We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Volunteering - 50th Birthday Gift.”

Bifengxia Panda Reserve
Ranked #1 of 23 things to do in Ya'an
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Nearest large town is Ya'an about 16km away.
Robina, Australia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Volunteering - 50th Birthday Gift.”
Reviewed 20 November 2013

Bifengxia ... (BFX) as you will so fondly call it when you leave... In Ya'an. Approximately 180 kilometres South West of Chengdu City or 2 and a half hour local bus ride for 50 Yuan one way. Mini bus 5 Yuan and heaven beyond !
This it's the 2nd of the 3 Giant Panda breeding and Research Bases in the Provence of Chengdu.
It is Not a paradise for the "quick reward" person. But, a truly beautiful part of earth.
Oh my goodness... what a wonderful experience. When I saw the delight on his face I KNEW I had done good!
My husband has loved Pandas from childhood and still has his soft toy in his office at home! I wanted something really special for a wonderful mate and thank goodness I found it.
Once I had read through numerous information on TripAdvisor and made contact with the volunteer department at BFX, everything just fell into place.
Prompt replays from Tom and Joseph. Both these gentlemen made life in the mountains a dream come true. They are fantastic and so caring! They also arranged accommodation for us for the 3 nights. The Wengfeng Hotel is really a "home stay" type accommodation. Not 5 star, but clean and comfortable. The Host, Mr Zhu is a chef and cooks up a storm! Delicious home fresh food you couldn't get better anywhere else.
Web sites with papers which needed "filling" in ..... Volunteering form and Health check form...
An UNBEATABLE price on Expedia for flights and accommodation (6nights) and,
Then a huge rush to the Chinese Consulate in Brisbane for " Rushed " Visas!
We travelled with the locals. Caught a bus from Chengdu to Ya'an, then a mini bus to the mountains. At the main ticketing area for the national park there is a hotel too. Here the staff contacted BFX reserve and Mr. Zhu can and collected us.
The next day, we went for a quick "induction", money exchanged hands ... Yuan ... Cash ... ONLY!!
Please remember this important information as there are NO ATM / CEDIT Card facilities within 1 hours drive! You WILL be disappointed not taking enough with you. Take extra for just-in-case.
We got our volunteering cards and overalls for working with the pandas and then were taken to meet the assigned Panda Keeper. We I must say worked well together and enjoyed learning about and above all observing Shenbin and Fwan. Feeding them of course was the greatest hit too.
My husbands unforgettable moment can on our last day when he got to sit next to a juvenile Panda and had copious photos taken!!
This is an EXTRA cost and is for the Privilege of being able to get up close and personal with these delightful beauties of the wild. It goes a long way towards necessities at BFX.
We returned to Chengdu City, the same why we arrived, but with so much euphoria of a time spent with lovely, caring people with one goal in mind. Care and Protect the Giant Panda for the World!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
10 Thank Anne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

139 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    82
    37
    12
    6
    2
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Cute & active pandas, great waterfall”
Reviewed 17 November 2013

We went from Ya'an to Shangli ancient town, stayed there for a night and then caught a private bus to Bifengxia, which took about 40 minutes. Bifengxia is a great area, pandas are in the right environment so they are quite active. We saw one climbed up a 60 feet tree. The waterfall at the back is totally worth 3 hours walking too. Be patient though at the beginning it was very artifcial and ugly (as a lot of other Chinese scenic spots are becoming, sadly). The only complaint would be the noises other visitors (yelling, screaming, shouting to each other and to the pandas). Probably they are too used to noise and crowds so the quietness is uncomfortable to them?

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Annie V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
roma
Level Contributor
329 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Seeing and take care about Pandas”
Reviewed 27 October 2013

Bifenxia is a Panda Base and a research centre too.
What we appreciated a lot was the possibility to be voluteers even for only one day, and so interact directly with pandas and their keepers too. For a Panda Lover is a no-missing experience. At the end of the day we received a personalized certificate of the experience.
Great! Dont miss it

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank serena71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Asia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“The place if you want volunteer experience feeding pandas”
Reviewed 19 October 2013

We made a trip out to Chengdu just for the panda, so we wanted to get as close to them as we could get. We visited both panda bases at Chengdu and Bifengxia, and did one-day volunteer work at Bifengxia. I paid RMB1,500 to photo with a young panda at Bifengxia and another RMB2,000 at Chengdu. I’d assume most of viewers here would like to know what type of work are involved with the volunteer work, whether it is worth it to make the trip out to Bifengxia, and what the major differences are between the two bases. So my review will focus on addressing these questions:

What we did as volunteers: We stayed overnight in Ya’an (Ibis which turned out to be awful with fleas) and arrived at the panda base office 8:40am. Dressed into the work clothes and gloves and were assigned to keepers at the former breeding center. The keepers we were assigned to were two very nice gentlemen. They let us spend some time photo the pandas before starting the work. We cleaned their enclosures, taking out the left over bamboos and sweeping/mopping the area. It was real labor but not as bad as I expected. Their enclosures and poo did not smell, so the cleaning was manageable. One of the outdoor enclosures was positioned a bit high and I thought it was dangerous especially after the rain the night before. Our keeper was nice enough to do most of the cleaning there. Work lasted for about 50min or so. We were then released to wander around on our own for the rest of the day and were to return at 11:30am, 2pm and 3:30pm to feed the panda. The feeding sessions turned out to be the highlight of our trip. It was a great experience being able to be that close to a panda, feed him, and touch him. Bifengxia is the place to go if you want a close encounter with the pandas.

