Chitwan National Park: The ultimate travel guide

  February 17th, 2020

Chitwan National Park (CNP) situated in lower plains of Nepal is one of the famous tourist destinations in Nepal. This national park that once acknowledged as Royal National Park is the first of its kind in Nepal established with a noble mission of protecting wildlife. This beauty and pride of Nepal encompass thick green forests, grasslands, and remarkable vegetations. Apart from that, this place is home to rare creatures like one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, elephants, crocodile etcetera. Tour to Chitwan National Park will provide you the best memories of your life as you can engage in many activities like Elephant ride, jungle safari etcetera, let alone the diversity of flora and fauna you will witness here.

 
Chitwan National Park is a famous destination for wildlife lovers out there. Not only this, the natural views, diverse vegetations, unique culture of locals, opportunity to be in close vicinity of the wildlife, attracts thousands of voyagers to Chitwan and Sauraha every year. Through this incredible tour, you will come to a fair conclusion that though, mountains like the majestic Mt. Everest are huge parts of Nepal, there is so much more to Nepal than it. This place is an ultimate destination for adventure, animal and Safari lovers.
 
Chitwan National Park encompasses many wildlife. The green forests covering about 70 % of the land here provides with many activities that will indulge you while completely captivating your attention and keeping you from boredom. The extensive vegetations like the crawlers for instance- King Cobra, Rock python, tortoise, crocodiles, and many fish species have found their home in this huge national park. Other mammals like Bengal Tiger, clouded leopards, one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, Bengal foxes, wild boars, Sambar deer, hog deer etcetera are found here.

How to reach Chitwan National Park?

You can get to Chitwan National Park in different ways. Chitwan National Park (CNP) is located in south-central Nepal - Nawalpur, Parsa, Chitwan, and Makwanpur districts in the subtropical Inner Terai Lowlands. The airport nearest to Chitwan National park is 10 Kilometers away in Bharatpur. If you are going through a travel agency, how will you travel from Kathmandu to Chitwan National park will depend on your trekking package. Here, we provide some options on the well-acknowledged traveling method to Chitwan National Park.

One way you can get to Chitwan National Park is via a tourist bus which will take you approximately 6 hours from Kathmandu. You will be sharing the tourist bus with other traveling members. This is an optimal and economical way to reach there that requires less expense.

Travelers can reach Chitwan National Parks by privately booked transport means like jeep or car.
You can reach there via a flight. Find out more about Kathmandu to Chitwan's flight price by contacting us.
You can also opt for Mini- Vans to reach Sauraha from which you can take a bus or taxi to the best resorts in Chitwan or Sauraha close or Chitwan National Park. 

About Sauraha

Located adjacent to Chitwan National Park, Sauraha is a small town/village that can be regarded as the eastern gateway to Chitwan National Park. It is near the Rapti river and provides visitors with eclectic options for accommodations, Chitwan hotels, restaurants, and resorts in close vicinity of Chitwan National Park.
 
Sauraha is where you want to be for mid-priced or even relatively cheap 3-4-star hotels. You can find Jungle Safari Lodge, Affordable Chitwan National Park Safari here with so much more. You will witness many mud huts and houses with Tharu settlements in Sauraha Chitwan of Nepal. Accommodations in Sauraha are much cheaper than accommodations in Chitwan National Park.

History of Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is the very first National Park in Nepal established in 1973. Before hosting this National Park, Chitwan was one of the sought-after hunting grounds for the ruling class of Nepal mainly during cool winter seasons. At that time Chitwan used to be home to hundreds of tigers, leopards, rhinoceros, and other animals.

The forests and grasslands of Chitwan were eventually encroached by the farmers and these areas were afterward opened for settlements. This was followed by extensive poaching and hunting of wildlife. Up to 70% of the forest in Chitwan was cleared followed by the rampant poaching and hence the sharp decline of the rhino population.

As this situation got worse and many animals that were abundant before were on the verge of annihilation in Nepal, Chitwan National Park was established with the mission to protect and breed the endangered animals. The establishment of this National Park that was before known as Royal Chitwan National Park also ceased the rapid encroachment of the forests in the neighboring region in Lower Nepal.
 
Chitwan National Park Nepal Became a member of the World Heritage Site in 1984. When it was established in 1973, the area of Chitwan National Park was 544 square kilometers. Later in 1977, other contiguous areas were also encompassed making up the area of 932 square kilometers which is the current Chitwan National Park area.

Chitwan National Park Weather

As Chitwan National Park is located in lower Nepal, the climate here is highly humid throughout the year except for a few months in winter.  The Spring, Summer, and Autumn weather are more or less similar except for a few fundamental differences. The temperature during Spring can range between 30 to 40 degrees. There can be sporadic rainfall which is not that likely. The Autumn weather condition is very similar to that to Spring.
 
