Far West Nepal
Far West Nepal is the an untouched and unexplored region but with potential to become a major tourist destination in Nepal. One of five development regions of Nepal, the Far West has an abundance of natural attractions, such as the Suklaphanta National Park, which has the largest herd of Swamp Deer in Asia. Not only that, but the region beholds sites of majestic beauty. Whether it be the alpine meadows, forests and lakes at Khaptad, or the picturesque and secluded trails of mountain ranges, like Mt. Api and Mt. Saipal. The Far West's culture is rich and diverse, comprising of the nomadic Rautes and the Rana Tharus (who travelled all the way from Rajasthan when the Moghuls invaded India) among other communities. The land also beholds mystical folklore and ancient stories that build an even more captivating allure to the Far West of Nepal.
The Far West Region is comprised of two zones, Mahakali and Seti. It has nine districts with the regional headquarters at Dipayal, Doti district. The FarWest Region covers an area of 19,539 sq Km. The region includes the flatland (The Terai), middle hills, and high mountains, with highest elevation at 7,132 meters. Combining different climatic zones FarWest offers different experiences and tourist products ranging from wildlife in the plains of Terai to the misty hill stations in middle hills and spectacular views if the Himalayan mountain range.
Dhangadhi is municipality in Kailali District of Seti Zone. Dhangadhi with the dometic airport is a hub city in the Far West region.
Tikapur is municipality in Kailali District. In Tikapur you can find the most beatiful park and a unique Banana Restaurant. This restaurant is an answer to agricultural tourism in the Far-West and in the country. The motto here is to use everything from a banana tree.
Mahendra Nagar is municipality in Kanchanpur District. It is the most westerly town located about 5 km east of the Indian border. The headquarters of Suklhaphanta Wildlife Reserve is about 8 km southwest of Mahendra Nagar.
Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
The Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve occupies the largest grassland in the lowland Terai. Along with the suklaphnta (dazzling, fresh and open grassland), the reserve consists of forests, river beds and wet lands (such as Ranital). The park used to be a popular hunting place for the Nepalese royalty before it was made a protected area. “Royal” was prefixed to the name of the park in 1973. A decade later, in 1984, the park was accorded the status of World Heritage Site. Today, the park is home to many endangered wildlife species and is considered a place of global significance. The grasslands of the park attract a large number of tourists every year. These include wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers, as well as conservationists and researchers. The entire territory of the park has not been explored as yet. This makes the park an interesting site for both visitors and zoologists. The winters in the park are considerably cold. The summers can be sundry and unpleasant too. In the park, you can easily spend a week without getting bored. The wide range of exotic wildlife species to be found in the park is likely to keep you occupied, engaged and fascinated during your walks or jungle safari. Then there is the culture of the resident population to engage in and enjoy too. The terrain is similar to Bardiya National Park and the reserve has tigers, rhinos, crocodiles, wild elephants and Nepal’s largest population of swamp deer (currently numbering around 2,000) as well as large numbers of migratory birds.
How to get there There is regular public bus service from Dhangadhi to Mahendranagar, which takes 3 hours. The reserve headquarters is 8 km southwest of Mahendranagar. The reserve can be reached by travelling the East-West Highway through Nepalgunj to Dhangadhi and on to Mahendranagar.
