Google “trips to China” and you’ll find plenty that will show you Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Yet virtually no one offers nature adventures, and no one else takes you to the rare and remote wildlife reserves that we do. Natural Habitat holds special permits that grant us access into a nature sanctuary that few Westerners—and very few local tourists—ever see. Of course, we also make sure you see China’s great cultural wonders (though even here, we take you to a more remote section of the Great Wall). But with NHA, you'll trade the additional time you’d spend in crowds, traffic and polluted city air for the beautiful, wild mountain country that our trip showcases.
- See Giant Pandas Up Close, and Search for Them in the Wild
First, we visit the Chengdu Giant Panda Base, home to approximately 100 giant pandas, where scientists conduct research and facilitate a critical breeding program. Next, we visit Bifengxia Panda Base in the mountainous Ya’an area to view pandas in more natural environs, where they have access to bamboo forest and native surroundings. Then, we include a genuine Nat Hab exclusive: we have secured special permits to visit remote sectors of an untouristed wild panda nature reserve, where we'll search for pandas and moon bears, as well as other rare and beautiful wildlife, within a completely natural, untouched habitat that few tourists have ever laid eyes on.
- Our Small Groups Go Places That Larger Groups Can't
Because we limit this trip to approximately 12 guests, we’re able to take you into places where larger bus tours cannot go. From a less-visited section of the Great Wall, away from the crowds, to a remote national park where we have exclusive permits to search for wild pandas, our experience is enhanced greatly by the fact that we keep our group size small!
- Enjoy Exclusive Access to Other Rare Wildlife
This trip is not only about pandas! We have special access to the Moon Bear Rescue Center, off-limits to most visitors, which is part of an international effort to protect highly endangered Asiatic black bears. And beyond, in the wild Minshan Mountains, we explore a forested sanctuary seen by only a handful of Westerners. A global biodiversity hotspot, it’s home to some of the world’s most endangered wildlife, including takin and snub-nosed golden monkeys, in addition to giant pandas.
- Experience Traditional Tibetan Culture
Our travels include an overland traverse of the Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, where prayer wheels and chortens dot the landscape. We'll share a meal with a Tibetan family and learn more about this deeply traditional culture—an interesting counterpoint to the other cultural experiences that are part of our journey.
- Dine on Some of China's Finest Local Cuisine
While nature may be your primary interest, food lovers will be thrilled by the culinary delights offered during this trip! Sichuan province in particular is famed for its savory, often spicy, cuisine, and we take full advantage of opportunities to try a wide selection of restaurants and dishes during our journey. Since food is typically served family-style at a large round table, multiple tastes and dietary preferences can be catered for at any given meal (though be sure to make special needs known to us ahead of time). And never fear that you'll be eating only in hotels or touristy restaurants: we make a special point to choose locations that are popular with local people, for a truly authentic Chinese dining experience.
- Our Accommodations Offer the Best in Location and Comfort
From five-star luxury hotels in Beijing and Chengdu to a quiet mountain inn where other travelers are few, our comfortable lodgings place you in close proximity to famous Chinese landmarks and remote and wild natural settings. Each offers a regional experience of China with plenty of amenities.
- Travel with Expert Expedition Leaders
Our NHA Expedition Leaders are outstanding naturalist guides who are passionate about China and its wildlife. In addition, you’ll receive the services of an outstanding Chinese tour guide, ensuring an optimal balance of expert scientific knowledge, authentic cultural insight and attentive personal service. With the company of additional local guides, we can accommodate varied activities and exertion levels. Furthermore, our Expedition Leaders have the benefit of additional training and resources from WWF's renowned scientists and researchers. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- Our Quality Guarantee Ensures Your Outstanding China Tour
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee that clearly states that we will meet the high expectations we set forth in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and you can travel with us knowing that the emissions from your trip are 100-percent carbon-offset. NHA is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, a feature that is especially critical when considering the impacts of climate change on habitat for rare and endangered wildlife such as the giant panda.
- Natural Habitat Adventures Is WWF's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally friendly travel, as well as the exceptional quality of our small-group nature adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat its worldwide travel partner — a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Wild China Wildlife Adventure travel books
for this trip.