A Visit to See the Chengdu Pandas
14 Jun 2024

Once our TEFL teachers have settled in nicely in China and Sichuan with their schools, it’s time to have some fun and they’ll be invited to one of our mid-semester weekend social activities. This year we were delighted to see many of our teachers in Sichuan, from Chengdu to as far as Dazhou, join us on a beautiful spring day for a special visit to, of course, the Chengdu Panda Base. A must-visit attraction in the city known as the hometown of these beloved national treasures. Read on to see if we caught a glimpse of these bamboo-loving xiongmao (i.e. Chinese for the word panda). 

Situated in the northeast suburb of Chengdu, the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (to give its official name) was opened to the public in 1988. Today it houses a research center, research laboratories, veterinary hospital and an enclosure and playground for the Giant pandas. The base’s tireless dedication towards the protection and conservation of Giant Pandas, makes it the most important panda sanctuary in the world. 

Enhancing the eco-friendliness and the visiting experience for tourists, the base was expanded in 2022, more than trebling in size from 69 hectares to a massive 238 hectares. Now with more space for the pandas and room for beautiful pavilions and gardens. The nature and wildlife park is open from 07:30am till 18:00pm each day and it’ll take the whole day to fully tour the area and to see all the scenery. However, it’s recommended to spend at least 3 or 4 hours for an enjoyable visit. One tip is to get there early, the earlier the better, before 09:00am is best, this will give you the best opportunity to see and take snaps of the pandas. 

Our meeting point was at the south gate of the panda base at 08:30am. Some of our teachers stayed overnight at a nearby hotel, a designated member of our team met them at the lobby and arranged taxis over. And the rest of us arrived directly at the gate. The excitement was buzzing. For many this was also the first time they had met other foreign TEFL teachers, this was a great opportunity for them to make friends and share their experiences with each other, one of the main reasons why we host these events. Once everyone was accounted for, it was time to take the customary smiling group photo. Say cheese everyone! Then we all headed into the panda base with our pre-paid tickets (58 RMB per adult), which we’d cover the cost of. We spent the whole morning there and were lucky enough to get a sight of the pandas. 

Around 12:00pm we took a coach into the city center of Chengdu and ate some delicious Sichuan cuisine at a popular local restaurant. 

After our bellies were full and we were singing the culinary praises of the chefs, we took a short walk to another of the popular must-see tourist hotspots of the city – the Wide and Narrow Alleys (Kuanzhai Xiangzi). The Wide and Narrow Alleys refers to three parallel ancient city alleys which date back to the Qing dynasty, a key historical and cultural heritage site of the city which has many well-preserved buildings from ancient times. It is now a popular and vibrant entertainment and nightlife spot featuring opera performances, arts and crafts, and café and bars. It’s easy to get there via metro, just take line 4 to the station named after the place itself - Kuanzhai Xiangzi. 

After a couple of hours browsing around the Wide and Narrow Alleys our social activity ended and our TEFL teachers were left to their own devices to explore Chengdu even more of their own accord or head back to their homes. It was a truly fantastic day and we want to thank our amazing teachers for joining us. 

If you’d like to teach in China and join our next social activity, find out more about our 1-semester TEFL Internships and 1-year TEFL job programs by emailing [email protected]

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