We have been in Cheng Du for about 3 days now, and it is fair to say we have not done very much. There are a few things to do around here, but most are trips to surrounding areas and take a few days themselves. So recovering from our long trip here, and the desire to do very little, has meant that today was the first time either of us had ventured very far.
And our outing of choice? The pandas.
Chengdu is home to a huge panda sanctuary, apparently there are only a few thousand left in the world, and if you wanna see them, this is the place to do it. We booked through our hostel the night before, and paid 120 yuan for our tickets (transport and entry). In preparation for the 07:40 pickup, I decided to stay up late watching the movies the hostel put on in the lobby (Shawshank Redemption and Black Swan, good viewing!).
At 07:40 the bus arrived, and after about half an hour we were pulling up to the gates of Panda World (not really panda world but it sounds good), we had been told not to go on the weekend because of crowds, and it seems like it was good advice because the panda sanctuary was relatively quite, which meant a good view of the giant critters, especially if you wait 10 minutes for a group to grow weary and move on to the next enclosure.
The Giant Pandas are even “cuter” up close than on telly, which is expressed by every woman walking past adopting a baby voice and exclaiming in one language or another, “aahh, look at da furry wurry chubby wubby panda”, or something along those lines. You get walked around in a group of about a dozen people, and are given plenty of time to snap away. If however you want to dwell and ponder the existence of Giant Pandas, you might be better off making your own way there and doing things in your own time.
We only spent about 3 hours there, but to be honest, it was enough, yes they are marvelous animals, but once you’ve seen one, well you get the picture, actually, you get loads of pictures. It might be nice to just hang around quietly staring at the giant cuddly toys, but with a group, this doesn’t really work. Either way I got enough out of the experience and would recommend seeing them.
At the end of the tour we were guided to the gift shop, where inanimate replicas of the animals hang from hooks, tempting you to commemorate the experience. You are also shown the butterfly’s pinned to boards exhibit, kinda odd and doesnt really fit, but it’s included, so might as well.
You can also touch/cuddle one of the pandas I am told, but only for the princely sum of $150…U.S. Which is a bit rich for my blood, but I suppose it depends on how much you wanna play with the “furry wurry chubby wubby pandas”.
Some facts about the Giant Panda:
1.They are quite big
2.They are very cute
3.They eat a lot
4.They sleep a lot
5.They live in China
6.If you get too close, it might eat your face
And here they are, the pandas: