Surrounding Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal is one of the best planned and most intelligently developed tourist areas in Nepal. Not only does it offer a wide variety of resorts and lodges, it is also easy to reach – by road or by air. Regular flights are scheduled by Royal Nepal Airlines and other airlines to Meghauli, Simara and Bharatpur. Many resorts provide coach service. Local buses offer a choice between a night ride and a day ride.
Chitwan National Park is perhaps the best park in Nepal for seeing animals in the wild. In the earlier part of the century, when rapid deforestation was devastating Nepal’s southern Terai belt, Government of Nepal intervened and proclaimed the Chitwan area a national park.
The Government of Nepal declared the Chitwan region a national park, outlawed settlement and deforestation within its boundaries, and a campaign to save the animals began. Projects carried out with the help of friendly nations have revived the animals that remained. Though the Terai is certainly not what it once was, the preserved portion within the Chitwan National Park is still a treat for animal lovers.
Royal Bengal tigers roam the region; one-horned rhinos can be seen charging through the underbrush, feeding and even courting. The Rapti River has been dammed to form a man-made lake called Lamital where water-birds and marsh mugger peckers and many other birds are found in plenty in these forests.
Elephant grass, five to six feet tall, provides excellent camouflage for animals. This grass serves as food for the gaur (a local bison), rhino and other herbivores. Once a year, local people are allowed into the park area to cut grass. The grass is dried, and used to thatch roofs or stored for food for the domestic animals during the dry season.
Chitwan is easily accessible from Kathmandu, being well connected by a national highway to Bhadrapur and Sauraha. There are daily flights to Meghauli airstrip just outside the park boundry.
Resorts and lodges are available to suit one’s travel budget; most include elephant safaris, jungle walks, canoeing and a variety of cultural activities in their programs.
Reservations for accommodations can be made at the Kathmandu offices of Chitwan resorts and lodges, with selections ranging from the most luxurious to those with simple food and shelter. On a village tour, you can observe the culture of the Tharu people. Tharu dance and song performances are included in most resort and lodge entertainment. A visit to Chitwan is a visit filled to the brim with activities, whether you stay two days or a week.