Meet your guide at your Chengdu hotel, and settle inside your private, air-conditioned vehicle. Then, make the roughly 1-hour drive to the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center on the city’s outskirts.
On route, hear about the goals of this world-famous project from your guide. Founded in 1987, the center works as a research facility, conservation education center, and international tourist attraction, and has created an environment that imitates giant pandas’ natural habitat to encourage breeding.
Learn how the center began with six giant pandas rescued from the wild, and how its work quickly expanded, with 124 panda births by 2008. Today, the center houses more than 80 pandas in a vast park of bushes, rivers, and bamboo forests. Head inside and follow the pathways to glimpse the pandas as they roam and rest.
Explore the educational facilities spotlighting the panda conservation work, and watch for the center’s other wild animals, including peacocks and red pandas.
Afterward, travel to Chengdu East train station, and catch the high-speed Leshan-bound bullet train accompanied by your guide. Relax on the approximately 2.5-hour journey, either purchasing lunch on board (own expense), or enjoying any snacks you’ve brought with you.
On arrival, take a taxi (own expense) with your guide to the Leshan Giant Buddha site. Measuring 233 feet (71 meters) high, this 8th-century stone statue is carved from a cliff face at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu, and Qingyi Rivers, and is the world’s biggest stone Buddha.
Take in views of the Buddha and rivers flowing past it and if you wish, walk down the steep cliff staircase to stand at its feet. Afterward, return by cab (own expense) to the station, and relax on the bullet train to Chengdu, where your tour finishes with a hotel drop-off.