Khaptad National Park
Khaptad National Park situated in the middle of four districts in the Far-western region of Nepal is unique. It is endowed with great natural beauty & vast wilderness. Khaptad National Park is blessed with great scenic beauty, very diverse ecology, flora & fauna. It also represents a unique eco-system of the mid-mountain of Nepal. The major natural attractions of Khaptad National Park are the rolling plateau of grasslands & ponds intermixed with oak and coniferous forests. As the part is between 1,400 meters and 3,300 meters above sea level, the peripheral areas of this park consists of steep slopes covered with a variety of vegetation types, ranging from sub-tropical forests at the lower altitudes to temperate forests around the plateau. Khaptad National Park is very rich in terms of its diversity having many animal species and vegetation types. The number of flowering plants so far recorded in the Mid Mountains is estimated to be 567, of which 346 flowering plant species have been recorded in the National Park alone. Similarly, the National Park is also a home to 23 species of mammals, 287 species of birds (local & migrating) and 23 species of amphibians. A wide variety of colorful butterflies, moths and insects are also an important feature of the park ecosystem. Specially, after designating this area as a National Park, there has been an increase in the population of wildlife, especially musk deer, wild boar, porcupines, barking deer and birds like Chyakhura, Kalij, Titra, and Danphe. Khaptad National Park is also famous for the herbs that it contains in, about which the famous Khaptad Baba, the renowned hermit after whom name the National Park is named, made the world aware. The National Park is still a bit of an enigma to local populations as it is believed to be sacred and alcohol and meat are not allowed to be consumed in the area. 
Api Nampa Conservation Area
Api Nampa Conservation Area is one of the remotest areas of Nepal with still intact rural village life and a low level of modern development. Due to the few numbers of tourists having reached that area of Nepal, the visitor can experience untouched nature and Nepali traditions. The Conservation Area was established in 2010 to conserve the natural beauty and ecosystems in the northern part of the Far West Nepal. It is the youngest conservation area in Nepal, including 21 communities of Darchula district. The conservation area is named after the Mount Api (7132m) and Nampa (6757m) which lie within the area. The conservation area covers an area of 1903 sq.km ranging from 518 to 7,134 meters above sea level and includes different vegetation types. The central core area is plateau of grasslands intermixed with oak, coniferous forest, riverine deciduous temperate forest. Diverse climatic condition and altitudinal variation of the area have provided habitats for many rare endangered and threatened wildlife species including the snow leopard and the musk deer. Due to the remoteness of the area communities and villages have kept their traditional way of life mainly living from agriculture, collection of medicinal and aromatic plants and artisan productions. Bordering India and the Tibet Autonomous Region, China the area is rich in cultural heritage sites and traditions due to traditional trading and religious pilgrim routes. The community of the Byash live up to today a nomadic life moving between the high altitude grasslands in the summer months and the lower valleys close to Darchula town in the winter. This transhumance reflects an unique culture and way of life, which is highly linked to the trade with India and China and the pilgrim routes to the holy Mount Kailash in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
It is located in Achham district and its altitude varies from 2.050 m to 3,792 m. The area has a very diverse ecology and the weather here is always changing. The main attractions of the area include the 12 lakes and 18 meadows. A variety of flora and fauna exist in the area, and visitors may spot wild boars, bears, and occasionally, tigers. Ramaroshan is also an important religious site. It is believed that right after their marriage, lord Shiva and his consort Parvati spent sometime in the region.
Area where the dolphins are found
According to scientists dolphins are one of the oldest species of aquatic animals on the earth. In total there are 40 species of this magnificent creature in the world, of which only four can be found in rivers - in the Ganga in India, in the Sindh in Pakistan, in the Yangtze in China, and in the Amazon in Brazil. The Ganges River Dolphin, Gangetic Dolphin or Platanista Gangetic are the dolphins found in the rivers Koshi, Narayani & Karnali of Nepal; Ganga, Ghagra, Gandak & Koshi of India and Padma, Meghna, Bramhapatra & Karnafuli of Bangladesh. These dolphins are also found in the rivers in Nepal such as karnali because they connect to the Ganges. Another river of the far-west which is important for dolphins is Mohana and its tributaries Pathraiya, Kandha, Kandra, Kateni, Ghuraha & Khutiya, which are all in the Kailali districts. Before these beautiful creatures were identified as dolphins, people from this region assumed that they were just big fish. Looking at recent statistics dolphin sightings are more frequent in the Mohana in the monsoon season (from June to September) than any other river in either India or Nepal. Dolphin conservationists in the area believe that up to 60 -70 of these fresh water creatures come every year at this time, while at other times very few remain here. Although the Dolphin conservation centre claims that Dolphins can be seen throughout the season in the Mohana river, main season Monsoon and the main place where Dolphins can be seen from close proximity is at the confluence where Patraiya, Kandha & Ghuraha streams merge into Mohana river.
