Friday, December 7, 2012


Day 3 (24th October 2012)

Today's programme was Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. I would not be taking a bus as tips found on the internet advised visitors to take a taxi to reach the base before 9:00 a.m..

While eating my wonton breakfast, which was across the street from the side entrance of Xinnanmen Bus Station, I noticed a lot of taxis dropping off passengers there. It suddenly dawned on me that this was the perfect place to get a taxi, instead of trying to catch one on the street like what I did yesterday. I left at about 7:35 a.m. and reached Panda Research Base at about 8:10 a.m. The metered fare was RMB51.

The entrance ticket was RMB58. I decided to hurry to the Panda enclosure after dilly-dallying a while at the entrance taking photos.

By following the sign board and after walking for 12 minutes, I finally saw a small group of visitors at an enclosure. After taking a few photos at the Adult Panda Enclosure, I decided to look for other pandas, which may be hiding somewhere.

While strolling along another foot path, I came across another group of visitors. I hurried over and the signage said this was the enclosure for "sub-adult" panda. At about 8:35 a.m., the young panda walked out from the cage to the feeding platform. There were seven of them. In the meantime, panda fans kept streaming in. I waited for the panda to start playing but the little pandas refused to put on a show today.

I finally left at 9:22 a.m. from the sub-adult enclosure to see what else were on offer.

I chanced upon other adult pandas. They were really a lazy lot. They were already dozing off for their nap, up on the trees and on feeding platform. It was only 9:30 a.m. No wonder visitors are advised to take a taxi to be there before 9:00 a.m. to witness the panda feeding. That's when they are active.

At 9:50 a.m., I found myself at "mother-cub" enclosure and this was also the place where visitors can cuddle up a panda after making a donation of RMB1,300. There was a big crowd waiting to enter the restricted area. I could not believe that so many people were willing to fork out RMB1,300 for the privilege.

At another entrance, there was also a very long queue. Initially, I thought they have paid money for the same privilege, although I was not 100% sure. Anyway, I did not queue up. It was only later when I again found myself there unintentionally that I saw people queuing up without paying anything that I decided to join the queue. It was actually for the privilege of filing pass and taking photos (no camera flash allowed) of two baby pandas.


In addition, the Research Base has red pandas (firefox), swan (black and white), Japanese carps, peacock and a rose garden too.

The return trip in a taxi parked outside the entrance was RMB60. I have no choice since I did not know where to catch the bus back to Xinnanmen. Before that, I bought souvenir of three little panda dolls for RMB20 outside the entrance.

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