From Xi’an we went to Chengdu (Flipflop hostel recommended), still firmly on the tourist trail – this time to visit the panda breeding centre. We had received a tip to go early in the morning, so, despite it being New Year’s Day, we were up early and had the park essentially to ourselves for the first couple of hours before the usual horde of Chinese tourists arrived. We left in the early afternoon, feeling very smug that we had had the pleasure of seeing the pandas feed, play and climb trees in the morning, whereas by 11am they were mainly all asleep. There was also an excellent David Attenborough documentary playing whilst we had lunch which was all about the park and the ongoing breeding program. All in all, very informative, interesting, and had a much nicer feel that the other major tourist attractions in China. It helped that the pandas were really, really cute!


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