Natural Habitat Adventures has introduced the chance to get up close and personal with pandas on two of its China nature adventures. On the trips, guests can enjoy a one-day volunteer experience at a Chinese research base that has helped pull giant pandas back from the brink.
The experience takes place at Dujiangyan Panda Valley, China’s newest facility for panda research, education, and conservation. It is included on both Natural Habitat’s Wild Side of China Nature Odyssey and Wild Side of China Photo Adventure.
During the volunteering, guests will take part in the daily care of the pandas, including feeding them.
In addition to visiting three different panda research bases, guests will explore the giant panda’s native habitat, including two days in a remote mountain nature reserve in Sichuan Province that few tourists ever see.
In addition to giant pandas, the region is also home to 430 different mammal species including golden monkeys, Tibetan and rhesus macaques, musk deer, muntjac, serow, wild boar, blue sheep, and endangered moon bears and red pandas. More than 2,400 different plant species and 150 bird species are also found in the park.
Both itineraries also include Jiuzhaigou National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and UN Biosphere Reserve. Guided hikes showcase steep peaks, ravines, forest, meadows, marshes, lakes, waterfalls, and its famous terraced limestone pools filled with turquoise water.
Photo tour departures offer personalized guidance from an expert professional photographer.
This unique itinerary also offers the chance for travelers to experience rural Chinese life. Guests will travel to the Gansu Muslim village of Qing Xi, home to 300-year-old wooden buildings from the Qing dynasty; journey to the Tibetan Plateau across a landscape dotted with prayer flags and chortens (spiritual markers), and share lunch with a Tibetan family; and learn about a WWF-supported bio-waste project that uses agricultural byproducts to create cleaner cooking fuels.