How to get there This place is in Narayanpur VDC of the Kailali district and is called Dhungana tole. It can be reached from Tikapur in half an hour by car.
Mount Saipal (7031m)
Mount Saipal is the second highest peak in the Far-West region of Nepal. It stands 7,031 m tall and lies in Bajhang District. It is the region’s second highest peak, after Mt. Api. Mount Saipal has been attempted by only a dozen teams so far, but the treks up to Saipal Base Camp from Simikot or Chainpur take place every year. The trek to the base camp of the stunning Mt. Saipal (7031m) runs as usual around 9 days from Simikot or 7 days from Chainpur. The best time for this off-the-beaten-trek is between mid-October and November.
A wetland, situated on the side of western highway in Kailali, near Sukhad town, is one of the biggest of its kind in the Far-Western region of Nepal. Its ecosystem has made the marsh a natural habitat of various species of mammals and birds. It has 23 species of flora. Gradually this natural area is emerging as a site of attraction thanks to the promotional activities by tourism entrepreneurs and other supporters from the region. The number of visitors is increasing every year. Some of the agencies and hotels in the region offer guided tour of the marshland as well as boating services. Ghodaghodi could develop into an attraction for young people, couples in their honeymoon, researchers, or students of bio diversity.
The lake is in Bajhang district, and is one of the most potential destinations of the region. Lying at the altitude of 4,300m, it not only has natural and historical significance, but also offers therapeutic value. It is believed that a dip in this lake helps cure skin diseases. There is also the myth that doing so the Goddess Surma is pleased and she helps fulfill your wishes. Apart from the lake, the trekking route to Surmasarowar itself is a major attraction. Every year, during the end of July a big festival called Birijaat is organized here. Thousands of pilgrims come here for a ritual bath during this annual event.
By air A visitor travelling by air can directly reach Dhangadhi, a hub city in the Far-West region of Nepal. There are daily two flights from Kathmandu and it takes approximately 1 and a quarter of an hour to reach here. Dhangadhi has excellent hotels and some of these offer online reservation service. By road There are several bus services that link the Far-West cities like Dhangadhi and Mahendranagar with Kathmandu. It takes nearly 14 to 16 hours from Kathmandu, the capital city, to reach these provincial towns. Starting the journey from Kathmandu, on the way to the Far-West, visitors come across several places of interest: Chitwan National Park (approximately 3 hour – drive from Kathmandu), Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha (3 hour-drive from Chitwan National Park), and Bardia National Park (7 hour-drive from Lumbini). All the places offer excellent accommodations.
By road Visitors coming from India can enter the Far-West region from two border entry points, Dhangadhi and Gaddachowki, Mahendranagar. From Dheli it takes approximately a 8-hour drive to reach the border entry point at Gaddachowki in Mahendranagar. The entry point at Gaddachowki is open 24 hours for vistors on foot or rickshaws, but for those in vehicles, it opens three times a day, from 6 am to 8 am, 12 am to 2 pm, and 6 pm to 8 pm. The Dhangadhi entry point is open from 5 am to 8 pm for all modes of tranportation. The main bus park in Delhi where you can board a bus for the Far-West is Inter State Bus Terminal ( ISBT) at Anand Vihar. From Lucknow, you can board a bus at Kesharbagh Bus Station.
There is no functional public transport in the Far West Region. In Dhangadhi, the main station is located on the main road closed to Jalsa Hotel. If you are heading for smaller settlements you will need to book a whole car. You can book the car through one of the local travel agencies who will normally give you a good deal as well. Make sure you get a 4WD vehicle if heading for the mountains.
In Dhangadhi there is Tourism Information Centre, where you can get assistance in arranging transportation as well as for planning of your trip.
