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Things to do in Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park

Visiting Chitwan National Park is a perfect amalgamation of wildlife and cultural experience in the southern belt of Nepal. Located in Rapti and Narayani River banks, Chitwan National Park beholds some of the best wildlife nature beauty. It is best known for its ecology and aberrant bio-diversity.

Chitwan National Park is well known as one of the best conservation areas in Asia. You will get ample opportunities to discover endangered animals such as the one-horned rhino, royal Bengal tiger, gharial crocodile, etc. In 1984, UNESCO declared Chitwan National Park as a world heritage site. Moreover, Chitwan is famous as a bird-watching location in Nepal as it is home to more than 550 bird species.

Further, Chitwan National Park is open all year; however, the best time to visit is in the dry season, from October to March. During these months, the weather is pleasant. Also, the end of the dry period is the best time for sighting almost all wildlife such as Royal Bengal Tigers, One-horned Rhino, Leopard, Striped Hyena, Deer, etc. as they gather around waterholes in the deep jungle.

Likewise, this national park is perfect for a family adventure. You and your family can indulge in various fun activities in the Chitwan National Park. Some are elephant safari, jeep safari, canoe rides, jungle walks, visiting elephant breed centers, bird watching, etc. All these wild and beautiful highlights excite and engage all age groups. Moreover, during your visit to Chitwan, you'll also get good exposure to Tharu's culture and tradition. You can be part of several Tharul Cultural programs like Tharu cultural dance with fire and sticks. So, don't miss these major things to do in Chitwan National Park when you visit Chitwan!


1. Jeep Safari

Jeep Safari

Jeep Safari is another best way to explore the Chitwan National Park. Jeep Safari option will also take you deep into the forest in a possible safe way. Driving into the park in an open-top jeep for wildlife encounters and bird watching is a great idea. Besides wildlife, you'll also spot many species of birds inside the wilderness of the park. You'll get a chance to visit the Crocodile Breeding Center, where you'll spot rare Mugger and Gharial Crocodiles. 

2. Bath with Elephant

Elephant bathing is an entertaining activity available during your visit to Sauraha. You can play with elephants and dive into the river sitting back of the elephant while bathing. Elephant also splashes water by its trunk towards you, and you can also participate in washing the elephant where the mahout will assist you to do it. Further, the sight of elephants bathing and playing with humans is equally fascinating. You can just chill beside the serenity of the Rapti River and watch the enticing elephant bath or may join them while taking a dip down in the water. 

3. Jungle Walk and Bird Watching

Being a wildlife enthusiast, whenever you plan an excursion to Chitwan National Park, you must opt for a Jungle walk. During the jungle walk, you need to be quiet and absorb everything. You'll see the rhino footprints, tiger markings on trees, and bones of deer. You'll also get plenty of chances to encounter other wild animals like sloth bears, crocodiles, monkeys, and lots of birds. The most thrilling part of the jungle walk is the opportunity to see and photograph the Royal Bengal Tiger. You can get the company of a local guide who will let your jungle walk most memorable with precise information. Another important tourist attraction in the national park is bird watching. Avid bird watchers can observe various species of resident and migrant birds. 

4. Visit Elephant Breeding Centre

Out of two elephant breeding centers in the world, one lies in the Chitwan National Park Nepal. You can observe the process of preparing elephants' meals and how they eat. During your visit, you'll get an opportunity to learn about the effort to increase the pachyderm (elephant) population. You'll see several baby elephants and a small museum where you get various information related to the nature and habitats of elephants. 

5. Visit Bish Hajari Taal

One Horn Raino in Chitwan National Park

One of the must-see attractions of Chitwan is the Bish Hajari Taal (20,000 Lake). Located inside the Chitwan National Park, the lake is beautiful and peaceful. This lake serves as the best place for the bird-watching center. Different birds migrate to this Taal from the Northern Pole in search of a suitable environment. Moreover, the lake is home to several crocodiles, and near Bish Hajari Taal, you can often see rhinos. Since it lies just 5km south of Bharatpur, you get there by jeep, walking, or cycling. 

6. Elephant Ride and Safari

Elephant Ride and Safari

Elephant rides or safari is one of the popular jungle activities in Chitwan National Park. It is the most reliable way to view wildlife habitat in the National Park. To get an Elephant ride inside the park, you need to purchase National Park Permit.

During the jungle excursion, there is a high chance of spotting rare wildlife species such as One-horned Rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger (if lucky), Leopard, Wild Boar, Forest Deer, Sloth Bear, Red Muntjac, and many other animals. Besides, during this safari trip, you'll get good company from an Elephant rider who is very informative and friendly.

Starting in 2022, Third Rock Adventures pledges to phase out elephant rides and safari in Chitwan National Park. We have set policies against any activities that involve the exploitation of wild or domestic animals and we no longer offer elephant rides on any trips in Nepal. We strongly discourage any activity that involves physical contact with wild animals. This comes under our animal welfare policies in the countries we operate trips. We also like to state that we will be working in conjunction with non-profit organizations and INGOs to promote animal welfare and ethical tourism in Nepal and the world.

7. Canoeing at Rapti River

Undoubtedly, going canoeing along the Rapti River inside the Chitwan National Park is another exciting adventure. You'll get a close view of crocodiles taking sunbath and other wild animals. You can enjoy the serene environment and observe the exotic birds and animals that come for a sip at the water's edges. During this canoe ride, you'll spot the most popular Marsha Mugger and Gharial Crocodiles. You'll get a close-up view of some rare species of birds such as Egret, Cormorant, Pond Heron, and Open Billed Stork from your canoe boat. 

