I again took an overnight train, however this time, as it’s China’s mid-autumn festival, all the beds were sold out. So I was sitting bolt up straight in the middle of two Chinese lads, and facing three others, for almost 17 hours. It was horrendous. But despite the journey from hell I arrived in Chengdu, home to China’s cutest residents, the giant panda.
As panda bears are most active early in the morning so it was again an early start and we arrived at Chengdu’s Panda Breeding Research Centre just as they we’re having their bamboo breakfast. From the minute I saw the first panda munching on his bamboo I had a smitten little smile across my face that didn’t disappear until after we’d left. They were just so cute it was impossible not to be happy looking at them.
There were about 50 giant pandas in the sanctuary as well as a few red pandas. They all had plenty of space and seemed to be pretty content there. Many were born there whilst some were rescued from the wild or from zoos across the world. They all had cute names like Oreo and Wei Wei and there were placards by their enclosures telling you how to identify each one and what their personalities were like.
The cutest of all had to be the panda nurseries where little babies were housed. They were just unbelievably cute and ranged from a few months old down to complete new born babies. There were three new borns in incubators and at one point one fell over onto his back and couldn’t get up, and one of the vets had to come and pick him up and turn him over. Best job ever!?
Whilst the journey to Chengdu was horrendous and from what I’ve seen so far I don’t particularly rate the city that much, it was totally all worth it to see the giant pandas, their cuteness will be hard to be matched!