Tourist Information Centre is located on L.N. Chowk in Dhangahdi
Opening hours Monday – Friday, and Sunday (10:00 – 17:00) You can reach by phone at . +977-091-521900
Dodhara Chandani Suspension Bridge
The suspension bridge over Mahakali River with a span of 1,460 m, the longest bridge of its kind in Asia, is a sight to behold. It joins the two VDCs, Dodhara and Chandani, from other settlements. This man-made structure is a symbol of uniquely Nepali architecture.
Located on the eastern outskirts of Dhangadi, Jokhar is a wetland, often frequented by people seeking relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has diverse species of flora and fauna even in such a close proximity of the urban sprawl. You can enjoy boating here or trek around the adjoining jungle, famous for its nursery with traditional Ayurvedic herbs.
Mohana Bird Watch
Approximately 1.7 km west of Dhangadhi city, lies the Mohana River Corridor, a habitat of 111 species of birds (resident and migratory), five protected species of reptiles and amphibians (golden monitor lizard, Burmese rock python, Bengal monitor, elongated tortoise, and Indian flapshell turtle), and 12 species of mammals.
This fort in Dadeldhura district is a historic monument directly concerned with the history of the unification of Nepal by then King Prithvi Narayan Shah. During the time of unification in the early 19th century, General Amar Singh Thapa fought the English from this very fort. This fort was built by him at that time to store arms and ammunitions and it also served as a military base or refuse for soldiers.
Far West Nepal is the best destination to explore the exotic wildlife of the country. The Southern belt of Terai is covered with dense sub-tropical forests - teeming with diverse wildlife and flora. Here you can find some of the most exciting jungle safari destinations of Indian subcontinent. You can even ride on elephants’ back or take a four-wheeler inside the forest to experience the Wildlife -Up, Close and Personal. Canoeing is considered as one of the most exciting and rewarding safari adventures in Nepal. Nature walk, bird watching excursions and village tours are the other main attractions of the safari trip. Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve and Bardia National Park are two of the most popular wildlife destinations in the Western Nepal. The endangered species of One-horned Rhino and Royal Bengal tiger prowl in the dense forest of Terai. Gharial Crocodile, four-horned antelope, famous swamp deer, striped hyena and the Gangetic Dolphins are other major attractions in the region.
Organized trekking tours have so far been limited to the gentle hills and pastures of the Swami’s home, Khaptad National Park. The Khaptad National Park is blessed with great scenic beauty, very diverse ecology, flora & fauna. It also represents a unique eco-system of mid-mountain of Nepal. Khaptad National Park is very rich in terms of its diversity having many species and vegetation types. Literature show that the number of flowering plants so far recorded in Mid Mountains are estimated to be 567, of them 346 flowering plant species have been recorded in National Park alone. For those with a sense of adventure, there is still much to uncover here – exploration that is as much cultural as it is natural. Far West is a paradise for adventure. Trekking in the Far West is authentic as it gets. Trails lead through a land untouched by the hand of time, past ancient orange and lemon groves and flagstoned mediaeval villages.
Tharu village experience
The Tharu people live in the Tarai, next to northern India. The land is forested and fertile. The Tharu people are divided into several subgroups. The Rana Tharu live in the southwestern corner of Nepal. Ethnically, their background is Rajput. Legend has it that after the Mughals invaded India in the 16th century, a Mughals king wanted to marry one of their women. The women and children fled east and settled in this forested region while their men stayed behind to fight the Mughals. When the women heard that all their men had been killed, they married the slaves who had attended them on their travels, and settled permanently in their new home. The swamps kept outsiders away, and the Rana Tharu developed resistance to malaria. Over the next four centuries, their own unique culture and language emerged. On the Tharu Village Tours one has the opportunity to experience Nepalese rural life, enjoying wonderful flat land landscapes. There is a range of activities that are both informative and enjoyable! Exploring the surrounding villages on foot or by bullock cart is one of the best ways to experience rural life in Nepal and absorb the simplicity of a farming community. You can enjoy the rhythms of the madal (musical instrument), watch the unique ethnic dances or even join the dancers.
