Global Nomadic

Panda Care

Chengdu, China show on map

Agency | Global Nomadic

Get very close to the amazing pandas, working with staff to help keep them fed, clean and happy! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

The panda 

The panda is one of the most delightful and captivating of animals, and has long been a highly recognised symbol for wildlife conservation. Recently, the Giant Panda was downgraded from the status of endangered, but its future is still very vulnerable. Estimates place the total number of pandas in the world at only about 1600, most of these in Sichuan Province.

The project 

You’ll have plenty of time to photograph, and observe the pandas at the base, as you get to understand more about this rare and wonderful species.

Volunteers are needed to help safeguard the future of the Giant Panda in China.

Most of the work will involve providing basic care for the pandas; preparing food, feeding the animals, and cleaning the enclosures. You might be asked to help the trainers to collect behavioural data on the animals; or help out with the various research, and veterinary projects at the base.

We’ll offer free Chinese classes every day from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.; you don’t have to attend, but we hope they’ll help you start to feel at home in this wonderful country. 

Cultural Immersion

During the first week we’ll introduce you to the other volunteers staying with us; you’ll be able to spend some time getting to know them, and our co-ordinators. You’ll go for a short tour around the local village, and see the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. In the winter months, you can pick the fruits from the trees in the local fields. In the afternoon, we’ll give you an introduction to the language, and teach you some key words and phrases.

Below is a schedule to give you an idea of what the first week will be like. It is only intended to be a rough guide; every schedule can be customised according to your choices.

Schedule

The schedule below should give you an idea of what to expect on your first week in China:

Day One
We’ll introduce you to the other volunteers staying with us; you’ll be able to spend some time getting to know them, and our co-ordinators. You’ll go for a short tour around the local village, and see the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. In the winter months, you can pick the fruits from the trees in the local fields. In the afternoon, we’ll give you an introduction to the language, and teach you some key words and phrases.

Day Two
The day begins with breakfast, and a briefing on the details of your adventure. You’ll visit Lianhua Town, and we’ll help you register at the local police station; it’s required that all foreigners explain where they intend to live during their stay in China.

You’ll visit the local fair, and we’ll show you where the convenience store is. Here, you’ll be able to buy any supplies you might need, and even pick up a SIM card to use with your mobile phone. In the evening, we’ll challenge you to a game of Mahjong, and teach you about Chinese numbers.

Day Three
Breakfast today will be a little special. We’ll provide a traditional Chinese breakfast, with Gongcheng You Cha; a special local tea. We’ll introduce you to the tea ceremony, and show you how to prepare it in the traditional way.

You’ll visit the village of Hengshan, where you can climb the amazing tower, and take in the spectacular views. There is also a traditional well here so you’ll get an idea of how local people used to live.

In the evening, there’ll be a special cooking and language class. We’ll teach you the words and phrases you’ll need to go to the market and buy the ingredients. Once you have gathered your supplies, we’ll help you cook your own dinner. We won’t force you to eat it!

Day Four
Your day will start with another language lesson, and a discussion about your cultural experiences so far. You’ll have the chance to do some origami, and try your hand at Chinese calligraphy.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit Hongyan Village, where you can enjoy a relaxing walk among the forest of fruit trees. You might choose to walk to the Fengyu bridge to enjoy the architecture; or row a boat along the beautiful river.

Day Five
After another language class in the morning, you’ll have lunch in Gongcheng County, where you can try the local food. You’ll visit a primary school, and be introduced to the Chinese education system. Later on, you’ll have the chance to visit a Confucian temple, and a Guangong temple in Gongcheng Town. There’s also a beautiful river here that you can walk along.

Day Six, and Seven
We’ll finish the week with some group discussions, and you’ll get a chance to share your experiences with your fellow adventurers. After that, you’re free to enjoy your weekend however you choose.

Typical day

You’ll work closely with the staff at the Panda Base to 

  • prepare food and feed the pandas
  • clean the enclosures 
  • help ensure this is a safe and secure environment for the animals
  • help provide medical care to the Pandas (occasionally) 
  • assist in research projects 

Once you have registered at the Panda reserve, and collected your uniform and staff card, you’ll meet your trainer. You’ll work closely together during your stay, and they’ll help give you an idea of what a job in conservation is like. For your own safety, you must follow their instructions at all times. If you are having trouble following your schedule, they’ll be happy to help you with it.

We’ll provide you with orientation DVDs, to help you understand more about the project, and take you on a tour of the Panda Base.

Details on Arrival

The project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Placements start each Monday.

Free-time activities

Your evenings and weekends will provide you with free time, which you can use to explore the region, or simply relax. There’s a regular bus service from the nearby Ya’an City that will take you to Chengdu, if you wish to tour the city, and do some shopping.

The forests in the area are extremely dense and wild; walking into them alone can be dangerous, as you can easily get lost. If you want to explore, we suggest that you find a group with an experienced guide, or ask someone at the Panda Base; we’ll be happy to help organise an excursion.

Hiking

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
Minimum 1 week commitment - 30+ hours a week
Necessary vaccinations.
Necessary flights & visas.
Full travel & medical insurance.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Global Nomadic cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Global Nomadic.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Global Nomadic (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Global Nomadic
  • Accommodation
  • Food & Drinks
  • Airport Pickup
  • orientation
  • in-country support
  • project activities
Airport Pickup at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
You will be met at Chengdu airport and transported to the project location by bus.
Accommodation

During your visit, you’ll stay in the hotel within the nature reserve next to the Panda Base. It’s run by local people. You’ll share a room with two to four other people, but every room has a bathroom attached to it, and can provide hot water 24 hours a day. 

There are a few small shops in and around the panda base; and a bar and common room opposite the hotel, where you can relax, watch TV, and share your experiences with other adventurers.

The Panda Base can provide free Internet access during working hours; but when you need money, or wish to use an Internet cafe, you’ll have to make the short trip into Ya’an City. If you need medical assistance at any time, there’s a clinic at the base, and several good hospitals in Ya’an.

Private rooms are available for an additional $130 (depending on currency exchange rate) per week.

Dorm Room Hotel
Food & Beverages
All your meals will be provided for you, there will be a lot of local, spicy food. 
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) in Chengdu. We assist you to find cheap flights to China.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for China provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in China you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for China.
Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 1,300
1 week (max. stay)
$ 1,300
Average fees
$ 1,300 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Chengdu/China between 1 week and 1 week. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Nomadic will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in China.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Global Nomadic during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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