip to the panda base from the centre of Chengdu is at least two hours. There is absolutely no way it would ever be one hour as advertised. It’s just not possible to cover the distance in just 60 minutes. Secondly, we know there is a disclaimer saying volunteer duties may change on the day, but we didn’t do anything outlined. We didn’t get to record panda behavior, we didn’t get to prepare the food or wash the bamboo and we didn’t support staff with cleaning. Viator also claims this is an exclusive tour you won’t find anywhere else. We saw plenty of other people doing exactly what we were doing but were doing it through other tour companies. How is the Viator tour exclusive when everyone else is doing it too?
The highlight of the day was no doubt feeding the pandas. This was an extraordinary experience and something we will never forget. Our tour guide was also lovely, helpful and knowledgeable. But did we feel like panda volunteers for the day? Absolutely not. Apart from feeding the pandas, there was nothing different, unique, special or exclusive about what we did. The tour was expensive and we really didn’t get what was promised or advertised. We won’t be recommending this specific tour or Viator to other friends. We feel cheated, mislead and very disappointed.
Awesome experience. If you want to be able to get behind the scenes and feed Pandas, prepare their bamboo food, clean up their enclosures, a volunteer day is a great way to do it. My English speaking tour guide picked me up at my hotel in the morning. It's roughly a 2 hour drive from Chengdu. When we arrived we walked around viewing Pandas for a little while before I put in the overalls and gloves and reported for 'duty'. There were 6 volunteers that day and we got bamboo ready to feed them, swept and mopped up, then it was time to take turns feeding one of the Pandas. Then I had free time for the guide to show me around the facility to view other Pandas in their enclosures. Periodically during the day I went back for more duties and feeding Pandas. Had a delicious lunch with my guide and driver across the road (with free wifi too). Whilst I would have loved to have taken a photo holding a Panda, the cost was too much for my budget. As a volunteer I was able to take as many photos as I wanted while they were being fed and feeling their warm breath on my hand while feeding them and hearing their sounds of contentment when eating the food - especially apples being their favourite was such a special experience I will treasure.
Amazing lovers every second of it.
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