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Volunteer in China and experience the rare Giant Panda

Love Pandas? Would you like to visit them in the largest Panda Reserve in China? Then this is the project for you.

Volunteering at the Panda Reserve offers you the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the Giant Panda - both the baby pandas and the grown-ups!  

At a glance:

Volunteering: Feed and care for Pandas in China

Accommodation: Shared hostels

Meals: x3 varied and delicious meals a day included

Dates: Starts most Mondays

Minimum stay: 1 week


What animals will I look after? 

The focus of the project is volunteering to work with Pandas at the Ya’an Panda Base in China. The Pandas were relocated there from Wolong Panda base, Xinjing which was devastated by an earthquake in 2008. Since the move, the panda population in care has more than doubled, not least thanks to the efforts of volunteers, and the Panda Base is at last in a position to think about fulfilling the ambition of releasing them back to the wild.  The project is in the early stages of making this a reality!

Your work will involve being with the Pandas as a full time carer. You will be preparing food for the pandas such as apples, panda bread, carrots – and of course their favourite – bamboo! You’ll be serving them  food, cleaning their enclosures, and ensuring they are safe and secure.

About the Panda Reserve:

The project is located within the beautiful mountain region of the Wolong Nature Reserve, 150 kilometres from Chengdu City, (the capital of Sichuan Province).

This project is the largest Panda Reserve in China, and the care you provide will genuinely help the Panda Reserve to protect these animals from extinction.

What will I be doing at The Panda Reserve?

As a volunteer you get to tour the Panda Reserve for free. The reserve contains panda raising, breeding, rare wild animal rescue and educational facilities.

 Typical daily activities you will be involved in include:

  •  cleaning the panda’s living areas
  •  preparing food and feeding them
  •  full training will be given 

You may also be asked to conduct some research into their habits and health, so that we may extend our knowledge and caring activities for this highly endangered species.   

If you are interested in animal conservation, this represents a real opportunity to learn about something unique to China – the Giant Panda.


​​Weekend Activities

You'll also get lots of free time to explore the area and learn the local language. Some of your leisure activities may include:

  • Table Tennis
  • Mah-jong
  • Chinese Chess
  • Free pass to access all areas of the Panda Reserve
  • Volunteer Centre - this is a general area where most volunteers will take time to relax, chat or eat ice cream!
  • Free Chinese language lessons from 4pm-6pm daily


This is a one week programme. (If you're wanting longer to explore China & want time with the Pandas, we'd suggest the 28 day Road Trip China which includes 3 days at the Panda base). Otherwise if this is a big volunteer trip for you, we'd suggest doing this on your way to Africa or during your time doing any of the other Asia/Pacific volunteer adventures. We can easily arrange all your transfers!. 



  • Airport pickup from your English speaking guide and transfer to the volunteer Hostel


  • Breakfast
  • Visit Chengdu’s Panda Breeding Center
  • Lunch
  • Chengdu city-walking tour (Tianfu Square, People’s park, Kuanzhai Alley)
  • Welcome Dinner at a local hotpot restaurant


Panda Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to the Panda reserve
  • Lunch at the Panda Base Hostel
  • Meeting at the activity room
  • Brief introduction at the panda center and collect your uniform and card
  • Valley hiking to see the waterfall
  • Dinner
  • Welcome party & Panda documentary screening

Wednesday to Friday

Panda Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • Cleaning, preparing food, chopping and carrying bamboo
  • Panda feeding
  • Lunch
  • Preparing food, chopping and carrying bamboo
  • Chinese lesson (optional)
  • Panda feeding
  • Dinner
  • Calligraphy lesson & Culture lesson & Paper craft (optional)


Panda Reserve

  • You will transfer to Chengdu city/airport. Late afternoon flights are recommended to be on time!

Programmes start weekly throughout the year. However please apply at least 4 weeks in advance to guarantee your booking.

This program includes a lot of walking and hiking, the panda base is located in the mountains therefore is often rainy so roads are slippery! Due to the amount of physical activity on this project, for safety reasons we cannot accept volunteers above the recommended age.

What's included:

  • Airport pick up at Chengdu on arrival on Sunday.
  • Transfer to Panda Base.
  • All accommodation and food (3 meals/day) whilst on the programme.
  • Internet/Wi-fi access at many hostels.
  • Assistance with Chinese visa renewals/extensions (any associated costs are the responsibility of the participant).
  • All photographs except those listed.
  • 24/7 support during your programme.
  • 24/7 emergency phone line.
  • Saturday 8.00 a.m. transfer from the Panda Base to Chengdu airport on completion of the programme. 
  • Arriving at the airport at approximately 11.00 a.m. Those with later flights may choose to take this transfer to Chengdu city - also included in the cost of the programme, but subsequent costs of getting to the airport are not included.

What's not included:

  • International flights and Insurance (although we can help you organise these easily at no extra cost to you)
  • Visa application(s), renewals/extensions & associated costs.
  • Insurance.
  • Extra activities not listed in the programme.


''This week has been amazing!! I love the pandas - they are so cute. I can't believe how fast the week has gone though, everybody's so friendly and the pandas can be so funny. It's a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget''- Fiona, Scotland.

''I had three amazing weeks at the panda base... an incredible experience. You were able to get to know the different personalities of the pandas you were working with and had access to the whole panda reserve'' - Lisa, Norway.

''During the four weeks I fell in love - with a panda!'' - Lena, Norway.

''I enjoyed my time at the panda base... having fun with the other volunteers. Although four weeks might seem a long time, it passes quickly. This trip was definitely worth it!'' - Ashira, Belgium

''It has been a most amazing experience. Not just meeting and working with the pandas, but learning about the culture and society of China. The volunteers are friendly and fun to hang out with, so evenings are pretty great. I think it's fair to say that I've had a few culture shocks, so much here is different from my home in Sweden, but I've had a great time discovering these differences. I definitely want to come back someday!'' - Lynn, Sweden

''From the pick up at the airport everything has been great and working so closely with the pandas is truly amazing'' - Mikael, Sweden

“Our English speaking guide is amazing”
“They are amazing -- and the food is sooooo good honestly”

“Best experience of my life ever. I've peaked at 21. It's not gonna get any better than this" - Hannah Foreman, Auckland, NZ. 


Things to note:

This is a one week programme. (If you're wanting longer to explore China & want time with the Pandas, we'd suggest the 28 day Road Trip China which includes 3 days at the Panda base). Otherwise if this is a big volunteer trip for you, we'd suggest doing this on your way to Africa or during your time doing any of the other Asia/Pacific volunteer adventures. We can easily arrange all your transfers.  Get in touch with us if you'd like to organise a school or University group trip. 

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