Panda Volunteer Tour
Next scheduled Tour: Oct.30 – Nov.12, 2020
Since we are no longer able to visit the Moon Bears Rescue Center near Chengdu due to groups being restricted from visiting. As an exciting alternative we have combined this tour with a visit to the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand. There we spend a couple days at an Elephant Refuge along with a very special visit to the Clouded Leopards Breeding Center in Thailand.
If you are a panda fan there is no other Panda Tour that can rival ours. Our partner in Beijing and ourselves are the originators of the Panda Volunteer Tours which we have offered since 2001. We don’t offer one day or two day tours, nor are the pandas a sideline on a tour to China. They are the main attraction. Our tours are panda intensive and are geared to serious panda fans to do volunteer work serval days to a week. While you are with the pandas you are a panda keeper, not a tourist.
In recent months the World Wildlife Fund has complained to China that the pandas are being misused having their pictures taken with tourists day in and day out. Pandas are wild animals and not circus props. We fully support this. Picture taking for the tourists is not what panda bases have been established for. Thus it is no longer possible to have ones picture taken with a panda bear.
It is exactly for this reason that Posh Journeys had suspended their tours for some time. Panda tours had acquired a bad reputation of being a “make money quick” scheme. Expensive quick day tours to the Chengdu Base and the Dujiangyan panda base were being offered by irresponsible Chinese and American tour operators as “highlights” of a tour to China.
However, Posh Journeys sees no reason to suspend our tours any longer which are geared to the many serious panda fans. Thus in February 2020 we are offering a Panda Volunteer Tour and the extension to Thailand. The tour will be escorted by Richard Blanchette of Boulder, Colorado, a nature and wildlife photographer who has escorted Panda Tours for us before.
THE ITINERARY IS:
Oct.30 – Depart San Francisco for the flight to Chengdu. We are presently working on a discounted group flight with United so that everyone can arrive at the same time.
Nov.1 – Arrive Chengdu where your local guide will meet you at the airport to drive to the Panda Research and Conservation Center in Wolong, our first volunteer location. After arrival, check into the hotel which is located within the Conservation Research Center. There is time for a rest or a first look at the pandas before meeting for dinner at the hotel. D
Nov. 2/3 – After breakfast register at the Volunteer Club, sign some paperwork and receive your uniform and meet your keeper, referred to as “the Master” with whom you will work. You will be assigned a panda for whom you will be the keeper for the time you are a volunteer. The chores are exactly those a keeper would do. They entail cleaning the panda’s enclosure and bin, taking out old bamboo and replenishing it with new and feeding the panda additional foods such as milk and panda bread. The bread is baked fresh each day in a special kitchen and you will take turns baking the bread. Work hours are from 8:30 in the morning to 11:30 and from 2:00 in the afternoon to 4:00 pm. Lunches and dinners are at the hotel. After working hours you are free to enjoy the base and take pictures of the pandas. B L D
Nov.4/5 – A special treat on these two days is volunteer work at the old Wolong Research Center that was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the earthquake of 2008. The accommodations will not change since the old Wolong base is not far away. Some of you may be returning volunteers, if so, being back will recall many memories of past times spent in their beloved Wolong. Working hours are the same. On the evening of the 5th, it being the last day, we will have a dinner and party for the “Masters.” this is something we have always done which is greatly appreciated by the the base crew. B L D
Nov.6 – After Breakfast we bid the pandas goodbye to drive back to Chengdu. Along the route we stop at an ancient irrigation and flood control system built around 250 BC. Our driver will leave us off at the top of a hill from where a beautiful walk takes you past original Tang Dynasty temples to the edge of the river. Relax in one of the Tea Houses along the river with a cup of fragrant Sichuan green tea or walk across the hanging bridge to an island in the river. Later continue on to Chengdu for an authentic Hot Pot dinner, not the tourist version of Hot Pot but the real thing. B D
Nov.7 – The next morning fly to Bangkok (a 3.5 hour flight.) Upon arrival we transfer to the Wildlife Friends Foundation which rescues wild animals that have been exploited, maltreated and neglected. We will stay in comfortable bungalows on the Elephant Refuge. The bungalows are set above the ground so that you can overlook the Refuge and be visited by an elephant putting its trunk on the rail of your balcony. B L D
Nov.8 – The day is spend with the elephants. You will help bathe them in the river and just simply enjoying these large, gentle creatures. B L D
Nov.9 – The day is free to explore the grounds of the Rescue Center where more than 500 wild and mistreated animals have found a safe home. Among these animals are macaques, lorises, langurs, moon bears, elephants and wild cats. B LD
Nov.10 – After breakfast transfer to the seaside town of Si Racha (the town where siracha sauce originated) You will stay the night in the beautiful Balcony Seaside Siracha Hotel. From here you embark on one of the highlights of the trip, a private visit to the Clouded Leopard Breeding Center which is not open to the general public. Enjoy the afternoon at the beach or lounging at the hotel’s beachside terrace. B D
Nov. 11 – Early this morning you are picked up by private transfer for the hour’s drive to the Khao Kheo Open Zoo where the Breeding Center is located. You will be met there by either Bill Wood, the head of Breeding Center, or by his associate to spend the morning with the Clouded Leopards so named since their fur resembles clouds in the sky. The Clouded Leopards are one of the world’s most ancient animals and are among the most endangered. It will be an experience only few people ever are privileged to experience. After the leopards you have some time of your own before returning to Bangkok for an overnight at the luxurious Park Nine Airport Hotel.
Nov.12 – This morning board your homeward flight. We have not included breakfast since your departure may be early. If not you can book it the night before for about 10.00 USD
INCLUDED: 11-nights first class hotel accommodations, best available at the panda base, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Private guide and driver, all transportation, airport transfers, airfare between China and Thailand, volunteer work, uniforms, flight to Bangkok, all entry fees for included sightseeing and the services of AH Travel China, Posh Journeys and Richard Blanchette as your tour escort.
NOT INCLUDED: International Airfare, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks with meals, tips to driver and guides, travel insurance and any item not specifically mention in this itinerary.
Pease Note we are working with United on a special group fare from San Francisco.
TOUR COST: $3980.00 per person sharing a double room
SINGLE TOUR COST: $ 4320.00
The tour is limited to 14 participants
If you want us to hold a spot on the tour send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org