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The Giant Panda Wolong China

Panda Wolong China - Great memories by Donna Lewin and Suzanne Howse

Peaceful, Serene atmosphere. Clean and crisp mountain air. Forested hills interspersed with mist and the sound of mountain waterfalls to lull and soothe after the smog and noise of cities.

Friendly, smiling locals, dressed Tibetan style who love to push their handmade crafts- woolen socks and gloves. Intricately woven cumber bands as modeled by the local women.

The trip up to Panda Wolong China from Chengdu is interesting. it's not too far (about 160km I think from Chengdu) but seems to take ages because of all the road works and it being such a poor road.

There is plenty to see old and new industry to wonder about; Relics of abandoned villages and mineral processing plants?

However, the scenery along the way is beautiful, and the people you pass on theroadside, in villages etc are fantastic, especially the road builders and bridge builders.

Men and women working building the roads and bridges mostly by hand or with old manual driven machine, it's like stepping back in time.

You see blue tarpaulin tent settlements alongside the highway where a lot of these men and woman live.

Lots of pre-schoolers and older people walking or sitting outside shops and homes.

However, the mountains are very spectacular and the engineering feats they have completed are very impressive (mainly bridges).

I would recommend a more comfortable vehicle than the van we had - a 4-wheel drive would have been better

You could see crystal clear, vivid blue mountain streams babble beside us as we wind up and up toward snow capped mountains.

We drove through a number of small villages and homes with meat hanging outside to cure and dry.. It was a real treat to see all this on the way up.

There are many potholes and loose gravel roads, and it does get a bit windy (many corners), once you get to the new hotel, it is worth it.

The fresh mountain air is the first thing you notice. It was still a little cool (early May) so warmer clothes are needed, but the fresh air!!!!

To us kiwi girls, it was our lifesaver. We recharged our batteries in this fresh air, and the mountains behind us still had snow! But it was so peaceful - it was like being back home.

We stayed at the Wolong Hotel is impressive and so unoccupied, this was in May 05.

There were only 5 guests for 300 odd rooms when we stayed.

Modern clean rooms, pleasant decor; fun soap/ shampoo/ toothbrushes/ bubble bath and white terry toweling robes with panda logos on everything.

Great beds with light, fluffy duvets, mini bars (not stocked)

The hotel was new and very clean, the food is all Chinese which includes a Chinese breakfast, which is very interesting if you have never had one.

Lots of Chinese cabbage, noodles, dumplings, milk, some Hot orange juice as a lunch or a dinner great, for breakfast , hard to get used to.

NO tea or Coffee either, so eat what you can.

So we survived on hard boiled eggs.

Most memorable and delicious dish was an amazing sizzling meat and vegetable combination in sweet sauce served over a crispy cooked rice cake, very nice.

The best place in the hotel is the top floor (5th floor I think) in the back wing.

All rooms face forward onto a large concrete landing. Almost eyelevel with some of the treetops and nice views down the valley and up into the mountains.

Best time of day is daybreak, just as the birds wake and start to sing.

The chorus of birdsong after 30 minutes is soul inspiring.

The hotel is about 3 km further up the road from the Panda Park , and there are plenty of forest walks to go on. We crossed the road outside the hotel and did some shopping at the local shop (2 stores set in a shack that sold everything you could imagine, but most of the goods were about 20 years out of date, not food but clothes, kerosene lamps, boots, etc).

When my parents come over, it is a must for them as the fresh air and time out (2 days minimum of doing nothing) will revitalize them for the next part of their trip (and yes, I will be using Travel-the-real-China.com you as their tour planner!).

Finally and certainly not least the Wolong Panda's ...what can I say.

Cute, comical, lazy and so lovable.

Best time of day to visit them is mid afternoon when they are more active.

We were truly lucky and honored to be there while a couple mated.

There were film crews, lots people watching ( the poor things) this actually was a very special event, considering female pandas only go on heat 3 x a year, great timing for us, we were very luck to witness such an event.

The Wolong Panda Reserve is ok as an educational facility- however, the keepers were not that helpful or interested in educating us but there are good videos and billboards that give plenty of information about the Giant Panda.

You can get your photo taken with a Panda cub, however is very expensive from memory about 800 Yuan

It gets cold up there so take warm clothes.

It's a wonderful place, if you have been traveling around China for a while, this is a great place to get some fresh air and some peace, from the hustle and bustle of traveling around China.

Go see it, its well worth it.

More info on the Panda Wolong China

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