Chitwan National park is home to some amazing scenery and animals. After spending a few days exploring the area, we are here to give you a complete list of what there is the see and do around Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
What To See And Do Around Chitwan National Park in Nepal
About Chitwan National Park
The first National Park in Nepal and now a world heritage site, Chitwan National Park can be found in southern Nepal on the Nepalese and Indian border.
Chitwan National Park is massive offering 360 square miles of dense jungle for you to explore. We’re here to guide you through our favorite things to see and do in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
The park is best known to tourist who are interested in seeing wild Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinos and elephants. However, the park has far more wild life offerings than those three.
From sloth bears to leopards to crocodiles to countless bird species, if you’re a nature lover, Chitwan is sure to please.
How to Get to Chitwan National Park from Kathmandu
A few hours ride from Kathmandu, it is reachable in a day. If you hire a private car, it will take you around 5 hours to get to Sauraha.
If you go via bus, make sure it’s a tourist bus and not a local bus. The tourist bus can take anywhere from 7-8 hours.
Remember, you’re in Nepal and things run a lot slower and there is only the one highway out of Kathmandu to Chitwan so if there is construction, you’re in for longer ride.
The local busses are more cost efficient that tourist busses however, the rides are rough and the bus is significantly less comfortable and spacious that the tourists bus.
It’s up to personal choice but just know you’re in for a bump ride if you go local.
If you want to fly, you can catch a flight to Bharatpur from Kathmandu and hire a taxi to take you the rest of the way to Sauraha or Meghauli.
Where To Stay In Chitwan National Park – Sauraha or Meghauli
There are two main entrances to visit the Chitwan National Park, Sauraha and Meghauli.
Sauraha is at the eastern entrance of the park and the most popular of the two entrances. In addition, Sauraha is for the budget conscious and has that backpacker scene and vibe folks may be looking for.
The western entrance of Meghauli is the less visited of the two. Meghauli is for guests looking for a more luxury jungle safari experience. Places like A Taj Safari Lodge and the Meghauli Serai Jungle Safari are popular with visitors.
About Sauraha – Chitwan National Park
Sauraha is where we stayed and it was quite town with is a small strip of shops, places to eat and loads of tour operators promoting jungle tours. A good place to spend a few days if you’re looking for a relaxing time.
If you want a party scene or a day jammed pack of activities, we suggest skipping Chitwan all together.
For us, it was made clear the jungle tours were the main form of activity here.
What To Do In and Around Chitwan National Park
1) Rent A Bike
A few shops in town rent bike to tourists. We rented bikes set off through the town and surrounding areas to explore.
We had our sights set on Bis Hazari Lake (20,000 Lakes), sounds nice, right? Meh, not so much 🙂
Ha, it was a fun, long ride but honestly a bit of a letdown. The name sounds so charming and beautiful and in all honesty, it’s a swampy lake.
Nonetheless, the ride over was fun and we got to pass through wonderful countryside and meet amazing locals along the way.
2) Catch An Amazing Sunset
Head to Sunset View Restaurant & Bar, to catch the like name says a “sunset view.” This river side spot is a perfect place to have a beer and unwind and hopefully see a tiger or rhino take a drink from the river.
3) Unwind At Accoustica Shisha Bar
Accoustica Shisha Bar is a good spot in town for live music, a few brews and of course, shisha!
It’s a low-key place that offers food. Nothing special and not a wide menu but if you’re hungry, they have a few tasty local bites for you to try while you’re enjoying your shisha.
4) Sample Local Honey
If you’re a honey lover, Sauraha has a few honey shops from local bees in the area. Located on the main street of Sauraha, the local honey shop allows you to taste and buy local Nepalese honey.
They have awesome flavors that go great in tea and on that free hostel toast we’re sure you are having for breakfast 🙂
5) Explore Chitwan National Park
The main reason people visit Chitwan is to see the parks flora and fauna. In terms of visiting Chitwan National Park, you have 3 options on how to see the park.
1) The Jeep Tour
A nice way to cover a lot of ground but from what we were told, the worst way to see any wildlife. The loud putter of the motor will scare anything away within a mile.
2) The Elephant Tour
You pay to hop in a chair, strapped to the elephant’s back as it takes you through the park. This option, we are told, is the best way to see wildlife.
HOWEVER, we in good conscious cannot recommend this as we don’t support tourists riding elephants.
It’s harmful and hurtful to these beautiful creatures so please take this into consideration when choosing your preferred way to see the park.
3) The Walking Tour
This is the option we went with.In all fairness, this is the cheapest way but often the most dangerous.
Yes, thinking back on this, things could have ended badly. Badly as in being mauled by a tiger buuuuut in our case, it went amazing!
We saw 2 rhinos, 3 sloth bears, a load of crocodiles, birds and deer. It’s a full day of walking so come prepared with food and LOTS of water.
TIP: When choosing a jungle tour company, be prepared that there are many options. We did not book ahead and shopped around once we arrived in Sauraha. You’ll get a better price in tow, especially if you’re with a group, versus calling and booking ahead.
For The Budget Conscious: Located close to the center of Sauraha, Chitwan Tiger Camp is nestled in nature, located along the Rapti River. It’s cozy and the staff is happy to arrange anything for you.
For The Luxury Inclined: A little luxury in the jungle, check out Green Mansions Jungle Resort. With it’s beautiful gardens and rooms, Green Mansions Jungle Resort is a little oasis close to Chitwan National Park.
For Something In Between: Chitwan Village Resort is just 1,000 feet from Chitwan National Park’s jungle safari area and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your time in Sauraha.
For more places to stay around Chitwan National Park, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)