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If you are going on a trip to the amazing mountainous country of Nepal, plan to visit one of its main treasures, Chitwan National Park.

This unique place is often chosen for recreation by trekking groups in the Himalayas.

Until the middle of the last century, these beautiful and rich in flora and fauna places were at the complete and exclusive disposal of high-ranking officials of Nepal, who ruthlessly and without limits killed the local jungle inhabitants: rhinos, tigers, leopards, bears. Then there was a period of massive logging for agriculture. All this was causing irreparable damage to the natural ecosystem. And then in 1973 the park acquired the status of National Park, was included in the list of UNESCO and became protected by the Nepalese Army.

The reserved national park is situated in the most picturesque region in the middle of the country, along the border with India, only 140 kilometers from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, and occupies the vast territory raised above sea level by 200-600 meters. This is a true wilderness, astonishing with its variety of fauna and flora. There is everything here: subtropical and tropical jungle forests, rivers, lakes, foothills, valleys, hills, lowlands, flood meadows, wild animals, rare birds, exotic plants, nurseries for elephants, crocodiles, turtles. 

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Where to stay in Chitwan? 

On the territory of the reserve there are resort areas with expensive cottages for guest accommodation, decent service, food, entertainment. More affordable accommodation (hotels, hostels) can be found outside the park. Such a nearby, quiet, peaceful and sparsely populated place with cheap accommodation is the village of Sauraha, located in a picturesque corner of nature with a river and jungle.  It has a decent infrastructure:

  • cozy family hotels (lodges) with comfortable rooms (showers, hot and cold water, Wi-Fi, often air conditioning) and caring staff;
  • restaurants with good food (European, Italian, German, as well as Nepalese, Chinese, Indian cuisine), bars with alcoholic beverages;
  • food stores;
  • local travel companies, where you can book guided tours;
  • rental shops where you can rent mountain bikes and motorcycles.

From here, Saurach offers jungle walks, safaris, and other exciting and educational excursions.

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What animals can be found in Chitwan?

The reserve is famous for its inhabitants: mammals, birds, scaly and reptiles. There are many species here.

Mammals

Of the rare and very large animals in Chitwan Park are found Bengal tigers, Indian rhinos, leopards. And tourists have a real opportunity to meet them in their natural habitat - in the wild. In addition, there are:

  • wild boars and buffalo;
  • bears;
  • elephants;
  • cautious deer (axis, hog, barking, antelope);
  • jackals;
  • monkeys;
  • reed cats.

Local lakes are full of amphibians and reptiles. Three-meter swamp crocodiles are not uncommon. The park's rivers are home to a species of crocodile, the Gang Gavial, found nowhere else in the world. River dolphins, called Gangetic dolphins, splash alongside the gaviales.

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Birds

Once you enter the park, you immediately plunge into the bird cries of Chitwan (in the jungle, on the banks of reservoirs), where there are many birds, about 400 species! You can see:

  • eagles;
  • peacocks;
  • wild ducks and geese;
  • orioles (common, black-headed);
  • birds of paradise;
  • parrots;
  • herons (black, white);
  • black-necked storks (Indian jabiru);
  • kingfishers;
  • wild hens;
  • rhinoceros birds (kalao);
  • bustards;
  • Indian jabiru.

Chitwan birds are at home here: they build their nests, breed, and delight park visitors with their bright colors and resonant trills..

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The flora of Chitwan  

Chitwan National Park is no less rich in plant life.

Vegetation

The main vegetation is the giant hardwood trees which form the backbone of the jungle. There are many brightly colored trees with large yellow, red, orange, and white flowers. There are different kinds of pine trees, in the lowlands tropical vegetation and motley grasses prevail. The six to eight-meter tall "elephant grass" (sugarcane) is impressive. Lush ferns, mighty vines wrapped around the trees, blooming orchids, and sungavas delight the eye. In the park you can see the Banyan tree of the Ficus family, known as the Bodhi, the Buddha tree. 

What to do in Chitwan - the most popular tours

The park offers various lengths of interesting activities - hiking, canoeing, elephant and jeep jungle safaris. 

Elephant rides

Organized elephant safari aims to see the endangered species of Indian one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers hiding from the people, to make unique photo and video pictures of crocodiles, deer, other inhabitants of the reserve. 

Национальный парк Читван - фото 10

Canoeing on the Rapti River 

Tourists take narrow and long canoe tours on the Rapti River, leaving at dawn to make it before the scorching heat. Watching crocodiles and gavioli basking in the sun is the attraction of the trip. You can also watch the life of the local birds that live along the banks of the waterway, and "come across" an elephant crossing the river.

Jeep Safari

Jeep safari is one of the most popular amusements in the reserve: you drive with comfort, enjoy wild nature for four hours, "look into" the most secret corners of the national park, hope to meet rhinos, wild boars, deer, crocodiles and long-nosed gavialas on the lakeshores, meet nimble monkeys and birds with bright plumage. The safari program also includes a visit to a crocodile and turtle farm.

Jungle Walk

Three or four hours walking through the narrow, "unknown" and "untraveled" paths in the jungle - the adrenaline (you never know who will be out of the nearest tree). But the trip is unforgettable: the guide will show you the tracks of different animals (tigers, deer, wild boars, rhinos). You may even be lucky enough to see family promenades (mothers with cubs). The walk ends with a visit to the elephant nursery.

 

How to get to Chitwan? 

There are several ways to get to the national park:

  • By plane (flight Kathmandu-Bharatpur), the final point is 25 km from the reserve). The flight takes 30 minutes, then a cab to the village of Sauraha;
  • by tourist buses (the Kathmandu-Chitwan flight takes seven hours, if travelling from Pokhara, the journey takes about six hours);
  • on inflatable rafts on the Trisuli mountain river (two or three days of rafting from Mugling to the destination).

As we see, there is a choice, it all depends on preferences, free time and financial capabilities.

 

After which programs you can go to Chitwan 

Several Kuluar programs include a visit to the Nepal National Wildlife Refuge: 

Trek Around Annapurna + Lake Tilicho

This is an opportunity to take a fairly challenging route, see the majestic Himalayan peaks, hike to the high mountain Lake Tilicho (5000 meters above sea level), climb the beautiful Torong La Pass.

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See the program page for details and schedule.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Not very difficult route for people who sincerely love high mountains and stunning mountain scenery. The trail passes through six climate belts, so participants are in for a constant change in their surroundings. People without any experience can go hiking and take their children with them. Sign up now!

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See the Annapurna base camp trek page for details.

Mardi Himal trek 

Not very popular yet, and therefore not very crowded trek to the base camp of the Himalayan peak Mardi Himal (height 5587 meters), located near Annapurna, passes through places of real wilderness surrounded by amazing unique views. Ideal for beginners, this is the best program for discovering Nepal and its beauty.

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You can choose your hike date on the Mardi Himal Trek page.

The best season to visit Chitwan 

The best time to go is from October to March, when there is no debilitating heat and monsoon rains. During these months you can explore all the highlights of Chitwan and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Himalayan mountains surrounding the national park of Nepal.

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