15 Things To Do During Visit to Chitwan
Chitwan is the fifth largest city in Nepal and is synonymous with wildlife and Tharu culture. Every time people hear the name Chitwan, they picture themselves amid the lush woodlands of the National park, either enjoying the safari or jungle walks. While some find themselves within the forest, others locate themselves in the Rapti/Narayani River bank sunbathing and canoeing. The main attraction of Chitwan is the Chitwan National park which is visited by thousands of visitors yearly to admire the beauty of nature and the indigenous Tharu community residing in the area. The perfect combination of these two factors makes Chitwan a popular tourist destination that offers different refreshing activities to visitors within its surrounding.
In this blog, 15 Things to do during Visit to Chitwan, we will not only give you an overview of Chitwan but also highlight things you cannot afford to miss during your Chitwan stay, so stay with us till the end to plan your next trip.
Chitwan: The heart of the Jungle
The name Chitwan comes from two Sanskrit words: Citta means heart, and vana means jungle/forest. Thus, Chitwan is also known as the heart of the jungle and is marked by dense forest that is home to wildlife like Leopards, Bengal Tiger, Rhino, elephants and many more.
Located in the southwestern part of the Bagmati province in the Terai region, Chitwan has its district headquarters in Bharatpur, which is one of the largest cities in Nepal. Bharatpur is the centre for businesses and services like education, health care and many more.
The elevation of Chitwan ranges from about 100m in the river valley to around 815m in the Sivalik hills and experiences four seasons- Summer, Monsoon, Spring and Winter like other parts of the country.
✔ Best Season to visit Chitwan
There is no such thing as the best season to visit Chitwan, as each time of the year allows you to experience different temperatures and do varied activities. If you love the rain, the monsoon, June to August, can offer you a wild adventure into the woods of the national park. While summer, March to May, will give you plenty of opportunities to witness wild animals taking dips into the river to beat the heat. The temperature during this time can go as high as 35˚C but allow you to encounter more animals resting in the water or the shade.
December to February is the coldest month, with an average minimum temperature of 7˚C. During this, you can enjoy the clear views of the Himalayas and also spend some quality time by the riverside sunbathing. The time September to November is supposed to be ideal, as the temperature is pleasant and you can be part of different activities like canoeing, jungle walking, elephant bath, and many more.
✔ Distance from Kathmandu by Road and Plane
The road distance from Kathmandu to Chitwan is 180.4KM and takes around 7-8 hours drive from Kathmandu, while a plane takes about 20 minutes to arrive at Bharatpur. After landing in Bharatpur, you can take local or private transport to Chitwan, which is 16KM ahead.
✔ Distance from Lumbini by Road and Plane
The road distance from Lumbini to Chitwan is 88 km and takes around 5-6 hours drive, while there is a single flight from Bharatpur to Lumbini that takes about 20 minutes.
✔ Distance from Pokhara by Road and Plane
The road distance from Pokhara to Chitwan is 102 km, and takes around 4-5 hours drive, while the flight takes about 20 minutes.
15 Things to Do in Chitwan:
Let's unravel the 15 most exotic things to do during your Chitwan Trip
1. Jungle Safari: Elephant/Jeep
There's no way one will miss the Jungle Safari during their vacation in Chitwan National Park. The safari can be in an elephant or jeep, according to your preferences. During this activity, you will pass through the deeper side of the forest to encounter birds and other animals like deer, leopards, tigers, wild boar and many more. The birds in the national park often live in the canopies of the trees, so make sure to carry binoculars and identify a few birds.
2. Jungle Walks
Jungle walk in the dense tropical forest of the National park is another adventurous activity that allows visitors to witness animals in their natural habitat. The jungle walk is guided, and the guides provide all of the necessary safety tips. Although you might encounter some wild species during the walk, you are restricted from carrying any weapon. You may see rhinos, wild elephants, boar, gharial, and the Royal Bengal tiger if you are lucky.
With this jungle walk, you will get a better understanding of the natural habitat of different wild animals while they are engaged in mating, nursing or even fighting.
Canoeing in Rapti river is much more refreshing than boating in Phewa lake as you will pass through the dense forest of the National park area enjoying the sights of crocodiles and gharial soaking up in the riverside and water birds preying on fish. The most exciting part is that you can enjoy every bit of nature while your guide describes different species of water birds spotted during the journey. Also, sometimes you can encounter other wild species drinking water in the river. So, make sure you have a camera in your hand to capture your highlight of the day.