Nepal’s longest and largest river, the Karnali rises in the southern slopes of the Himalayas in Tibet, in the glaciers of Maphcachungo, at an altitude of about 3962 m above sea level. The river flows south through least explored areas of pristine jungle abundant with wildlife, birdlife and fish. The Karnali Basin hosts some of Nepal's famous national parks: Shey Phoksundo National Park, Rara National Park, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, and Bardia National Park. The Karnali River with its graceful class III to awe-inspiring class V rapids, offers a classic expedition with its big volume whitewater combined with short trekking, fishing and jungle safari activities in a remote and unexplored Far West Nepal. The first half of Karnali river journey offers excellent white water excitement, commonly described as “a thrill a minute roller coaster ride”. So it becomes more than just a rafting trip. It is an expedition. The river rated grades IV to V class huge series of continuous wild rapids. The second half of the trip settles down into some more moderate & gentle rapids and eventually a relaxed float rewarded by pristine and wilderness.The Karnali River finishes at the famous Bardia National Park – a jungle, which is rich in wildlife such as tigers, rhino, crocodiles, deer, sloth bear, monkeys, birdlife, mahseer fish and more.If you are looking for an adventurous and remote self-support river expedition with extreme white water excitement, combined with a long, peaceful and relaxing float into pristine wilderness - then rafting in Far West is a right chose.
Far West Nepal contains many predominantly Hindu holy sites and temples visited by the devout followers. Each temple is attached to a legend or belief that glorifies the miraculous powers of its deity. One of the legends tells us about seven sisters - seven temples. Each temple represents the Goddess Durga (Goddess of Power) in the different form of her reincarnation. It is believed that one can fulfill his/her wishes by visiting these seven sisters. Moreover Far West Nepal has many other ancient small and big temples of other Hindu Gods and Goddess. The temple of Siddababa (devoted to God Shiva) in Mahendranagar, Malikarjun temple in Darchula on the way to Kailash as well as the temple of Beheda baba in Kailali district are most visited by the thousands of devotees every year.
Understand / Tips for travellers
The Far-West is a region with a great diversity of wild-life, picturesque landscapes and rich cultural traditions. Here are some tips tor travellers visiting the region.
By following these tips you will not only find a common language with local people easily, but also help us in keeping the destinations preserved.
Tips on the environmental -Bottles, cans, plastic materials, cigarette butts, apart from being unsightly, can be deadly to wild animals. Do not leave your trash around; take your litter home with you; -Recycling facilities are extremely limited in Nepal. Avoid buying goods and products with plastic packaging; -While trekking, use the existing trails. Straying from the trail or treading a new path can lead to harmful environmental impacts such as soil erosion. -Do not pluck flowers or damage plants or their branches, and do not step on them; -Take safety precautions when lighting up fire; be careful with matches and unextinguished cigarettes butts; -Most villages lack a sewer system. Use soaps and shampoos sparingly while washing and taking shower; -While camping on river banks or other water sources, dispose waste water as far from them as possible; -Wildlife is protected by law. Do not hunt; -You can use binoculars to watch birds or observe animals. Always keep a reasonable distance from animals to avoid disturbing them. Do not feed animals. -Do not purchase any animal or plant, or product made from animals and plants on the threatened or endangered list. Do not accept them as gift items.
Tips on society and culture -Always remember to remove your shoes from your feet before entering a Nepali home, temple, or stupa; -Dress appropriately. Women should avoid wearing skimpy outfits; -If you would like to enter a Hindu temple, you should seek permission from the temple authorities to do so. Also remember that leather articles are prohibited inside temple precincts; -Circumambulation, or walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise; -Take photographs only after receiving permission for the object or person to be photographed; -Develop a genuine interest in meeting and talking to people; respect their local customs