Ebony and Ivory
Ya'an Travel Blog› entry 7 of 80 › view all entries
We have decided to head over to the town of Ya'an, which is sort of on our way back to Chengdu. Here we are really on our own, as Ya'an does not feature in the LP so we have no idea what to expect or where to find a good place to stay, we will have to rely on our own ingenuity! The main bus station has a useful town map and we use the marked hotels to go hunting for room. Our 1st attempt draws a blank but when we walk back to the river we notice a smart looking hotel virtually next door to the bus station. The Chinese guest in reception indicates that it is good, the price is right for us at 108Y and it is pretty comfortable.
From the TV we now find out about the earthquake in Yushu.
After securing our room we walk around the town and conclude that Ya'an is probably the best spot we have visited so far. The town is surrounded by hills and split by a major river. On one side there are mainly tea houses and on the other hot-pot restaurants. Dominating the town is a classic chinese architecture bridge.
The reason however we have come here, is that Ya'an is the stopping off point for Bifengxia panda sanctuary. Bifengxia has replaced Wolong as one of the main panda sanctuaries after Wolong was badly damaged in the 2008 earthquake and the pandas moved here.
The sanctuary is a large complex with a zoo and hotels on site. The helpful girl at the ticket counter asks if we have our passports as then we can then get a 50% discount on entrance. I'm not sure about the arithmetic but we only pay 50Y for entrance and were expecting 80Y, which is what the tickets state, but we're happy to take the discount on offer. We consider walking but a shuttle bus turns up as we are checking the map and in 5 minutes drops us at the entrance. The park here has 3 main panda areas with a little walking in between. The enclosures are reasonably large so it is sometimes not easy to take close up pictures, but the panda kindergarten where there are 2 enclosures each with about 8 young pandas is absolutely brilliant. Could spend all day here just watching the baby pandas playing.