If you decide to travel to Chitwan National Park during June, July, August, and September, you are likely to be hit by heavy rainfall as this time marks Monsoon/Summer in Nepal and in Chitwan National Park. During Summer, the weather or climatic condition is very hot due to the soaring temperature that can reach as high as 43 degrees Celsius.
 
The months from October to February is when winter prevails in Chitwan National Park. You will experience the coldest weather in the Chitwan National Park vicinity during this January when the temperature can drop a low as 7 degrees. On the positive light, even during January days, the temperature can reach up to 20 degrees during the afternoon.

What is the Best time to visit Chitwan?

To enjoy every second in Chitwan National Park, it’s very important that you decide the best time possible. Though Chitwan National Park is open throughout the year, the extremely hot and humid environment during the Summer season can make the visit extremely uncomfortable for you. While coming here make sure that, you arrive at the time when most of the wildlife will be visible and when the forest is as luxuriant as possible, and the weather comfortable.

One of the most favorable time to visit Chitwan National Park is during Winter (October to February). The clear skies, comfortable weather, the dry environment makes this season perfect for visiting Chitwan National Park. Moreover, you are likely to meet a lot of wildlife during this season. Another, plus point is the tall Phanta grass is cut by the locals here from January to March, making the animals visible.

Summer (March to May) can get extremely hot and uncomfortable for you due to increasing temperature and humidity. Also, the Monsoon (June to September) season is not a good timekeeping animals’ visibility in mind. To make matter even worse, the persistent leeches might get to you during this season

Best time to spot the tiger

Though you will see evidence of the existence of Chitwan National Park tigers, you are unlikely to see one.  Don’t get sad yet, many other things that Chitwan National Park will make up for it.
The best time to spot a tiger in Chitwan National Park in April and May as Tigers are probable to come out of their den and roam around watering holes and rivers during these dry months. If you are bend onto spotting tiger, we suggest you this time of the year.

What is Chitwan National Park famous for? / Activities to look forward to on Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park of Nepal will reveal to you the secrets of nature. You will see rare animals like one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger etcetera here. On top of that, there is much more you can do here than view these rare animals in the Chitwan National Park area. Following we have listed out some things to do at Chitwan National Park Nepal:
  • Chitwan National Park Jungle safari
  • Chitwan National Park Jeep Safari
  • Elephant ride and safari
  • Visit Elephant Breeding Center
  • River boating and Canoeing at Rapti River
  • Washing Elephant
  • Visit Bis Hazari Tal
  • Visit Tharu Village in Sauraha
  • Explore the local /Tharu culture
  • National Trust Nature Conservation 

Chitwan National Park Jungle safari

Chitwan National Park Jungle Safari will give you one of the most exhilarating walks of your life. This safari/ walk around the heart of Chitwan can be single, in a group for a duration of 1 day or 2 days or even more depending upon the traveling package. Though your safari tours you will witness many animals like one-horned Rhinoceros (Yup you heard it right, you might see one of the rare animals worldwide), many birds, Rhesus monkey, deer and many more. The Chitwan Jungle Safari cost will range between 1400 to 2000 rupees a day. You need not worry about this as High Venture will have handled it.

Chitwan National Park Jeep Safari

For those visitors running short on time or for whom walking through the woods is too much hustle, you can go for this engaging activity. You can inside out of jungle within no time through jeep tours. Chitwan National Park Jeep Safari cost usually revolves around USD 180 which is equivalent to Nepali 21000 rupees and it includes the food and accommodation cost. You can have a distant view of the wildlife and multiple vegetation through these tours.

Elephant ride and safari

Elephant ride in Chitwan National Park is another unique activity that you can do here. Through this exotic and unique experience, you can observe other wildlife, birds, and vegetations. everything feels new and freshening from the top on Elephant back. The elephants are trained, so you can seat high on their back and enjoy the ride. This service is provided by almost every lodge and tour agencies. This 1 – 1.5-hour-long Elephant ride costs over 2500 rupees for foreigners. 

Visit Elephant Breeding Center

This is something you can do in Sauraha Chitwan Nepal. Elephant breeding Center was established with the mission to protect the elephants of the regions. We highly recommend you explore Chitwan Elephant Breeding Center. You will see baby elephants there. You can walk here or take a rickshaw or other available transport to reach there. You can stop a while for photography with a cute little baby elephant on the frame.

 Washing Elephant

Washing elephants can yet another be a new addition to things you have done and Chitwan National Park is an easy destination that can have this arranged without much danger issues. You can wash elephants or even bath with elephants in the Rapti river after buying a ticket that is affordable within the range of 200 to 500. People line up to capture the photographs of elephant bathing.

