Chitwan National Park
Have you been dreaming of amazing wildlife on your upcoming trip to Nepal? Then Chitwan National Park is the the place for you! Home to the Bengal tiger, wild elephants, rhinos, deer, crocodiles, and hundreds of other species; Chitwan is sure to impress you with its lively jungle and its charm. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about activities, tour companies, where to stay and more!
When To Visit
From October to March the weather will be comfortable and the chances of rain will be low. However; the best time to visit Chitwan National Park is late January to March. At this time the locals are allowed to cut down the elephant grass and they use controlled fires to burn a lot of it as well. This grass can grow up to 8 meters (24 feet) tall; meaning that the visibility is significantly better after it is cut.
How to Get There
Chitwan is in the southern part of Nepal close to the Indian border. If you are traveling from Kathmandu you have several options depending on your timeline and budget.
By Bus: You can very easily catch a tourist bus from Kathmandu to Chitwan. The price is around 750 Rupees ( about $5 USD) and most of the buses have A/C and a bathroom on board. Don`t be fooled by the seemingly short 150 km drive.. the poor road condition and stops along the way will have you arriving promptly in 7-8 hours. This is the best budget option for traveling to Chitwan if you`ve got the time.
By Private Car: A private car from Kathmandu to Chitwan will cost $100 USD each way. A car can fit 3 people very comfortably (4 max) and the ride is only about 5 hours. We chose this option because we found another traveler to share the ride with making it much more affordable.
By Plane: You can fly from Kathmandu to Bharatpur and then take a 20 minute taxi ride to Chitwan. This is the shortest but most expensive option. Also keep in mind that Nepalese airlines have one of the lowest safety ratings in the world (I know.. its slightly terrifying). So if you plan to fly in Nepal; make sure to do your research before picking an airline.
Where To Stay
The most convenient place to stay while visiting Chitwan is Sauraha. It is a town right on the boarder of the national park that has many hotels, restaurants, and tour companies. They have options ranging from 5 star hotels all the way to cheap hostels so you are sure to find something to suit your taste and budget.
Upon arrival you will quickly find out that there is no shortage of tour companies in the area. Most hotels and agencies offer all of the regular activities including jeep rides, canoe rides, jungle trekking, overnight tower stays, and elephant safaris. So how do you choose? Lucky for you we did a ton of research and found Nepal Dynamic Eco Tours. They are well known for their conservation efforts and one of the only tour groups in the park that does not offer elephant safaris. We decided to book with them and were completely blown away with the entire package!
Everything was arranged over email where they built us a custom itinerary including all the activities we wanted to do. From the communication to the service and quality of the tours; we HIGHLY recommend this company! For more information; check out our full blog post on Nepal Dynamic Eco Tours: The Best Tour Company in Chitwan National Park.
Now I`m sure some of you are wondering why in the world anyone would pass up the opportunity to ride an elephant. It looks like such an amazing experience; right? Well.. I won`t get into my whole passionate long-winded explanation right here; but if you are interested I urge you to read my post on Why I`ll Never Ride An Elephant in Asia.
Offering a different interaction than the rest; we found Stand Up 4 Elephants. They run an elephant happy hour each morning where you can feed and walk with the elephants in their natural habitat. This company is working to shift the tradition of elephant rides by creating a different option and educating the visitors on elephants and the tourist industry.