Choose the mode of transportation as per your travel style and budget. Traveling via a charted helicopter or a local bus or anything in between is up to you. Keep reading to find out more about traveling from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park.
Enjoy a short flight of around 20 minutes from Kathmandu to Chitwan. You will be landing at Bharatpur Airport which serves as a gateway for Chitwan National Park. The airport is around 10 miles or 16 kilometers away from Chitwan National Park.
Buddha Air, Simrik Airlines, and Yeti Airlines are well-known commercial airline companies among others to operate flights between these cities. There are around 10 flights daily connecting Chitwan and Kathmandu. The first flight is at around 8 am and the last flight leaves at around 2 pm.
The flight fare for a one-way ticket from Kathmandu to Bharatpur for a foreigner is around US$ 109 per person. Nepalese and Indian passengers are charged around NRP 3500.
Taking a charted helicopter is the quickest and most comfortable way to travel to Chitwan National Park from Kathmandu. Enjoy the stunning aerial view of Kathmandu valley and the Terai landscape from the comfort of your helicopter. It is the best option if you are short on time but wish to visit the National Park. Moreover, the chance of flights getting canceled or delayed is slim.
The helicopters usually carry 5 passengers. You will be charged based on a single charter. It costs around US$ 2200 for a one-way flight to Chitwan National Park. Your travel agent can arrange a charted helicopter flight for you.
Must Read: Family Safari In Nepal-Chitwan National Park With Kids
Enjoy a picturesque drive from Katmandu to Chitwan National Park. You will be driving on winding hilly roads and driving past the Trishuli River, lush green hills, terraced farms, and quaint villages. As you head south from Mugling, the plains of Terai begin. Enjoy the view of green fields from your window.
You will reach Chitwan in around 5 to 6 hours. Traffic on the day of your travel may shorten or lengthen the time taken to reach your destination.
The overland drive will be long so download some movies or shows to entertain yourself. Also, you can carry some snacks to eat during the ride. You can choose to travel on a tourist bus, public bus, microbus, private car or jeep.
The last stop of buses traveling from Kathmandu to Chitwan is Sauraha. The small town of Sauraha is located outside the Chitwan National Park and provides accommodation for tourists visiting the national park. Sauraha lies 7 km away from the national park and you can either take a local bus or a taxi to reach the national park.
Taking a tourist bus to Chitwan National Park from Kathmandu is a popular way of travel. There are around 10 to 15 companies offering tourist bus services and the buses of different companies depart around the same time. The bus leaves around 7 am daily from Sorhakhutte near Thamel. You will be traveling in comfort and there will be stopovers for breakfast and lunch. Tourist busses are equipped with Wi-Fi and air conditioning units.
The bus fare of tourist buses is around US $8 to $10 per person. Also, the fare depends on the service a company provides. It isn’t necessary to get a ticket beforehand and you can go to the bus stop in the morning and get a ticket. However, it will be better to get tickets in advance when traveling in peak season or if traveling in a large group.
Public buses depart frequently for Chitwan from New Bus Park at Gongabu or Kalanki Bus stop. The buses depart every hour. It is the cheapest way to travel and costs you around US $5 to US $6. You can either take a bus with a capacity of over 30 people or 14-seater Toyota Hiace known as microbus.
If you wish to experience the local way of overland travel then choose public buses. The public buses will not have air conditioning and the aisle is mostly filled with luggage. Be ready for loud songs and to compromise in the quality of restrooms and food stops.
Hiring a private car is the most convenient way of getting to Chitwan National Park from Katmandu. Your tour agent or travel company can easily arrange a private car for you. You don’t need to drive as the car on hire comes with a driver.
The cost of hiring a private car is around US $ 80 to US $120. The price varies based on the model of a car. If you want an air-conditioned car then expect to pay extra. It is an expensive way to travel but you will be compromising least on comfort. Also, you can get better quality comfort stops and eat at good restaurants.
The best part about traveling in a private vehicle is that you can stop at interesting places along the route.
Visit the revered temple of Manakamana which is known to fulfill wishes of the devotees. The temple of Hindu Goddess Bhagwati is situated on a hilltop. Take a scenic cable car ride to the temple and enjoy the stunning view of the hilly landscape.
Add some thrill to your long overland drive by rafting in Trishuli River. You can either raft for a few hours and drive to Chitwan National Park or reach the national park by rafting for two days.
Take a scenic drive to Chitwan from Kathmandu in the morning and stop at Charaudi. Go rafting in a river featuring rapids like S-bend, Surprise, and Ladies delight. Enjoy a thrilling ride amidst a picturesque vista. White water rafting in Trishuli River is appropriate for novice rafter and suitable for all age groups. After fun rafting to Kuringhat, you will be resuming your drive back to Chitwan National Park.
Suggested Read: How To Get Pokhara From Kathmandu
If you want to shorten the overland ride then you can raft for the second day as well. After rafting from Charaudi to Kuringhat, you will be camping on a riverside on a sandy beach at Kuringhat. On the next day, you will be rafting after having a breakfast. Enjoy rafting in bouncy rapids and enjoy the view of farmlands. A thrilling ride in the white water comes to an end at a place called Tea Pot. Further, you will be taking a short drive to the Chitwan National Park.
Visit the first national park of Nepal, Chitwan National Park which also holds the title of World Heritage Site. The national park is grassland and marshland spread in the area of 932 sq. km. It is home to exotic animals like Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinos, deer, and over 500 species of birds. If luck favors you spot elusive animals like leopard, sloth bear, and Royal Bengal Tiger.
Explore the inner region of the national park via a jeep safari. It is one of the best ways to see the animals in the natural habitat. An experienced guide will accompany you and spotting animals will become easier. Watch animals like one-horned rhinoceros, frolicking deer, monkeys, and peacocks.
Canoeing in the Rapti River is one of the thrilling activities to do in Chitwan National Park. View the aquatic life of the national park on a traditionally made dugout boat from a single wooden log by a local craftsman. Witness crocodiles like Marsh Muggers and Gharial sunbathing on the banks of River Rapti.
Visit the elephant breeding center and see a baby elephant interacting with its parents. Learn about the nature of elephants and know what these giant animals eat in a day. It is a government-owned center whose main aim is to raise the young elephants and increase the population.
The national park is a paradise for bird lovers and home to over 500 species of birds. Some of the birds found here are Common Quail, Chukar, Green-winged Teal, Red Junglefowl, Common Pochard, Swamp Francolin, and Kalij Pheasant.
Tharu people are the indigenous group of the Terai region and enjoy a cultural night with songs and dances performed by Tharus. Enjoy a Tharu dance like Danda Nach (Stick dance) and Ago Dance (Fire Dance) performed in their unique traditional attire.
Explore the flora and fauna of Chitwan National Park and bask in its natural beauty. The cultural immersion will enrich your trip.