Nepal – Chitwan National Park

Day three in Nepal and we left Kathmandu by Tata Scorpion – destination Sauraha in Chitwan National Park, around 170km away heading South-West. We took the Prithvi Highway which is the main road leading to India. It’s therefore full of buses and giant colourful Tata trucks racing against time to reach their destination. The road winds around and down the mountains and later on plateau’s out shortly before we turn into the park.

Most of the people we saw carrying these big bundles of leaves were children, with no foot paths, crazy drivers, heavy loads and being paid a pittance, if anything, it proves to be a dangerous hard and occupation.

Most of the people we saw carrying these big bundles of leaves were children, with no foot paths, crazy drivers, heavy loads and being paid a pittance, if anything, it proves to be a dangerous hard and occupation.

Even though this is a main road it’s in a rough condition. Vehicles swing into oncoming traffic either to overtake or to avoid huge potholes. Overtaking on blind corners is very popular, even with our driver who has over 20 years taxi experience. I’m sure that everyone released a little bit of poo into their knickers. Sometimes keeping your eyes closed was the only option!

A bit of dodgy overtaking, this was actually really tame. There are no places where you cant overtake on the roads here especially on blind corners. If your on the wrong side of the road and traffics coming all you have to do is flash them. Much safer.

A bit of dodgy overtaking, this was actually really tame. There are no places where you cant overtake on the roads here especially on blind corners. If your on the wrong side of the road and traffics coming all you have to do is flash them. Much safer.

The view is spectacular. We follow the Trishuli River the entire way and as we get further and further away from Kathmandu it gets wider, deeper and more turquoise.

The road snakes along the Trishuli river which begins in the Himalayas an runs the full length of Nepal, India and eventually out to the sea.

The road snakes along the Trishuli river which begins in the Himalayas an runs the full length of Nepal, India and eventually out to the sea.

There are multiple brickworks and mines dotted along the route with little hand pulled cable carts bridging the river to the greenery on the other side.

Digging up the creek bed to make bricks and cement. About as industrious as it gets in Nepal.

Digging up the creek bed to make bricks and cement. About as industrious as it gets in Nepal.

As we travel we see several bus and truck accidents. The worst we saw was a bus that had come off the road and rolled down the steep river embankment. Locals were in the middle of winching it back up to the road and they told us that 2 people had died and 29 were injured.

An unnecessary casualty to the highway. With overcrowded buses, excessive speed and poor road conditions, this, unfortunately is a regular occurrence all over Nepal.

An unnecessary casualty to the highway. With overcrowded buses, excessive speed and poor road conditions, this, unfortunately is a regular occurrence all over Nepal.

We eventually reached Sauraha and picked a lodge to stay in. The temperature was mild at an elevation of less than 1000m and reached around the mid twenties in the afternoon. We spent the evening chilling out on deck chairs overlooking the river with the hope of seeing one of the Parks’ reported 105 black rhinos, to no avail. For dinner the lodge porters prepped a campfire for us and brought out barbecued goat and chicken skewers. We may have sampled a few Nepali beers too…..

Chilling out by the riverside.

Chilling out by the riverside.

Riverside resort at Chitwan National Park with my bro and his fiance, Some good local food.

Riverside resort at Chitwan National Park with my bro and his fiance, Some good local food.

Day 2 in Chitwan NP and we had booked a very touristy jungle safari. Unfortunately Jerome was pretty ill with a bad stomach so we both stayed back whilst his brother mum and sister in law continued. They came back with stories about crocodiles, monkeys, barking deer, spotted deer, sloth bears, rhino, peacocks and an array of birds. They didn’t see any tigers though. We were surprised that there were so many different animals in Nepal.

This is the East Rapati River, where most of the resorts line. These dugout cannoes are used to cross the river and begin the safari through the National Park, the river being the border. We were very surprised to hear that the day after we left a local man was killed by a tiger on the other side of the river.

This is the East Rapati River, where most of the resorts line. These dugout cannoes are used to cross the river and begin the safari through the National Park, the river being the border. We were very surprised to hear that the day after we left a local man was killed by a tiger on the other side of the river.

The tour guide offered Jerome and I an elephant ride crossing the river and into the jungle that afternoon which we accepted. Jerome had ridden an elephant in Thailand but I hadn’t before so was pretty keen.

Riding a baby Elephant, a bit rough on the poor thing, we didn't realise there were going to be 5 people on its back. Was a interesting for me getting up there.

Riding a baby Elephant, a bit rough on the poor thing, we didn’t realise there were going to be 5 people on its back. Was a interesting for me getting up there.

There were four people to each basket on the elephant and the guide sat on the elephants head and ‘steered’ it by pushing his bare feet onto each ear. (Looking back those elephants weren’t treated well and I felt really bad for taking the ride). The ride itself was pretty good and gave us an excellent view of the jungle. We saw the obligatory monkeys, peacocks and deer and negotiated a water crossing.

Weed grows wildly all over Nepal, we saw some lucky cows grazing in fields of the stuff.

Weed grows wildly all over Nepal, we saw some lucky cows grazing in fields of the stuff.

Back to the lodge and one of the porters pointed out a very rare yellow butterfly perched on a window. I have to admit, I found that to be the most interesting thing I’d seem all day!
Chitwan NP is a protected park but pockets of it are incredibly touristy. It’s great if you want a hotel with hot water, laundry services, heaps of shops and restaurants. But if you prefer a more untouched place then this is not the place for you.

We saw this beautiful butterfly at the resort, apparently very rare, not even the staff there had seen one so unfortunately could not tell us what kind of butterfly it was.

We saw this beautiful butterfly at the resort, apparently very rare, not even the staff there had seen one so unfortunately could not tell us what kind of butterfly it was.

We spent our last evening there chilling by the river in deck chairs with a camp fire again. You can’t knock that! For me, that was the highlight of Chitwan. Although touristy we were out of season and it was quiet and relaxed.

A black stag we say from a top the elephant, didn't look at all surprised to see us.

A black stag we say from a top the elephant, didn’t look at all surprised to see us.

Some of the unique things we saw on the road to Chitwan National Park.

Some of the unique things we saw on the road to Chitwan National Park.

Categories: Nepal | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Nepal – Chitwan National Park

  1. The Nepalese roads (and the drivers) and the scenery combined always make it one hell of a ride. Great photos.

  2. Anonymous

    Wow what a great post! Amazing sad and scary all in one. Great photos. Love to all of you Mum x

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