8. Cycling in Chitwan

If you don't want to miss out on the natural beauty of Sauraha, China, then you must opt for another engaging, adventurous activity, cycling in Chitwan. Through cycling, you can explore beyond the tourist places and get a close glimpse of a typical village. You'll get an excellent opportunity to be familiar with the Nepali lifestyle. If you wish, you can also opt to visit Chitwan National Park by cycling. 

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9. Tharu Culture and Programs

Experience the unique traditional Tharu cultural programs is another highlight of visiting Chitwan National Park. Tharu village lies at the National Park border, and you'll see the clutter of mud and clay houses with roofs. Tharu is a prominent inhabitant of the region. They have been living in the proximity of the jungles for several decades. You'll unveil a very colorful tradition, customs, and culture while visiting nearby villages. During your visit to the national park, you can enjoy Tharu cultural dance and get some insight into Tharu culture and tradition. 

10. Crocodile Breeding Center

During Jeep Safari, you'll also visit Crocodile Breeding Center, which is also the most enjoyable activity during your trip. In the center, you'll enjoy viewing the rare and endangered amphibians such as Mugger Crocodile and Gharial. You'll be delighted to watch the small crocodiles hatching from their eggs. 

11. Ox cart or Pony Ride Chitwan

Oxcart or Pony Ride is one of the good options to explore the Tharu village in Sauraha, Chitwan. One Ox can accommodate six people. During your ride, you will get a plethora of information regarding the indigenous Tharu community. You'll get a close insight into Tharu's culture, tradition, and lifestyle. It is one of the environment-friendly ways to explore Tharu village.

12. Explore the Local Villages

A visit to the adjoining Tharu village can be a fascinating experience. You'll get the rustic flavors of countryside life. In Chitwan, Tharu is the major ethnic group, so it is a fantastic place to learn about this community. The walk offers a great chance to get close insights into the Tharu way of life. You can just be around, interact with locals, and experience the culture. Local people are also very friendly and love to share their culture. 

13. Devghat Dham

Situated in the Seti Gandaki and Krishna Gandaki River junction, Devghat is Nepal's famous religious and cultural place. Lies 20 kilometers from Sauraha, it offers much natural beauty due to its unique geography and climate. It is also home to many temples and caves dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses, including Sita's cave. 

14. Upperdang Gadi Trekking

Upperdang Gadi Trek offers a rare combination of both cultural and natural sightseeing around Chitwan. One of the most enthralling aspects of this trek is getting close insight into the Chepangs and other local communities living in Nepal's mid-hill region. You can interact with the locals and visit their beautiful homes and share their meals. The Chitwan Chepang Hill Trek begins at Hugdi, between Mugling and Krishna Bir in Dhading district, about 80 km away from Kathmandu, and ends in Shaktikhor.

15. Pilgrimage Tours

There are several pilgrimage sites to explore in Chitwan, especially for Hindus and Buddhists. Several famous rivers and temples lie on the bank of the river, such as Devghat lie on the bank of the Gandaki River. Similarly, you can also visit Harihar and Shiva Mandir, located on the bank of the Narayani River. Lies on the bank of the Rapti River, Bikram Baba Temple is also worth visiting. 

16. Elephant Games and Shows

Chitwan hosts some adventurous and entertaining Elephant Games and Shows. Most people love to watch Elephant Football, Elephant Polo, Elephant Dramas, Elephant Beauty contests, etc. The locals don't organize the games and show regularly, but you'll encounter such games or shows on some seasons or yearly basis.

Where to travel next?

Get help from our travel specialists for holiday ideas that matches your interests.

How to Get Chitwan National Park

Chitwan lies in the southern part of the terai region of Nepal, close to the Indian border. Depending on the time frame and budget, there are three options to get into Chitwan National Park from Kathmandu:

By Flight

You can directly take a flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur, which is the air hub for the Chitwan National Park. It is an exclusive quick way to get into the Chitwan. Usually, it takes only 20 minutes to reach Bharatpur. You can enjoy the aerial view of dramatic green hills and valleys.

By Tourist Bus 

Taking a tourist bus is one of the most common and convenient ways to get to Chitwan from Kathmandu. You'll get a direct bus from Kathmandu and head to Chitwan. The price is also reasonable with a comfortable and safe trip. The journey from Kathmandu will take around 7 hours via tourist bus. 

By Private Car/Taxi

Lastly, you can even get a private car or taxi to Chitwan. Typically, it will take 5 hours, and three people (4 people maximum) can comfortably travel. It is a scenic drive along the Prithvi Highway following Trishuli Valley. You can enjoy the scenery of green hills and small farming villages. If you are a solo traveler, you can share the ride with other travelers and make it much more affordable.  

Final Say

Unlike the Himalayan region of Nepal, Chitwan showcases completely different sides where you'll witness the unique culture and landscapes. After completing a trek in Nepal, or you just want to experience the wildlife, then Chitwan is a good treat. So you can choose any of these best things to do in Chitwan National Park and have close encounters with the thriving wildlife, experience unique Tharu culture, and soak into the exclusion experiences!




Recent Comments

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Isaac Gallagher | Thu May 19, 2022
For wildlife Photography, Chitwan is the hot-spot. I loved to click pics of many wild birds, tiger, rhino and crocs.
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Marc Harrison | Mon Mar 21, 2022
Except elephant riding, do anything as you wish. Animal Welfare is now a hot topic. I would never encourage anyone to ride on elephant anywhere in the world.
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Keira Ball | Tue Dec 28, 2021
Thanks for this info. Can you suggest me the best restaurant or lodge to spend a day or two near or inside the park?
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Kailey Racy | Fri Nov 19, 2021
I would be more interested into cultural and natural sightseeing rather than riding the back of innocent animals.
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Gilford Paget | Fri Nov 12, 2021
It looks like Chitwan National Park is something nature and wildlife lover should do once in a lifetime. The variety of flora and fauna available at this place is already getting my attention for it.
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