The name Longji means "dragon's backbone," an apt descriptor for the way the terraces follow the curves of the hillside.
Many hotel concierges can also prebook tours and panda holding sessions.
Cascading down the green mountains of Longsheng County are the Longji rice terraces, which form one of China's most spectacular landscapes.
Also magnificent -- and even better preserved -- are the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, along the ancient Silk Road trade route.
Photography isn't allowed inside the caves, so you'll just have to rely on your own memory to capture the colorful murals and sculptures here, which date back as far as the fourth century.
To hold a panda, you'll have to pay an extra fee and make reservations in advance.
For pre-arranged tours to the facility, check out Viator's half-day Chengdu Panda Breeding Center tour with optional baby panda holding session or China Discovery.com's one-day Chengdu Panda Tour (which also offers a panda holding option).
The villages of Ping'an and Dazhai are good starting points for hikes (there's also a cable car in Dazhai if you're not up for a moderate uphill climb); here you can also meet the local Zhuang and Yao people.
From Guilin to Yangshuo, the Li River Cruise - China by Lara G The 83-km-long waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo is like an artist's masterpiece.
Located some 40 minutes north of Chengdu city, the 165-acre facility is actively involved in panda research, breeding and conservation efforts.