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Known as Royal Chitwan National Park until the dissolution of the Nepali monarchy in 2008, Chitwan is one of the most most famous national parks in Asia. Tracing the banks of the Rapti and Narayani Rivers, the swaying elephant grass provides a perfect hiding place for one-horned Indian rhinos, crocodiles and gharials, numerous species of deer, prolific birdlife, and rare tigers. The best way to get close to the wildlife is from the back of an elephant — all of the lodges and guesthouses in the national park can arrange elephant safaris, and you can even help out at elephant bathtime in the river after a steamy day in the jungle. The most ...

Known as Royal Chitwan National Park until the dissolution of the Nepali monarchy in 2008, Chitwan is one of the most most famous national parks in Asia. Tracing the banks of the Rapti and Narayani Rivers, the swaying elephant grass provides a perfect hiding place for one-horned Indian rhinos, crocodiles and gharials, numerous species of deer, prolific birdlife, and rare tigers. The best way to get close to the wildlife is from the back of an elephant — all of the lodges and guesthouses in the national park can arrange elephant safaris, and you can even help out at elephant bathtime in the river after a steamy day in the jungle. The most famous lodge — Tiger Tops — is deep in the forest, but there are dozens of smaller, cheaper lodges in the village of Sauraha on the edge of the national park, which is ringed by Tharu tribal villages. As well as elephant safaris, you can explore the national park by kayak, or even on foot, with local guides. Most people visit on multi-day trips from Kathmandu, but Chitwan is a perfect place to break the journey between Kathmandu and the Indian plains. Almost everything closes down in the monsoon, when heavy rains flood the rivers and turn the park trails to mud.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to November and February to May. Most lodges close from June to August.