Brad Josephs: Pandas eating bamboo at Chengdu Research Base, golden snub-nosed monkey, traveler and panda at Chengdu Research Base, Rhesus macaques, red panda, Traveler at Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan takin, lake in Minshan Moutains, Tibetan woman and prayer wheels, panda cubs at Dujiangyan
Edward Mendall: Panda with bamboo
See Pandas & Golden Monkeys & Search for Rare Wildlife on Remote Nature Reserves
Deep in the Minshan Mountains of Sichuan province, great rivers and gorges dissect lush forests that harbor some of the world’s most endangered wildlife. This is the last wild habitat of the giant panda, which lives on the bamboo protected within a network of secluded nature reserves. Supported by WWF, these little-visited wilderness enclaves also shelter rare moon bears, golden snub-nosed monkeys, shaggy takin, Chinese goral and exquisite birds, including the golden pheasant. Discover a side of China most travelers never see on our Far East nature safari. Our unique itinerary is carefully crafted to reveal rarely seen panda habitat and wild China at its most entrancing. We'll also have up-close encounters with pandas at China's famous research bases, plus a visit to ancient Xi'an where the Terracotta Army has guarded the tomb of China's first emperor for more than 2,200 years.
Get close to giant pandas and learn about their conservation at three world-renowned panda research centers—plus a chance to volunteer in their care
Exclusive permits grant us access into a remote, rarely visited wildlife reserve where we may find signs of wild giant pandas that live and breed freely
Enjoy encounters at close range with golden monkeys, charming blue-faced primates that live only in a small area of temperate forest in central China
We Show You the Natural China 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 remote, rarely visited 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 wild mountain country our trip showcases.
See Giant Pandas Up Close on Four Visits to Three Different Sites
Compare China itineraries—we don't think you'll find another that offers the panda immersion this one does. We make four separate, unhurried visits to three 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.
Enjoy a Rare Volunteer Opportunity with Pandas
At Dujiangyan Panda Base, 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 place you directly into the daily activities of the pandas' caregivers at this research base. Please note we cannot guarantee that this opportunity will always be available.
Enjoy Exclusive Access to Search for Pandas & Other Rare Wildlife This is a genuine Nat Hab privilege: We have secured special permits to visit remote sectors of an untouristed nature reserve deep within the Minshan Mountains, a global biodiversity hotspot that's home to some of the world’s most endangered wildlife. We'll search for giant pandas and moon bears that inhabit the park, though we won'texpect to see them, as both are highly elusive. We'll have better chances to find other rare and beautiful Chinese animals like takin, goral, serow and golden pheasant, within a completely natural habitat that few tourists have ever laid eyes on—and only a handful of Westerners (mostly other Nat Hab travelers). The terrain is steep and heavily forested, and animals are often sheltered, camouflaged or seen at a distance—but just being in their midst in such a quiet, wild place is a moving experience.
Get Close to Golden Monkeys
Visit a golden monkey nature reserve where we're sure to have close-up encounters with a habituated family group of these delightful snub-nosed primates. It's a rare opportunity to see and photograph this endangered species that is endemic to a very limited part of central and southwest China.
Our Small Groups Go Places 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 (though they are exceptionally elusive and rarely seen). Your experience is enhanced greatly by the fact that we keep our group size small, allowing access to natural places regular tour groups will never see.
Experience Traditional Tibetan Culture Our travels include an overland traverse of the Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, where Tibetan villages, 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 is famed for its piquant cuisine, and we take full advantage of opportunities to try a wide selection of restaurants and dishes, with items carefully chosen 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 point to choose locations popular with local people, for a truly authentic Chinese dining experience that Western visitors will also enjoy.
Our Accommodations Offer the Best in Location and Comfort From a 5-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.
Travel with Expert Expedition Leaders Our NHA Expedition Leaders are outstanding North American naturalist guides who are passionate about China and its wildlife. In addition, you’ll travel with a Chinese tour guide who is a nature expert, ensuring an optimal balance of scientific knowledge, authentic cultural insight and attentive personal service. 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-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.
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 vulnerable 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!
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