4. Elephant bathing
While it might sound notorious, people do love elephant bathing in Chitwan. During this activity, you can not only watch elephants bathe but also play with them and ride on their back to join their bathing time. It will be a pleasure to watch the human-elephant interaction, but overly fun to see them throwing splash of water from their trunk and in some instances playfully throwing the riders to the river as per the request.
Visitors can choose to watch this activity from the Rapti river bank or join them to get a different experience.
5. Visit the elephant breeding center
A visit to the elephant-breeding center is a great way to interact with the friendly elephants, especially if you are against the bath or safari. The elephant-breeding center in Chitwan was established in 1985 to protect elephants from being endangered.
In the breeding center, you can get various information like what they eat, how they eat, the food preparation method, and other habits of elephants. The breeding center often has baby elephants, so you can also get a chance to see the babies playing with their mamas and having a wonderful time. During this visit, you can get a close-up view of the elephant, and get information about their nature, so make sure to pay a visit since the breeding center is only 3KM from Sauraha, and you can catch a rickshaw or walk to the center.
Relatable Chitwan Tour Pakages:
6. Try out Authentic Food like Ghongi, Patushni etc.
The authentic dishes of Chitwan are a must-try since it's different from what you get to eat in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Items like Ghongi (snail), TAAS (spicy-fired mutton), Patushni, and Dhikri with Sidra are famous local dishes that have won the hearts of millions.
Served with ground linseed soup, the fascinating part of Ghongi is not the dish but the way you eat it. If you are trying the Ghongi for the first time, you must know that you need to suck the snail from its shell, and yes it is totally safe. Another dish TAAS is available in different cities in Nepal, but the taste of Chitwan's TAAS is very different. The spicy fried goat meat is a perfect snack for drinks and can be lunch when served with Bhujiya or Chiura and pickle.
Patushni is another dish also known as Khariya, prepared by deep-frying the steamed colocasia leaves (Taro) with fillings of rice beans or legume (black lentils) paste mixed with spices. Dhikri with Sidra is a common dish of Tharus prepared by steaming the rice dough. It is served with lentil soup or curry, or even Sidra. Sidra chutney is a dried fish pickle prepared by mixing the dried fish with different rich spices that leaves an everlasting taste on your tongue.
7. Tharu Village Tour
Chitwan is an open museum to learn and understand the Tharu culture, practices, and lifestyle. The Tharu community resides very close to the protected area of the National park and hence exhibits a close relationship with the natural world that is different from other ethnic communities. Unlike other ethnic communities, they are actively involved in farming, cattle rearing, fishing, and hunting. They live in houses built with mud and a roof made up of reed. During your visit, a guide with enough knowledge about their lifestyle, culture, practices, and foods will accompany you. Hence, you can easily understand and relate to their daily activities when you visit the village. Even though they are busy with their work, they always make time to say Namaste and welcome you to their homes.
8. Tharu cultural Museum
Over the years, the community has been highly influenced by other lifestyles and cultures. Hence, you may not see individuals dressed up in traditional outfits and see equipment used by the community in the past during your village tour.
Therefore, to give up an overview of Tharu of the past, they have established Tharu cultural museum and research center in Sauraha. The museum exhibits different dresses, daily used items, equipment, utensils, guidebooks, historical photos, murals, statues and many more and is a great place to widen your knowledge about the community.
9. Tharu Cultural Dance
Apart from enjoying the Tharu delicacy, visiting the cultural museum, and touring Tharu village, another way to connect with the community is by being a part of the cultural dance show organized in Sauraha. The community offer full entertainment to the visitors by performing varieties of dances like Danda Nach (stick dance), Mayur Nach (peacock dance), and Ago Nach (fire dance). The performance lasts 45 minutes, and both male and female participants are dressed in their beautiful traditional attire and dance to show harmony in the community. This cultural show has allowed the community to spread awareness about their cultural practices and uniqueness to its visitors.
10. Chitwan Chepang Hill Trail
The Chitwan Chepang hill trek is a unique experience in the hills of Terai that allows visitors to get an insight into the indigenous Chepang community of Chitwan. Although Chepang were nomadic in the past, they have now embraced semi-nomadic life and are engaged in hunting, agriculture, fishing, or work as manual workers in some cities.
