If you’re ready to do more than the scratch the surface of China, you’re ready for a China Discovery Trip. Travel with China Discovery Tours, you’ll not only enjoy the high quality service, but also have the chance to get the best in travel.
Below is our guest review on tripadvisor.com by Robert. He would show you the fabulous trip in Bifengxia Panda Base.
Why I use China Discovery Tours?
“Following a recent visit to Australia my wife and I planned a ‘stop over’ in Hong Kong to visit friends during our homeward journey. Our friends suggested that during our stay we might make an excursion to Mainland China and visit a giant panda sanctuary in Sichuan Province and undertake to work as volunteer assistants for a couple of days. They had previously made this same trip and advised us book our visit through China Discovery Tours / Tibet Discovery Tours.”
How are the travel advisors in China Discovery?
“This sounded like a wonderful idea that would immediately appeal to my wife and since we had recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary I thought that it would make an excellent surprise anniversary present.
I e-mailed the company before we left for Australia. My contact was with a charming lady, Karen Wang, I found to be unfailingly prompt, efficient and polite in our communications. Karen seemed particularly impressed that the trip was to form part of our anniversary celebrations.
The original plan was for us to use the accommodation at the sanctuary which we knew would be ‘Basic’ but Karen herself had described as “Not very good.” This didn’t worry me too much as we have survived stays in some VERY basic accommodation during our travels.
Shortly before we were due to leave Australia, Karen sent me our final itinerary and informed me that she proposed to change our accommodation from the panda sanctuary to the Hongzhu Hotel in the nearby town of Ya’an.”
How is the Panda Tour in Bifengxia Panda Base?
“Our itinerary was to fly from Hong Kong to Chengdu where we would be met at the airport by our guide (Tom) and driver (Mr. Den). From there we were taken to our hotel. As soon as we got into our transport Tom presented my wife with a huge bouquet of flowers and basket of fruit which I thought was a lovely touch and completely unexpected.
The Hongzhu Hotel itself has been the subject of some mixed reviews but we found it to be a pleasant and comfortable base. Our room was large and well appointed and we both thought the food was of a good standard. It was also situated less than a 30 minute scenic drive from the Bifeng Panda Sanctuary where we were to be volunteers.
The next morning we set off bright and early to begin time with the giant pandas….We had been told that it would be a “Once in a lifetime experience” and it certainly lived up to its billing. Normally you would be straining to get a view of these wonderful animals but here we were within touching distance. The work itself was quite physical (lots of sweeping and cleaning is involved when mucking out pandas) The staff at the sanctuary don’t speak much English but, Tom, who was excellent throughout, was always on hand to assist with translations. Our supervisors seemed impressed that we were both happy to get our hands dirty for the privilege of being so close to the animals. Our duties in the sanctuary included cleaning the pandas’ enclosures and sleeping accommodation and also helping to feed them. We were also advised that we might be asked to help with other tasks that might crop up during our time there…In our case I was asked to assist with some heavy lifting to assist in transporting one panda from Bifeng to another sanctuary.
At the Bifeng Sanctuary visitors can have photos taken with young pandas which cost £100. They can also interact (play) with young pandas which costs £200 for a few minutes….We were told that the reason why this is so expensive is because although they want the money (it all goes towards the costs of running the sanctuary)….They don’t want to encourage too much interaction between humans and the young pandas which one day they might be able to release into the wild….I can understand this and we decided not pay the extra….We were more than delighted with the level of contact we had already experienced.
When we were not mucking out our pandas we had plenty of time to look around and take photos….Also, Tom took us sight-seeing and walking in the Bifeng Gorge….He also made sure that we were never short of plenty of food to eat.
Our adventure lasted four days…Two days travelling to and from Hong Kong and two days at the sanctuary….We both rated it as a fantastic adventure with good food and accommodation thrown in…..As regards the organisation…I can’t really fault it….Everything was as described and the trip ran like clockwork….On the basis of this trip I would have no hesitation in recommending China Discovery Tours / Tibet Discovery Tours to anyone travelling in that area and if we ever return, I would certainly use them again.”
Thanks to Robert. For more China Panda Volunteer Experience, please visit China Discovery on Tripadvisor.com.