The last time you traveled to Singapore, was your plane temperature controlled? Were your meals specially prepared? Were the flight attendants attuned to your every need? Don't worry, me neither. But, for Kai Kai and Jia Jia, the pair of giant pandas that recently traveled to the Asian city-state to star in a new exhibit at River Safari, Asia's first animal theme park.
The two bears traveled in the heights of luxury. First, the five-hour flight on Singapore Airlines’ Cargo Boeing 747 was temperature controlled to match their natural habitat. Then, they were served premium in-flight meals with bamboo, fruit, and water. Only gourmet for the cuddly duo. And, of course, the SIA staff tended to all of their needs while aboard the flight. But, the fun didn't stop when the plane landed. Singapore rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the bears' arrival to their new home.
Kai Kai and Jia Jia will be on loan from China Wildlife Conservation Association for 10 years to promote wildlife conservation and awareness about breeding programs for endangered animals. There are currently only 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, and China Wildlife and Wildlife Reserves Singapore are working to save them from extinction. Fans anxious to see the celebrity pandas—and learn how to help them and their friends—can begin lining up this December when the exhibit doors open.
Kelsi Maree Borland is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.