Most people who went to Sichuan in China would love to at least see the adoring pandas; and they would likely go to the Giant Panda Sanctuaries, part of a UNESCO Heritage Site which is about one hour outside of Chengdu. This sanctuary is very close to the epicentre of the devastating earthquake last year. However a better place to see the pandas as well as appreciating the works involved in preserving these marvelous animals is at the Panda Breeding & Research Center (renamed Chengdu Panda Base) right within Chengdu itself. It is situated in the northern suburbs and can be visited easily by taking city buses. This is a non-profit organisation engaged in wildlife research, captive breeding and conservation education. There are apparently around 100 pandas including cubs (yes- you can see the cubs through the glass windows) within the base. These pandas are released into the wild once they are deemed independent enough to survive in the forests. At the base one can see the pandas up-close-and-personal- more personal by paying a small fee to touch and be photographed with the pandas- these fees go towards the running costs of the Base. Good time to visit the Base is in the morning- around 9-10am when they are fed and active. At other times, these lazy guys just lazed around and fall asleep. Visiting the Base can be one of your most memorable and enjoyable experience in China.