the one place i enjoyed most in chengdu is the panda research centre. the centre started in 1987 is located some 10km from downtown chengdu. the best time to visit the place is in the morning, before 11.00 a.m., that is when the pandas are most active because it is also their feeding time.
although you do see a lot of bamboo clumps at the centre, the bamboos are not enough to feed all the pandas. the centre buys bamboos from the villagers who gather them from the forests.
the giant pandas like to climb trees and stay up there after they have had their meal. on some trees you can see as many as 6 or 7 pandas. pandas are actually quite shy animals; if the visitors make too much noise, they will move away from the edge of the enclosure. the panda population at the base has increased from 6 giant pandas rescued from the wild to more than 80 today.
besides the well-loved giant pandas, there are also other animals at the research base, including the red panda. the red panda is much smaller and it looks more like a raccoon than a bear. like the giant panda, it also has a black patch around each eye.
the enclosure that attracts a lot of young visiors is the baby panda station. if you like to cuddle one of these and have your picture taken with it, it will cost you 1000 yuan or around s$200 for the 5-minute experience. however, money cannot buy everything; if the panda is not in the mood, then even your 1000 yuan will not do the trick.