Royal Chitwan National Park
Earth : Asia : South Asia : Nepal : Western Tarai : Royal Chitwan National Park
In 1973, Chitwan National Park was established covering 932 sq km area is now listed in the World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984. The Park consists of a diversity of ecosystems-including the Churia hills, Ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti, Reu and Narayani Rivers. The Churia hills rise slowly towards the East from 150 m. to more than 800 m. The western portion of the Park is comprised of the lower but more rugged, Someshwar hill. The Park shares its eastern boundary with the Parsa Wildlife Reserve. Recently a website has been launched about Chitwan that provides almost all of the information about Chitwan and Chitwan National Park. The website address is . You can get all information including past and present. You can also find events that is going to happen in future from this website.
The Royal Chitwan National Park is a very popular tourist destination in Nepal. Visitors have the option to enter the park from the eastern town of Sauraha or the western village of Meghauli. Sauraha is the most popular entrance and is where most of the package tours go. It has more than 150 hotels for all budgets, dozens of restaurans and bars and many tour agencies offering jungle treks and elephant safaries. Meghauli Village is a small Tharu settlement recently open as a "village tourism destination" with the creation of 5 Tharu Homestays. Here there are also 7 luxury jungle resorts and all the infrastructure to run the same jungle activities than in Sauraha, but in a much more intimate environment and with the plus of offering a real nepalese village experience. But here there are no ATMs, internet cafes or souvenir shops, and just a handfull of local restaurants.
The park compromise 932 square kilometres of tropical and subtropical vegetation, with grassland, riverine and Sal forest. Three rivers shape most of its boundaries: the Narayani and Rapti in the north, and the Rew flowing through the National Park.
Flora and fauna
The Royal Chitwan National Park is home to a very rich flora and fauna. The park is world renown for being one of the last refuges of the one horn rhino and home to other fascinating species like royal Bengal tigers, leopards, Asiatic elephants, wild boars, sloth bears, the endanger gharial crocodiles, monkeys, 5 types of deers and more than 600 species of birds.
Being on the plain terrains of Nepal, the weather here is much warmer than in the rest of the country. From November to February (winter time) the nights and mornings can be cold (around 10 degrees), but the temperature during the day is very pleasant. From March to June is very hot and humid, specially from 10am until 4 pm. From July to September is monzoon season and the heavy rain can make the jungle and roads very muddy and full of leaches.
The main transportation hub for the Chitwan area is the city of Narayangarh in Bharatpur. From here you can go to the east to Sauraha or to the west to Meghauli Village (there are regular buses departing to both destination). There is also an airpoprt here (Bharatpur) with flights operating to and from Kathmandu and Pokhara. Flight scheduled are available at NepalAirFlight
There are direct buses to and from Kathmandu to Meghauli Village departing from the Kalanki Bus Park every day in the early morning and leaving passengers right in the village. You can get to the bus station by taxi or walking 20 minutes from Thamel to Balaju Chowk and then taking a local bus to Kalanki. On the way back buses depart from the main bus stand of the village.
All "tourist buses" going from Kathmandu or Pokhara with destination "Chitwan National Park" go to the tourist town of Sauraha and will leave passengers in a bus station 7 km far from town from where they need to take a taxi, bicicle rickshaw or ox cart.
You can even get in (well, almost) by raft from Pokhara. This is a fantastic way of tackling that trip and avoid the bus ride. The rafting itself is not spectacular, but you'll spend a relaxing two days on the river. The last part you will have to hop on a bus though. Ask around in Pokhara.
For all activities inside and outside (yes, really), visitors must pay NPR 1700 for a park permit. There's no way for you to enter the park without a guide, so add a price of a tour to your budget.
In Meghauli Village you can do a walk in the Community Jungle with very good chances of seing rhinos and other animals. The fee is a fraction of the National Park but you still need to hire a guide, as the animals living in this jungle are very dangerous.
Both Meghauli Village and Sauraha are small towns and can easily be covered by foot. To explore nearby villages it is possible to rent bycicles or hire a buffalo cart.
For all activities: bear in mind that tourism here is *big business*. You can book your tour through the hotel, the shop next door, the tour offices and the neighbour's dog. There is usually some pressure from your hotel staff to book through them. Doing this adds absolutely nothing to the experience, except cost. Shop around in town, bargain, and try to find the various associations of guides directly. Ask for references and experience, make sure the guy you talk to is also the one that will accompany you.
If you come Chitwan to spot a tiger, you might reconsider your expectations. Surely there is the occasional sighting, but these elusive cats mainly hunt at night, when the park is closed for visitors. Anyway, you wouldn't want to meet a tiger at night... Chances of seeing one are hugely exaggerated by anyone involved in the tour business (i.e.: everyone in town), the average guide only sees one every few months. Just enjoy the forest and the exitement of the 'hunt'.
