If the cute and cuddly pandas have always fascinated and you've wondered all your life to meet them, apart from watching them in Kung Fu Panda, then you are at the right place. The sad fact is that pandas have become an endangered species and they can disappear from the face of this earth, if we don't take good care of them. While these rare species are still there, you might want to make it worth your flight ticket and visit them, before they go extinct (which we hope doesn't happen anytime soon).
1. The Giant Panda Research & Breeding Center, Chengdu, China
Operational since 1987, this research centre has been the actively involved in the conservation of the species. You will spot a horde of baby pandas lugging themselves around in the cutest manner. If you are too crazy about a panda, you may even pre-book a slot to cuddle these babies for a few seconds.
2. Dujiangyan Panda Base, Dujiangyan, China
A sojourn for peace lovers, Dujiangyan Panda Base is just 64kms north-west to Chengdu. It is known for its well-cared giant pandas. Although relatively new, you will see major giant panda volunteer programs. You may extend your love for these species by providing a helping hand and volunteering for your favourite animal. This place is less crowded and perfect for people who love quiet places. Also called as Panda Valley, you get a chance to click a photo with a panda, after a certain amount of donation.
3. River Safari, Singapore
For those looking at an option not too far away from India, Singapore is the perfect place to meet a panda or two. A pair of male and female pandas lies protected in the Giant Panda Forest at River Safari. This hideout one also has a another rare species of panda, the red panda.
4. Ocean Park, Hong Kong
Yet another place closer to home that will give you an opportunity to meet this exotic, endangered species. Ocean Park has two couples of male and female pandas that are well-fed and taken care of. You can even take become a stand-in panda-keeper for some time and have an up-close and personal experience with them.
5. Bifengxia Giant Panda Base, Ya'an, Sichuan, China
About 150kms from Chengdu, this base is a popular spot to meet baby pandas and giant pandas that come from overseas. Since its operation in 2003, the centre has become has become a hot-spot for panda raising, breeding and rescuing. The speciality about this place is that the pandas, albeit being trained in a simulated environment, they are set out in a controlled natural environment, after determining their adequacy.
Author: Winnie Karnik