River boating and Canoeing at Rapti River

Tourists and visitors can also be a part of river boating and canoeing through this travel. You might get a closer look at crocodiles sunbathing or swimming on the river and other animals as well. This is one promising activity that allures people to boating or Canoeing. You will boat in the Rapti river whilst enjoying the views of rare animals relaxing on the wetlands.

Visit Bis Hazari Tal

This is another thing to explore while at Chitwan National Park. Here, you can enjoy watching birds. The chirping sound of the birds whilst they are busy on their own will definitely go down as the best sound you hear all day long.

Visit Tharu Village in Sauraha

Tharu is one of the many indigenous ethnic groups of Lower Nepal-Terai region. This village tour will take you to the Tharu Villages of Sauraha where you can observe the lifestyle and culture of the Tharu community. You can even explore the Tharu Village museum which is positioned at the heart of Sauraha Bachhauli. You can visit the Tharu village yourself or go there with a guide who will charge you about 1000 rupees.

Explore the local /Tharu culture

You can explore the culture and way of life of the local Tharu while on the Chitwan National Park tour. The traditional Tharu song, Tharu dances, comedy acts, peacock dance (called as Mayur naach), Stick dance (Danda naach), fire dance (aago naach) together makes one heck of a show. You can see these dances every day between 6 to 8 and they last for about 45 minutes. After enjoying this unique culture, you can go back to one of the resorts in Sauraha.

National Trust Nature Conservation

If you want to see large elephants, do look forward to this activity. If you arrive before 9 am or after 5 pm, you can see elephants for free. The elephants are mainly males here and are used as part of ranger patrols. These male elephants have high significance as they are used to protect other wildlife from being hunted or poached. They have some contributions to the increased number of tigers in the area recently.

How safe is Chitwan National Park?

People getting concerned regarding safety while planning Chitwan National Park tour is completely normal given how this place is the home of many dangerous animals like crocodiles, snakes, elephants, tigers, rhinos and even bears. We wouldn’t be passing dishonest information if we say that Chitwan National Park is a safe to place But, you need to be on your keen senses and careful as well.

There have been records of visitors being attacked by the aggressive Sloth bear. Our trekking guides will provide you some “what to do’s and what not to do’s”. how safe Chitwan tour turns out for you depends on you as well. We highly recommend you to stick by those then Chitwan National Park tour will be safe as well as enjoyable.

Another possible danger you might encounter during this marvelous visit, the chances of malaria and Dengue. An abundance of mosquitos in the subtropical regions is not an odd thing. Be careful that your bed has mosquito net or your hotel room has mosquito repellant.

Advice and tips

  • Avoid visiting the jungles alone as much as possible
  • Carry the travel gears depending upon the weather. For instance, proper shoes and dressing as per season etcetera
  • Tag along with ointment and gauze pads for leeches (mainly during summer)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Follow the instructions given by guides regarding wildlife.
  • Swimming costume if you decide to be a part of elephant bath 

Outline Itinerary

Day 01- Travel from Kathmandu to Chitwan
Day 02- Explore Chitwan/ Chitwan National Park
Day 03- Travel back to Kathmandu from Chitwan

Detail itinerary

Day 01- Travel from Kathmandu to Chitwan

One of the members of High Venture Plus will pick you up from the location that has been agreed upon by you and the travel agency. The location can be a hotel or bus station or International Airport. Depending upon the package, you are brought to Chitwan via tourist bus or a private vehicle or domestic flight. We will escort you to the hotels in Sauraha Chitwan or resorts there. After refreshing, you will be accompanied by the guide for the Tharu village tour. You will see the lifestyle and unique culture of this ethnic group. You will see the typical dance of Tharu culture here. Overnight in the booked hotel near Chitwan National Park.

Day 02- Explore Chitwan/ Chitwan National Park

 We will begin the day early enjoying the breakfast while enjoying the gorgeous view from the hotel. We then start exploring Chitwan National Park as we go to the Rapti River for Canoe ride. Look out for that rare Gharial crocodile and marsh mugger during your canoe ride as you are likely to see one. After that, we will take walk towards the jungle exploring the species like a monkey, wild boar, leopard, sloth bear, spotted dear, rhinoceros, elephant etcetera. With a little bit of luck, we might even see a Bengal tiger or a Leopard. We enjoy the views of the lush forest and the wildlife it hosts as we take an elephant ride or elephant Safari. We will go to the lodge for lunch in between and then enjoy ourselves while bathing an elephant. We can even visit Elephant breeding center. We can go to Bis Hazari Tal which in Chitwan National Park is one of the best places for birds watching. By the end of the day, you can explore the Tharu community some more, their villages and unique culture.  You can adjust other “to do activities in Chitwan National Park” as well in your day as well.

Day 03- Travel back to Kathmandu from Chitwan

The last day of the tour begins with you having breakfast early in the morning. We take a final brief detour of this royal park and bid goodbye to arriving back in Kathmandu.

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