Jungle walk: the jungle inside the Chitwan National park and the Community Jungle of Meghauli Village is a very rich ecosystem and a walk here gives you the chance to see deers, monkeys, wild boars, wild elephants, one horne rhino and many species of birds. Walking with a certified guide is mandatory as these animals can be very dangerous. Tharu guides also know about traditional indigenous medicine and can explain the use of the different grass that the Tharu people collect from the jungle to build their houses, feed the animals, make baskets and produce utensils. In the Community Jungle of Meghauli Village there is a watching tower where you can spend the night for a small fee.
Elefant Safari: the safest way to see wildlife in the jungle is on top of one of the magnificent Asian Elephants. These huge animals make little noise when they move and from their backs you can see great distances and spot animals that sometimes hide behind the tall grass. You can take an Elephant Safari inside the Chitwan National Park or in the Community Forest of Meghaulli Village.
Elephant bath: you can go on top on an elephant inside the Rapti River and help to bathe this beautiful animal.
Jeep safari: going by jeep in the jungle will allow you to get deep inside the park. But keep in mind that the noise of the motors usually scares away the animals, reducing your chances of spotting wildlife.
There are two ethical tours avaliable: StandUp4elephants  and Direct Aid Nepal . Project Direct Aid Nepal established fist refuge for retired and rescued elephants. They have a private land and organise ethical tours, when you can see elephants in their natural enviroment with no chains. There is also a shop Everything elephant in Sauhara(close to culture centre) with handmade products(empowering local Women). Stand UP4 eleptants is based on bying happy hour for one elephant. The elephant will get a break and freedom for a certain time. Again, you can see happy elephant do what they like to do. Both project are great alternatives to elephant rides.
Crocodile breading centre: any jungle activity inside the park can include a visit to the crocodile breading centre where is possible to come in close contact with the two type of crocodiles that lives in the area, the mugger and the endanger gharial or fish eater.
Swimming in the Rapti river: any jungle program can end with a swim in the Rapti river, after the guides had checked that there are no crocodiles in the area. In some places is necessary to cross by canoe.
Motorcycle Safari Explore the Jungle and traditional Tharu villages on a classic motorcycle. Hearts and Tears Motorcycle Club organise everything out of Pokhara, and bring a local nature guide along for the ride. Just amazing.
The Chitwan Jungle Guides(Crazy Tiger's Trek & Tours), Chitwan National Park, Sauraha (two minute walk from Park entrance Gate, 300 meter far From Government Elephant Stable, and 50 meter far from wildlife display center.), ☎ +9779845272531, . The Chitwan Jungle Guides(Crazy Tiger's Trek & Tours) is a local tour company, which is run by local Nature guides, they organize all kinds of jungle safari tours, and they have specially recommended because who talk with you about tours they guide you. they organize Long and short Jungle Walk (up to 7 days), Canoeing trip (1 -8 hours), Elephant Ride, Jeep safari tours, and Birding, cultural tour, religious tour,Night camping in the jungle, etc.... and more
There are no tourist pubs in Meghauli Village, just a couple of local restaurants serving beer and roxi (homemade rice wine) for locals.
Camping is possible near the park, along with a chance to see wild animals.
If you want to see more of Nepal, visit any of the tour offices or ask your hotel manager to buy a bus ticket onward. Nearly everyone supplies these so shop around and sometimes you can save a maybe 50-100 rupees on your ticket. The tickets will most likely be for the local bus and not the standard tourist bus like you may have come in.
If you want to go to India from Chitwan, you can buy a bus ticket the same way to the border (tell them you want to go to Sonauli). Sonauli is the border town and is about 4 hours from Chitwan. When you arrive, you should be let off at the last stop (after Lumbini, which is only a few minutes apart). Your bus will be swamped with touts wanting to take you the 2km to the border in their bicycle rickshaws. It should only cost NPR30-50 so bargain accordingly (and remember to be clear that you are both talking about Nepalise rupees and not Indian rupees!). Note that some drivers will take you to a money change office just in front of the Nepal immigration office and then demand extra payment for the unscheduled (read: comissioned) stop. Just pay the formerly agreed upon amount and walk away. The immigration office is on the left side of the road. After getting your exit stamp (don't let them try to charge you a fake exit fee), walk through the large "Welcome to India" arch and proceed straight ahead past the first grouping of police guards on the left and on to a small "office" that is a long table with 3-4 men sitting with entrance forms. The sign is small and so a bit difficult to see and is also on the left side of the road. After filling out your entry form and getting stamped you can either get a taxi to take you onward to your intended city or you can walk approx another 200 meters straight ahead to the bus lot (on right side of road) and ask around for your intended destination.