China – Giant Panda Experience

Join GoEco in China and experience the unique opportunity to volunteer at the Giant Panda Base, a prominent conservation center. Immerse yourself in the daily care of these majestic animals, from preparing their meals to maintaining their habitats. Enjoy exclusive access to the panda reserve, where you can explore educational facilities and observe the pandas in their natural environment. Your dedication to this program will contribute to the vital efforts in preserving and increasing the panda population.


Program Highlights:

  • Work closely with giant panda keepers at China’s largest panda sanctuary
  • Learn about conservation efforts of this vulnerable species
  • Ethical wildlife volunteering
  • Visit and experience the exciting city of Chengdu
  • Take part in organized cultural activities and tours


Your Schedule at a Glance

Day 1, Sunday: Arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU). The local team will wait to pick you up and transfer you to the hostel accommodations in Chengdu. Meet your fellow volunteers once you have settled in.

Day 2, Monday: Walking tour of Chengdu in the morning. In the afternoon, you’ll transfer by bus 2.5 hours to the Panda Breeding Center Accommodations. You’ll have a meet and greet with the Panda Breeding Center staff and a welcome dinner.

Days 3-4, Tuesday- Wednesday: After a thorough orientation at the Panda Center, you’ll join alongside the Panda Keepers in their daily routines! Each day, volunteers will work at the panda center from about 08:30am until 3:30 pm and in the evenings, volunteers will take part in cultural activities. These range from dumpling making to Chinese language lessons to Chinese games.

Day 5, Thursday: Partake in a morning tour in Bifengxia Vally. After lunch, travel back to Chengdu 2.5 hours by bus transfer. Enjoy the evening in Chengdu city with other participants and eat dinner at Chengdu’s famous Hot Pot Restaurant.

Day 6, Friday: Full day Chengdu City Tour and museum visit.

Day 7, Saturday: Departure day. Participants will take a subway to Shuangliu Airport or travel onward independently in Chengdu city center if extending stay.


Location icon Location of the Project: 16 km from Ya’an City, China

Project length Project length: 1 week

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Learning about panda conservation, food preparation, cleaning enclosures and observations

Age Age:  18 – 50

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 5 – 10 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Each start date requires a minimum number of 3 participants to run. All participants need a tourist visa to enter China. Please apply for this program 1-2 months in advance to allow sufficient time for visa processing.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared hostel room

Food Food: Three meals a day (excluding arrival and departure day)

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport pickup upon arrival

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses, meals on arrival and departure day.

China is not only the most densely populated country in the world but also the oldest continuous civilization. At the forefront of technological development, China is a fusion of old and new world sentiment. With spectacular tourist attractions such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Bund riverfront, China offers a vast landscape to explore. China also offers amazing cuisine, already having influenced many of its western counterparts, and a captivating cultural history. Experience the rich cultural traditions of China while exploring its breathtaking natural beauty.

Volunteers will begin their journey in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Chengdu is a vital hub for the economy, finance, culture, and transportation in Western China. It is renowned for its pleasant living conditions and offers a blend of modern buildings, ancient towns, and peaceful monasteries. The Giant Panda Base is approximately 2-3 hours away from Chengdu.

For over 20 years, this organization has worked for the preservation of the panda population and has now resolved three key problems of breeding, which restricted reproduction of the panda for a long time. The current panda birth and survival rates are some of the best in the world. The panda population of the program has risen from an initial 6 animals to over 70 pandas. In 2003, the first stage of a state-of-the-art panda base was completed: a veritable panda paradise. It is divided into 6 sections: panda raising and breeding area, scientific study area, food preparing and animal hospital area, staff living area, bamboo base area and tourist accommodation area. Thanks to rigorous conservation efforts, the giant panda is no longer on the World Wildlife Federation’s endangered species list; however, they are still considered a “vulnerable” species. Many pandas seen globally originate from this reserve. The base now aims to reintroduce pandas into the wild, fulfilling a long-term goal.

As a volunteer, you’ll work closely with caretakers for about 5-7 hours on workdays. Your tasks will include: 

  • Preparing food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, and carrots
  • Chop and carry bamboo
  • Clean panda enclosures
  • Occasionally partake in observation and research (only with veterinary background)


You’ll also have the privilege of exploring the panda reserve, a perk usually reserved for paying visitors. You can visit the panda nursery (typically from July to September), animal rescue, and educational facilities. However, it’s important to follow the caretaker’s instructions strictly for the safety of both the pandas and yourself.

  • Your placement fee includes a significant donation to the Panda Reserve, allowing them to continue this important work.
  • This project includes many cultural activities, including an exploration of Chengdu and other sites near the center.


Important note: Since March 2014 there has been, and continues to be, no close contact with the pandas. This is to protect pandas and volunteers alike, because of their sensitivity and sometimes aggressive nature. There is no feeding of the pandas directly.

Internet icon Internet: Free Wi-Fi is available.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry services are available for a small fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Participants will be accommodated in two different locations: Chengdu City Center at the Chengdu Hostel and the Panda Center. On Sunday, Thursday, and Friday nights, participants will stay at the Chengdu Hostel in the city center, while on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, they will stay at the Panda Center accommodations. Both locations offer shared dorm-style rooms. At the Panda Center, participants will be surrounded by mountains, and the rooms will have a maximum occupancy of two persons. The accommodations at both locations are basic and include both Western and squat toilets.

Food icon Food: Three meals per weekday are provided by the hostel restaurant. The food comprises typical Chinese cuisine, consisting of rice, vegetables, noodles, and some meat. Please note that food is not provided on arrival day and only breakfast is provided on the weekend.

Please note this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Min age of 18
  • Basic English and/or Chinese
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to learn about Panda Conservation

Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province. It is a well-known city with a rich history and civilization. The province has many places of interest and is famous for its traditional arts and crafts, ethnic folklore and beautiful landscapes. The Shuangliu International Airport and the Chengdu Railway Station allow easy access for visitors to explore the region.

Past volunteers have enjoyed the following activities that this amazing area has to offer (not included in program cost, but the volunteer coordinators would be happy to help arrange these for you):

  • Visit Zhougong hot springs
  • Mount Qingcheng is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China
  • Explore the city of Ya’an for shopping and general sight seeing
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Leshan Giant Buddah in Chengdu
  • Walk around the ancient town of Shagli

Volunteer Experiences

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