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: None included
- Notes: All bedding, sleeping bags and mats provided during Great Wall camping
Day 1 – Chengdu:
You will be picked up at 9am from Mrs Panda Hostel, so that you can be transferred to the to the Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre. Take time to unpack your belongings and take a tour of your home for the next few days.
Day 2 to 4 – Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre:
From day 2 to 4, you will make your way to the Panda enclosures after breakfast. The first thing you will do is a general cleaning of the enclosures, and then, you will feed the Pandas, this usually happens from 8:40am until 11am.
It is important to note that pandas do not like to move too much, especially during summer, so they are given a daily rest from 11am until 2pm. During this time, you can have your lunch provided by the centre, look at the videos about Pandas or you can also have a rest.
Usually, the afternoons are spent helping the rangers with whatever they need doing like cleaning, feeding pandas and making the food. Normally, the volunteering section finishes around 3pm, after that you will have free time to go out and explore the surrounding beautiful scenic sights. Don’t worry, the work is not too labour intensive!
Day 5 – Chengdu & Xian:
There won’t be any volunteering today but you can of course say goodbye to the Pandas as you will moving on to your next destination today. The surrounding countryside also has many walking tracks that, if you haven’t already, you may like to explore.
Before leaving you will be rewarded with a certificate in recognition of your efforts at the Panda Reserve. After lunch you will be taken to meet the rest of your group to continue your travels in China at Mrs. Panda’s hostel in Chengdu.
Youhave some free time until 3pm to walk around, for example, you could visit Jinli & People’s park or if you’d like to have a rest and some free time of your own, that’s fine too!
Around 5pm, you will board a 4-hour bullet train to Xi’an where you will meet your Adventure Leader and transfer by metro to the hostel.
Day 6 – Xian:
You have a free morning! Your Adventure Leader will suggest some activities such as visiting museums, temples or going shopping. You could 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.
Around 3pm, you have the option to bike ride along the Ming Dynasty City Walls. Please make sure you wear a helmet!
In the evening, enjoy a dinner of local street foods at the Muslim Quarter. You will discover more of Xian after dinner by visiting the local Silk Road market nearby.
Day 7 – Xian:
Here you’ll tick off a bucket-list destination with a trip to see the world famous Terracotta warriors. The Terracotta Army in Xian, is a large collection of life-size terra cotta sculptures in battle formations, reproducing the mega imperial guard troops of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210BC), the first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Terracotta Army is no doubt a must-see for every visitor to Xian.
In the evening, you can enjoy the music and light fountain show that takes place on the North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the Qujiang District.
Day 8 – Shaolin:
The next morning, you will be off on a long journey to Shaolin.
In the afternoon, you can visit a local Kung Fu Children’s Home and join in on a lesson and show run by a master from the Shaolin Temple.. After dinner, you can have another Mandarin lesson to top up what you have learned so far!
Day 9 – Shaolin:
You have two options today:
– You can visit the home of Kung Fu, The Shaolin Temple, and hike to Dharma Cave, a spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims. Here, you will be rewarded by beautiful views of both the shrines and temples in the area.
– Or if you’ve had enough of temples and Kung Fu isn’t your combat style, you can visit the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO world heritage site with over 100,000 carved Buddha’s.
Later, you can have a late lunch at the guesthouse then check out and depart to Zhengzhou to board your night train to Beijing.
Day 10 – Beijing:
When you arrive in Beijing, you will meet your next Adventure Leader and go to a hostel for a rest. 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 Great Wall of China in the afternoon.
After a couple of hours, you can take another mandarin lesson and you can use your freshly learned language skills to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets and alleyways on a scavenger hunt – the winning team earns a prize!
After a late lunch at a local farm you will gain access to a section of the Great Wall that only the locals get to see and then you’ll hike on the unrestored sections of the Wall before setting up camp on a deserted section. Enjoy the peace and quiet!
Day 11 – Beijing:
The sunrise on the Great Wall of China will be the most unforgettable part of your trip. Today you will wake up early, enjoy the silence and watch the sun rise over the Great Wall.
Around 9am, you’ll return to Beijing and have the option to visit fake good markets and the nearby Temple of Heaven.
You can also watch a stunning Chinese Acrobatics Performance performed by young talents recruited from around China. Additionally, enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times, you can taste Beijing’s signature dish Peking Roast Duck.
Day 12 – Beijing:
Say goodbye to your fellow travellers and head back home! We hope that you had an amazing experience and we wish you safe and happy onward travels!
The package price includes the following:
• Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city
• Transport within China
• Accommodation (including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping)
Please note: Accommodation a the Panda Centre is single or twin rooms, dorm rooms are as a standard throughout the rest of the tour.
Upgrade options (to single, twin, or double rooms) are available, please contact us for more information.
Check out some of the affordable activities you can do on our tour:
• Terracotta Warriors (Xi’an)
• Hike to Dharma Cave (Shaolin)
• Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
• Fake market (Beijing)
• Great Wall of China (Beijing)
• Visit the 2009 Olympic Park (Beijing)
*Unmissable activities are listed in bold and included in the trip price. Find our extra optional activities here.
A deposit is required to make a reservation on our China tours, with the full balance due 40 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £100 GBP / $150 USD / €150 EUR / $200 AUD. If you book on to our China tours less than 40 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.
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 45 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.
The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.
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