Natural Habitat Adventures & WWF
Discovering Our Planet Together
Get the Catalog
eNews Signup
Call (800) 543-8917
Call (800) 543-8917
Giant panda, Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, ChinaGiant panda, Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, ChinaGiant panda, Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, ChinaRed panda, Chengdu Panda Base, Chengdu, ChinaJiuzhaigou National Park, ChinaGiant panda, Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, ChinaRhesus macaques, Wild Panda Nature Reserve, Minshan Mountains, ChinaSichuan takin, Wild Panda Nature Reserve, Minshan Mountains, ChinaTangjiahe Guest House, Qingchuan County, ChinaJuizhaigou, ChinaJiuzhaigo National Park, ChinaGiant panda, Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, ChinaJuizhaigou, China
Edward Mendall: Panda with bamboo
Lindsey Kleinsasser: Bifengxia Panda Base
Brad Josephs: Travelers at Jiuzhaigou National Park, Giant panda at Bifengxia Panda Base
Greg Courter: Juizhaigou, China

Photo Credits
More Info
12 Days / From $10495 (800) 543-8917 for Availability
Home Asia & Pacific The Wild Side of China: A Nature Odyssey

The Wild Side of China: A Nature Odyssey

A Far-East Safari to See Pandas, Explore Remote Nature Reserves & Search for Rare Wildlife
Deep in the Minshan Mountains of Sichuan province, great rivers and gorges dissect lush forests that shelter some of the world’s most endangered wildlife. This is the last wild habitat of the giant panda, which subsists on the bamboo protected within a network of remote nature reserves. Supported by WWF, these little-visited wilderness enclaves also harbor rare moon bears, golden monkeys, shaggy takin, blue sheep and exquisite birds, including the golden pheasant. Discover a side of China most travelers never see on our unique itinerary, carefully crafted to reveal rarely seen panda habitat and Chinese nature at its most captivating.

Trip Highlights

  • Get close to endangered giant pandas and learn about their conservation at three world-renowned panda research bases—plus a chance to volunteer in their care!
  • Travel deep into the distant mountains and forests of Sichuan and the Tibetan Plateau where we search for rare and endangered species found nowhere else on Earth
  • Exclusive permits grant us access into a remote, rarely visited wildlife reserve where we may find signs of some of the last wild giant pandas that live and breed freely
We Show You the Natural China That Most People Never See!
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. With NHA, you'll trade the time you’d spend in crowds, traffic and polluted city air for the beautiful, wild mountain country that our trip showcases.
  1. See Endangered Giant Pandas Up Close
    Compare China itineraries—we don't think you'll find another that offers the panda immersion ours does! We enjoy unhurried visits to three of China's top panda research bases: Chengdu Giant Panda Base, home to approximately 100 giant pandas, where scientists conduct research and facilitate a critical breeding program, Dujiangyan Panda Base, which focuses on rescuing injured and ill wild pandas and disease control, and Dujiangyan Panda Valley, with an emphasis on breeding and releasing pandas back into the wild.
  2. Enjoy a Rare Volunteer Opportunity with Pandas
    At Dujiangyan Panda Valley, you'll have an optional chance for a volunteer experience in which you'll help with aspects of the pandas' care—this could involve preparing their food, cleaning enclosures, and other tasks that will put you directly into the world of the pandas' caregivers at this research base. Please note that we cannot guarantee that this opportunity will always be available. 
  3. Search for Pandas in the Wild 
    This is a genuine Nat Hab exclusive: We have secured special permits to visit remote sectors of an untouristed wild nature reserve where we search for pandas and moon bears, as well as other rare and beautiful wildlife like takin, serow and golden pheasant, within a completely natural, untouched habitat that few tourists have ever laid eyes on.
  4. 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, including a remote national park where we have exclusive permits to search for wild pandas. Your experience is enhanced greatly by the fact that we keep our group size small!
  5. Enjoy Exclusive Access to Search for Rare Wildlife
    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 wild giant pandas. The terrain is steep and heavily forested, and animals are often sheltered, camouflaged or sometimes seen at a distance, but even knowing that we are in their midst in such a quiet, wild place is a moving experience. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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 cuisine, and we take full advantage of opportunities to try a wide selection of restaurants and dishes during our journey, with items carefully selected by our local guide to appeal to western palates. 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 that Western visitors will also enjoy.
  8. Our Accommodations Offer the Best in Location and Comfort
    From a five-star luxury hotel in 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. 
  9. Travel with Expert Expedition Leaders 
    Our NHA Expedition Leaders are outstanding U.S. naturalist guides who are passionate about China and its wildlife. In addition, you’ll receive the services of an expert 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.
  10. Our Quality-Value 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
Reading List
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Wild Side of China Wildlife Adventure travel books for this trip.

Other Trips You May Enjoy

New Itinerary!

The Wild Side of China Photo Adventure

From endangered pandas and golden pheasants to waterfalls and the Tibetan Plateau, our photo tour is a montage of China’s natural splendors.
12 Days / Apr - May & Oct, From $10495

The Wild Side of China Photo Adventure

China has always held a mystique for travelers, and this is especially true for photographers. Few places on earth offer such a rich palette of photography opportunities: The Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven evoke images of imperial splendor, tea ceremonies and serene gardens reflect centuries of custom, the ancient stonework of the Great Wall snakes off toward the horizon. Just as grand, however, if less familiar, are China’s natural treasures. Great rivers and mountain ranges dominate much of the landscape. The country's dwindling bamboo forests are still home to endangered giant pandas. China is a photographer’s dream, offering a unique combination of mesmerizing landscapes, historic sites, cultural experiences and wildlife photo opportunities. Come explore this amazing country with us, as we capture images of China both ancient and wild.
New Itinerary!

Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari

Avoid the crowds on an intimate small-group adventure to Alaska's best wildlife spots, including the brown bears of Katmai, Kenai Fjords and the backcountry wilderness of Denali National Park.
13 Days / Jun - Aug, From $10295

Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari

2016 Wildlife Webinars

Every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month.

See the Full Schedule Here

Voted Best of Travel 2015

Our Base Camp Greenland trip is named Best Splurge by Outside magazine!

In the News

CNN recently joined Natural Habitat’s Polar Bear Photo Tour! Click here to watch.
eNewsletter Signup
Our weekly eNewsletter highlights exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography hints and more. Use the form below to submit your name and email address.
No Thanks

Thank You

Send to a Friend
Please use the form below to send this page to a friend via email.
Send To
From (Your Info)
Yes, I’d like to receive Nat Hab’s nature travel eNews.
No Thanks

Thank You

Get the Catalog Sign up for Emails
Natural Habitat & WWF – Discovering Our Planet Together