Is it worth it to make a trip out to Bifengxia? Unless you want to do volunteer work to feed the pandas, otherwise I would suggest Chengdu panda reserve is sufficient. For us, panda were the only reason why we made the trip out there, so we wanted to make the most out of it and do volunteer work. But if you just want to see lots of pandas and photo with a young one, then Chengdu base is a good place for it. No need to spend a 2.5-3hr drive to Bifengxia.

Major differences: Bifengxia environment is more like in the wild less crowded while Chengdu is more like a well organized panda zoo with a bigger crowd. Not considering the volunteer experience, we liked Chengdu base more as it was a lot more organized. At each enclosure at Chengdu base, there was a sign that tells you the names of the panda, their date of birth, and a brief description of their personalities. There was none of this at Bifengxia. On the other hand, one plus for Bifengxia is that they have very tall trees and we saw a couple of young pandas climbed high up sleeping on the trees. That is a scene you don’t get to see at the zoos or at Chengdu base as trees there were rather short. In terms of photo experience, Chengdu base has a lot more to offer. For the RMB1,500 we paid at Bifengxia, all we had was about 10-15 seconds (note: seconds, not minutes) to photo with the young panda. I am not exaggerating here. It was literally that quick. After much thoughts, I paid another RMB2,000 for another photo session at Chengdu base that lasted longer at about 2-3min. In addition, I received a nice glass framed photo taken by the staff (very nice photography), a souvenir shirt, DVD, a certificate for donation, along with a couple other souvenir items. Not to mention an approximate 20min of panda education session was also part of the package. Compared to Bifengxia, I definitely received more bang for my buck. In a nutshell, go to Bifengxia only if you want to do volunteer work for the pandas. Otherwise, stay in Chengdu. When we were at Chengdu panda reserve, we asked them about volunteer work there and were told volunteer work is only offered to people with experience nowadays. Not sure what that means.

We used Angel Kok, who was recommended by a previous reviewer, for all the logistics during our visit which included Chengdu airport pick-up/drop off, transportation to and from Bifengxia, registration for volunteer work at Bifengxia, along with a couple other things. Angel was great, very responsive and patient in answering all my questions (and I asked a lot of them!) I also contacted a couple other tour guides listed on Chengdu tripadvisor page, but by far Angel gave the most timely and detailed replies and best rates. True one could just use public transportation to save some money, but we were willing to spend a bit more to save hassle and headaches. With pre-arranged car service, we felt very much at ease knowing a driver was available to take us to every destination. We had a lot more flexibilities too. On our way to Bifengxia, our driver also took us to Huanglongxi Ancient Town. Mr. Lo was our driver, a very safe and punctual driver. Everyone in our group was very happy with the service and had a great time in Sichuan. We really thank Angel and Mr. Lo for helping us making the trip memorable. I highly recommend Angel. Her email is xccar@hotmail.com.

Visited in October, 2013.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
24 Thank agiabeibei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
25 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Unforgettable Experience - Panda Volunteer”
Reviewed 2 October 2013

We volunteered at the Bifengxia Panda Reserve for one day and are still in shock from the experience - it was an amazing. We were assigned to the Breeding Centre which housed 4 pandas. We cleaned their enclosures in the morning which is dirty and tiring work but only lasts about an hour or so and fed them by hand 3 times a day (through bars). In between feeds we could wander around the park or stay and watch 'our' pandas doing adorable things (mostly sleeping). They are very used to humans. One of them would always come right up against the bars when the keepers and volunteers came by. Although you are not supposed to touch them.

We were a bit worried about not being able to get to the Park before it opened at 8:30am as the first bus from the Gorge HQ is at 8:30am. We were told it takes 2 hours to hike to the Park on foot through the Gorge. However the bus took off at 8:15am and we arrived at 8:30am and the keepers were just starting their day.

The panda keepers and the Wolong Panda Club representatives who organise the volunteering days were very warm and welcoming, throughout the application process and the volunteering day itself. We applied directly to the Club for our day. A lot of the panda club staff speak multiple languages although not always English. They also took us to eat at the staff canteen as there are limited options at the park.

The park itself was quite a trek to get to but the crowds were thin as a result. We didn't go to the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre so i can't compare but the pandas at Bifengxia have large enclosures and seem very happy. It's about 2 hours by bus from Chengdu Xinnanmen, change to a shuttle bus at Ya'an for another 30 minutes ride to the Bifengxia Gorge HQ. Then it's another 15 minute internal bus from the HQ to the Panda park as the Gorge also houses a zoo and is a national park in itself. There is a lot of walking between enclosures as well but there is a frequent buggy service all day for 15Y. We were there on a Sunday and did find ourselves alone at times.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank wallabyandwhirlwind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Bifengxia Panda Reserve also viewed

 

Been to Bifengxia Panda Reserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing