Volunteer with Giant Pandas & Travel China | By The Dragon Trip

12-day Panda Volunteer & Travel

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12 days Chengdu to Beijing

12-day Panda Volunteering & Travel

There is no animal on earth quite like the Giant Panda. Endangered, massive and incredibly cute! This China group tour 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 six days travelling through China 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.


MARCH 2020 FROM £ Last few places!


What's included

Hostel Icon

Including hostels, guesthouses & 1 night camping

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Adventure Leader

Bilingual Adventure Leaders in each city

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Local transport

Transport within China

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2 activities included
Optional activities can be added.
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Itinerary & map

Day 1: Chengdu

Today, you’ve got your morning and early afternoon free. Explore Chengdu under your own steam – a couple of great options to explore are Jinli & the People’s Park! At 3pm, you’ll be picked up from your hostel, where you’ll transfer to the Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre – this will take around 2 hours. After you’ve arrived, spend some time settling in and familiarise yourself with the local area.

Days 2 to 4: Dujiangyan Panda Research Centre

After you’ve had breakfast each morning, you’ll head over to the panda enclosures to get started. First things first: cleaning! You’ll work with the team to clean up the enclosures, before you’re able to spend observing them – between 8-11am, you’ll also take part in various training sessions, which staff at the Centre will tell you more about. Pandas don’t like to move too much, especially during summer, so they’re given a rest from 11am to 2pm. During this time, you’ll grab lunch and either relax yourself, or spend some time exploring your surroundings.

Your afternoons will be spent helping the rangers with whatever they need – including feeding! Pandas need to be fed at least once more time during the afternoon, so you’ll help make their food. You may also be asked to help out with some general tasks – but don’t worry, nothing is ever too labour-intensive!

Once you’re finished volunteering for the day, you’ll have free time to explore the area. You might want to explore the old streets in the local town, or hike to Qingcheng Mountain!

On Day 4, you’ll receive your certificate, which recognises all your hard work helping at the Panda Centre.

Day 5: Chengdu & Xi’an

With your volunteering having come to an end, today you will transfer back to the hostel at around 10am.

In Chengdu, you’ll meet up with the rest of the group who you’ll be travelling with for the rest of your trip. You will have some free time to grab lunch, or take a rest if you need it! In the early afternoon, you will meet your Adventure Leader for a briefing – after that, you’ll jump on the metro to the train station, ready to take the 3hr30 train to Xi’an. After that, you’ll head to your hostel to settle in, ready for a jam-packed day tomorrow!

Day 6: Xi’an

This morning is yours to do as you please! Your Adventure Leader will be on hand to suggest some activities – you might want to go temple-hopping, explore a museum or two, or even do a spot of shopping! You could explore the Bell Drum Towers, the Muslim Quarter, and the Great Mosque – where you can learn about the history of the Silk Road and the local area.

In the mid-afternoon, you’ll have the option to take an amazing bike ride across Xi’an’s beautiful Ming Dynasty City Walls. Make sure you wear a helmet! In the evening, head back into the Muslim Quarter to enjoy the delicious local street foods. You’ll also have time to explore more of Xi’an after dinner with a visit to the Silk Road market nearby.

Day 7: Xi’an

This morning, you’ll tick off a bucket-list destination, with a trip to see the world-famous Terracotta Warriors! Considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world – and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the thousands of life-sized carved warriors accompany the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210BC), the first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China.

This evening, you’ll have the chance to grab a spectacular display in the Qujiang District. Head to the North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, where you can enjoy a beautiful fountain show, accompanied by music and lights.

Day 8: Shaolin

This morning, you’ll set off on your long journey to Shaolin. You’ll arrive in the afternoon, head to your next accommodation, and then visit a local kung-fu children’s home. Here, you’ll be able to join in on a lesson run by a master from the Shaolin Temple – considered the birthplace of kung-fu.

You’ll grab yourself some dinner, and then have a Mandarin  lesson, where you can top up everything you’ve picked up on your journey so far!

Day 9: Shaolin

Today, you’ve got two options:

  • You could visit the Shaolin Temple – the home of kung-fu. From there, you can hike to Dharma Cave, which is a deeply important spiritual spot for Buddhist pilgrims. Here, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the shrines, as well as the other temples in the area.
  • If you’ve had enough of temples and kung-fu isn’t your combat style, you can visit the Longmen Grottoes. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains some of the most stunning works of Chinese stone carving on the planet. There’s over 2,000 caves, which together house over 100,000 stone Buddhas over a 1km stretch.  

