Pandas in Chengdu, China
The first step to get to Thailand was passing through China.
We had a productive layover in Chengdu. We flew in to Chengdu in the middle of the night, and were able to sleep 8 hours, and wake up early to change our cash from USD to RMB, take a taxi to the giant panda research facility, and see the most intense panda exhibit of my life. It was massive. We only had about an hour in the park when we took driving across town in a poorly negotiated taxi into account, but it was worth the extra effort. It was amazing seeing the Pandas, and it was like any other Zoo I’ve ever visited. Having a whole park dedicated to one animal is quite a trip, and it felt incredibly humane. The pandas were so amazing, and actually exhibited quite notable behaviors. We managed to get back to the airport in time to have one of the best Sichuan meals we’d ever had in our lives.
Having such a productive layover helped me feel like we fit another destination into our trip. While Chengdu isn’t a tourist draw, it was enough of a culture shock to warrant the trip out of the airport.