It’s hard to believe that you can get up close and personal with these magnificent endangered creatures, but in Chengdu, a city located in Sichuan province, you can do just that. Native to just three provinces within China, the creatures are kept in a space as close to their natural habitat as possible and are encouraged to breed. Make sure you get to the Research Base early to catch their morning feeding and to have the best chance of seeing them awake—these are very sleepy creatures! The centre is easily accessed by bus or subway from Chengdu. Until the day comes when North Korea opens its borders, the closest you can get to exploring the secretive nation is on a highly monitored and expensive tour — or eating at the North Korean owned chain of restaurants, Pyongyang Goreo, in Shanghai (now open elsewhere in China). You don’t just get to try North Korean cuisine, you’ll also be entertained with traditional North Korean song and dance while you eat. It’s a fascinating experience and certainly one you couldn’t experience anywhere else except North Korea itself.

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