Later, you can have a late lunch at the guesthouse before you check out, ready to depart to Zhengzhou and board your night train to Beijing.

Day 10: Beijing

After arriving in Beijing, you’ll meet your new Adventure Leader, and head to a local hostel for a rest. You won’t be staying the night so you won’t have a room, but you’ll be able to use the shower facilities to clean up and the common areas to relax. A couple of hours later, you’ll take anothe Mandarin lesson – after this, use your freshly-learned language skills to complete challenges around Beijing’s ancient streets on a scavenger hunt. The winning team gets a prize!

You’ll then head to a local farm for a delicious late lunch. Then, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! You’ll head to the Great Wall of China, gaining access to a section that only the locals get to see. Hike along some of the unrestored sections of the Wall, before setting up camp on a deserted section. Enjoy the peace and quiet!

Day 11: Beijing

Sunrise on the Great Wall of China will be the most unforgettable part of your trip. Today you will wake up early and watch as the sun rises in the distance.

In the morning, you’ll return to Beijing. On your way back to Beijing, you can stop off at the 2009 Olympic Park to take a few snaps. The rest of the day is free for you to do as you please, but you can opt to join your Adventure Leader with some optional activities. You can visit a market, head to Jingshan Park for a birdseye view of three key places: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square.

While you’re in Beijing, be sure to catch a stunning Chinese acrobatics performances, performed by young talents recruited from around China. Additionally, be sure to try Beijing’s signature dish – Peking Roast Duck! It was enjoyed exclusively by royalty in ancient times.

Day 12: Beijing

Sadly, today is the last day of your China tour. You’ll bid farewell to your fellow travellers, ready to head back home.


Check out our included activities for this group tour below:

  • Panda Volunteering (Chengdu)
  • Terracotta Warriors (Xian)
  • Great Wall of China (Beijing)


Train Tickets

There is always a small chance a group member’s ticket may not be sat with the rest of the group on one of the trains. Not to worry, in this situation the Adventure Leader will help you switch with a local so that the Dragon Trippers can sit together.


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.


You will receive a wristband which will have a phone number on it for you to call in emergencies.

Activities that aren’t included:

  • Qingcheng Mountain (Chengdu)
  • Jiezi Ancient Town (Chengdu)
  • Hot Springs (Chengdu)
  • Puzhao Buddhist Temple (Chengdu)
  • Six Senses Afternoon Tea (Chengdu)
  • Zhujuan Coffee Shop (Chengdu)
  • Tie-Dye Process (Chengdu)
  • Tea Process (Chengdu)
  • The Jinli Old Street & People’s Walking Tour (Chengdu)
  • Bike Ride on Ming Dynasty Walls (Xian)
  • Bell Drum Tower and Muslim Quarter (Xian)
  • Big Goose Pagoda (Xian)
  • Kung Fu Lesson (Shaolin)
  • Hike to Dharma Cave (Shaolin)
  • Longmen Grottoes (Shaolin)
  • Visit the 2008 Olympic Park (Beijing)
  • Fake Goods Market & Temple of Heaven (Beijing)
  • Tiananmen Square (Beijing)
  • Chinese Acrobatics Show (Beijing)
  • Peking Roast Duck (Beijing)

Room Upgrades

A room upgrade will be included throughout the whole of this tour. (Chengdu to Beijing)

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Additional Services

If you are arriving early into Chengdu before your volunteering experience with the Giant Pandas or staying on at the end of the group tour, we can arrange additional accommodation for you.

The Dragon Trip provides, upon request, airport transfers. In Beijing and Shanghai, the price is £40 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). 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 £40 extra for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). In Guilin, Xi’an and Chengdu, the price is £30 for a pick up or drop-off. This will be in private transportation (up to 3 customers). If you’d like a bilingual guide, it is £30 for a pick up or drop off (up to 3 customers). This service is not available in Hong Kong.

A deposit is required to make a reservation on our China tours, with the 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 10% of the group tour price (unless stated otherwise). 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.

No bookings can be accepted within 18 days of a trip departure date.

Visit our FAQs page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Please note: The Chinese Golden Week public holidays take place from 1st-7th May and 1st-7th October. During this time, many attractions can be much busier than usual.

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