12-day Panda Volunteer & Travel
There is no animal on earth quite like the panda. Endangered, massive and incredibly cute! This China trip enables you to get up close and personal with these amazing animals and make a genuine difference to their lives.
After your time with the pandas- there are more highlights in store with 6 days on The Dragon Trip. In this time, you’ll see the terracotta warriors, learn kung fu in Shaolin and camp under the stars on the Great Wall of China.
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- Project Start Date: Selected Thursdays and Saturday
- Project Location: Dujiangyan City (approx. 40 miles from Chengdu)
- Getting There: Pick-up from Mrs Panda Hostel in Chengdu, transfer to project and transport throughout included
- Accommodation: Single room or twin room accommodation at Panda Centre (4 nts), hostels & guesthouses (4 nts), tent on Great Wall (1 nt), sleeping berth on overnight train (1 nt)
- Meals: 3 breakfasts
- Notes: All bedding, sleeping bags and mats provided during Great Wall camping
- You can be picked up at any time to be taken to the to the Dujiangyan Panda Research centre.
- Take a tour of your home for the next few days. Please make sure you have your health certificate/letter with you. (See Further Info tab)
- After breakfast, you’ll go straight to the Panda enclosures.
- First up is helping the rangers to prepare the enclosures before feeding the Pandas themselves.
- The Pandas like to rest around lunchtime so you can relax, enjoy surroundings and learn more about the animals and how they are looked after.
- In the afternoon, you’ll help the rangers with their various activities. These include cleaning, feeding Pandas and preparing the Pandas’ evening meals.
- Bid a fond farewell to the pandas and be awarded a certificate for your efforts.
- After lunch, head on over to join your travel group at the hostel.
- Board the bullet train and start your travels around China. You will arrive in Xi’an at approx. 21:30, where you will meet your Adventure Leader and transfer to the hostel.
- Optional: Explore the Bell Drum Towers, Muslim Quarter and Great Mosque to learn about the history of the Silk Road, towers, mosque and some local legends.
- Optional: Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!
- Enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. Relax after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
- Another bucket-list destination with a trip to see the infamous Terracotta warriors.
- Optional: Watch the Music & Lights show near the Big Goose Pagoda
- Board a private minivan to DengFeng, the closest village to the Shaolin Temple
- Arrive in DengFeng
- Optional: Kung Fu Lesson & Show at a local Children’s Home run by the Shaolin Temple where the monks teach these children to be Kungfu masters. All proceeds go directly to the Children’s Home.
- Dinner in the Guesthouse
- Mandarin lesson: Have your first Mandarin lesson!
- Optional: Visit the flagship of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple
- Optional: Hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims, and be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines/temples in the area and the views of the area
- Optional: Had enough of temples or kung-fu? Visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s
- Have a late lunch at the guesthouse then pack and check out
- Depart to Zhengzhou to board your train to Beijing
- Arrive at the train station and have some food before your train leaves
- Arrive Beijing and meet your next Adventure Leader. Transfer by minibus to the hostel. You won’t be staying the night here, so you won’t be able to get into rooms, but can use the shower rooms, and common areas to relax before heading to the Wall in the afternoon
- Mandarin lesson: Have your 2nd Mandarin Lesson
- It’s time for the Mandarin challenge! Use your freshly learned Mandarin to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways. The winning team earns a prize.
- Mandatory meal at a local farm to obtain permission to access the locals only sections of the unrestored Great Wall
- Hike on totally unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section of the wall to watch the sunset on one of the Wonders of the World (Please note, due to cold weather before end of April and after September, we stay in a guest house near the Wall instead of camping, but still return to the Wall to watch sunrise in the morning)
- Rise early for an unforgettable sunrise
- Return to Beijing.
- Optional: Go to the Temple of Heaven, the largest complex dedicated to heaven worship in the world and where ancient sacrifices were made to bring bountiful harvests
- Test your bargaining skills in the Fake Goods Market!
- Optional: A stunning Chinese Acrobatics Performance performed by young talents recruited from around China
- Enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck
Post-trip night of Day 11 included in the tour.
The package price includes the following:
Bilingual Adventure Leaders
Accommodation (hostels, guest houses, and 1 night camping)
Transport within China
Loads of fantastic, activities, camping under the stars on a remote section of the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors and much more (see itinerary).
Please note: Accommodation is in dorm rooms as a standard.
Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available, please contact us for more information.
A deposit is required to make a reservation, with the balance due one month prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £200 GBP / $300 USD / $300 AUD / €300 EUR.
For customers making payment from the UK: please note that when you are making a payment into our US dollar account you must request your bank to send the money directly to our US dollar account at HSBC UK. Otherwise they may use an intermediary bank resulting in an added wiring fee charged to you of $25.00.
Late booking customers must understand that they may be sat separately from the rest of the group on trains, and may have to be booked into a separate dorm room. No bookings can be accepted within 18 days of a trip departure date.
Upgrades & extras
Need hostels booked for after your trip ends? We are more than happy to help – just let us know what you need!
If you would like to alter your trip itinerary from the one provided to you by us then please let us know more than 30 days before your trip departs so that we can make your trip the perfect one for you! When you let us know that means we can relay all information to our on the ground staff and make the appropriate arrangements. Some such requests from previous Dragon Trippers are: I would like to skip Macau and go directly to Hong Kong from Fujian, I don’t need accommodation in Shanghai because I am staying with a friend, I would not like to camp on the wall and instead want to stay in regular accommodation, I would like to take a flight instead of a train for certain legs of the trip. Please let us know more than 30 days in advance. If you do not let us know in advance The Dragon Trip will not be responsible for assisting you, or for providing reimbursement for accommodations or transportation not used.
Room and train upgrades for this route are available. Room upgrade requests must be communicated to the Dragon Trip before the start of the trip. Customers wishing to upgrade once the trip has started must do so independently. In Beijing everyone will get twin rooms, those who have paid for an upgrade will receive a superior room. Train upgrades are unavailable once train tickets have been booked, train upgrades only apply to over-night trains.
Train upgrades cost GBP 70 per person.
The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers. In Beijing and Shanghai, the price is GBP 40 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 PAX). If you’d like a bilingual guide to meet you and ride with you from the airport to your destination, or vice versa, it is GBP 40 extra for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 PAX). In Guilin, Xi’an and Chengdu, the price is GBP 30 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 PAX). If you’d like a bilingual guide, it is GBP 30 for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 PAX). This service is not available in Hong Kong.
All train tickets in China must be purchased through a central booking centre which means there is always a small chance that you may not be seated together with the person that you have booked the tour together with. If you or your PAX has a seat that is not next to the group’s our Adventure Leaders have a process to help you switch your tickets, so that you are seated next to the group. (In some train stations, the Adventure Leader will be able to board the train even when they won’t be travelling themselves. In this case, they will switch you or your PAXs tickets with a local so that Dragon Trippers can sit together. In the case that our Adventure Leader cannot board the train, they will be able to explain in Mandarin over the phone to a conductor, or directly to a local passenger to help switch seats so that Dragon Trippers may be seated together.)
Customers need to bring a doctor’s certificate or written letter proving that they are fit and don’t have any contagious disease for the volunteering. This needs to mention the customer’s full name and passport number and also with the doctor’s signature, stamp and date.
You will receive a wristband which will have a phone number on it for you to call in emergencies.
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