Chitwan National Park is one of the best touristic wildlife-viewing national parks in Asia. It was first established in 1973. Once known as Royal Chitwan National Park, it was used to a hunting ground that royalty used for big game. But the park became popular as a wildlife getaway once Unesco gave it ‘World Heritage’ status in 1984.
Chitwan National Park reserves 932 sq-km protected areas of marshland, forest and grassland, surrounded by Rapti and Reu, two tributaries of the Narayani River. The nearest Airport is located in Bharatpur 10 kilometers away.
Chitwan is probably the most visited place in travelers list. Most of the animals you see here will be single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, the royal Bengal tigers , 55 amphibians and reptiles, and 60 species of mammals. You can see other wildlife such as– the deer, monkeys, elephants, and snakes. Wander around for a chance to spot the royal Bengal tiger if you are lucky. Chitwan is also home to many other exquisite birds, around 544 species, such as greater coucals, stonechats, squawking bulbuls, Oriental darters, goosanders, Bengal pittas, several varieties of grass warbles and many others.
Getting to Chitwan National Park
- By Air: The nearest airport is Bharatapur, which is only 25 minute’s air ride from Kathmandu. Bharatpur is only 30 minutes drive from Chitwan National Park.It is advisable to book the flight ticket in advance during the peak season.
- By Land: Tourist buses leave daily from Pokhara and Kathmandu at 7 am and takes about 6-7 hours. From Sauraha Chowk its only 7 km to the national park, you can take a public bus or a horse cart to reach Chitwan National Park.
Accommodation in Chitwan National Park
For stay there are many budget resorts and guesthouses are in the town of Sauraha, located on Rapti River’s northern bank. If you are seeking for luxurious accommodation then you can go for one of the fabulous option as there are some which are set in the Tharus villag area , on the banks of the Rapti River.
Activities in Chitwan National park
Jungle Safari: You can walk through the park’s core area but for such adventure you need to hire a local jungle guide. You can be as close as you can get to wildlife and makes an adventurous experience. For more adventure- walk which take you deeper into the jungle you can go for overnight tours as most of the tour companies in Nepal are offering such packages. If walking through the forest scares you, but wants to get deep inside quickly, go for a jeep safari.
Canoe ride down Rapti River is truly mesmerizing. You will spot all kinds of birds flying by or perched on the banks of the river, you may get a close look at the Gharial and Mugger crocodiles along with fresh water dolphins. In the morning there will be many animals out for searching foods or drinking water and splashing themselves, which makes for excellent sighting opportunities.
Tharu cultural show:
The Tharus are the indigenous ethnic group who live in the northern part of Terai and inner Terai with a concentrated population in the middle and west. They approximately form 6.4% of total population. You witness their traditional life and houses with thatched roofs and clay walls. Their own culture and unique dance are the tribes of chitwan region which attracts more people. Namely, Peacock dance and stick dance are the most performed ones.
You can visit Sauraha to watch the resident and migrants birds that reside here coming from thousands of miles away. Here you can hire a guide that he/she will guide you to the perfect place to watch birds. You will get glimpses of Giant Hornbill, Paradise Flycatcher and Lesser Florican. In Sauraha there is around 160 species of migrant birds and 543 species in total.
Sauraha and Meghauli are the currently two spots for birds watching. Note: Meghauli is the new tourist hub.
Night Stay in Jungle:
You can experience sunrise and sunset inside the forest. There is a tower where we can use for accommodation with basic toilet.
Cycling outside of Sauraha you can get glimpses of the Nepali living style. You can view some crop fields, farmers and fishermen. You may even get a chance to view some rare animals and birds. You can get an experienced guide to visit more places better.