The Chitwan Chepang Hill trek can be completed within 3-4 days, during which you will be staying in a homestay in the region. Although the major highlight of the trek is the cultural exploration of the indigenous community, the sunrise view from SiraiChuli and the panoramic sights of the Himalayas will also excite you for the journey. During your visit, don’t forget to capture the essence of their customs and lifestyle.
11. Bird watching
Chitwan National park alone homes 576 bird species, which is about 65% of the total bird species of Nepal. Every year hundreds of migratory birds visit the national park area. Some are winter visitors, while some are summer and spring visitors. Different bird species can be found in varied locations of the national park area.
Birds like Large Warblers, Bengal floricans, and Grass owls are found along the grassland, while Pheasant, Woodpeckers, Great hornbill, peafowl, and others can be seen in the forest, which you can spot them during the jungle walk or safari. Chitwan also has a wide variety of wetland birds like the Black-necked Stork, Bar-headed goose, Wooly-necked stork, and Kingfisher that can be seen around the lake and riverbank during the canoe ride. Apart from these, the national park also has rare and endangered species like the Slender-billed vulture, Oriental darter, Kashmir flycatcher, Grey-crowned Prinia and many more.
12. Watch the sunset and chill in riverside restaurants
Imagine a vacation away in nature, resting in one of the restaurants on the riverside, enjoying the sight of elephant baths, canoeing, or rhinos resting in the water. Although it might sound dreamy, it is all possible in Chitwan as you relax in the riverside restaurants. In the evening, people gather in restaurants to capture the sunset and enjoy drinks with their loved ones. There is a whole different vibe, with people dancing, singing and admiring the beauty of nature.
13. Visit Bishazari Tal
The Bishazari Tal covers an area of 3200 ha and elevates at an altitude of 286m in the southern corner of Bharatpur, inside the Chitwan National park. The lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 2003 and is a perfect place for bird lover to spot some common to rare bird species. The wetlands have been providing habitat not only for birds like Indian peafowl, lesser adjutant, and vulture but also for mammals and reptiles like sloth bears, rhinos, crocodiles, pythons and cobras.
14. Explore Devghat Dham
Located 20 km far from Sauraha is the Devghat Dham, the holiest location in Nepal according to Hindu mythology. The Devghat Dham covers an area of 54.34 sq. Km and is filled with shrines, temples, ashrams and an old age home. The constant ringing of bells in the temple and holy chants of bhajans in the ashrams echoes in the forests, giving a heavenly feeling.
Many Hindus believe that if they die in Devghat, they will get a place in heaven. Hence, many elderly devotees stay in the area during their last days.
15. Cycling in Chitwan
Cycling is another best way to explore places around Chitwan. There are different cycling routes in the area that will allow you to get a better understanding of the people and their lifestyles. You can rent a cycle from a hotel or travel company and pedal your way to Tharu village, Narayani River, Bishazari tal or stroll down the main road.
Cycling on the outskirts of Chitwan is mesmerizing, as you will ride through agricultural fields and small villages, learning new things about the place and locals.
Popular Hotels in Chitwan:
Since Chitwan is one of the popular tourist destinations in Nepal, it has several lavish hotels providing varied activities and services to its visitors. Below are some of the popular hotel in Chitwan that has been providing first-class services and making our guests feel cared for and welcomed.
✔ Hotel Earth Light
✔ Green Park Chitwan
✔ Hotel Seven Star
✔ Rhino lodge and hotel
✔ Hotel Westwood
✔ Hotel Wildlife Camp
✔ Landmark Forest Park
✔ Jagatpur lodge
✔ Kasara Resort
✔ Hotel Parkland
Best things to Buy as a souvenir from Chitwan:
Chitwan offers a variety of handicrafts that are perfect for souvenirs. You can buy Mithila art, painting, wooden crafts of rhinos, elephants or other animals, and jewellery. Places like happy house gift shops and women's art and handicraft shop to select from an array of options.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the temperature normally of Chitwan?
✔ Since Chitwan lies in the Terai region, it is comparatively warmer than other places in Nepal. The normal temperature during the day is around 33˚C and about 25˚C at night.
2. What is Chitwan famous for?
✔ Chitwan is famous for a wide variety of things including the National park, Tharu culture and dance, authentic dishes and religious sites. However, the Chitwan National park is the major highlight of the city.
3. What are the Places to visit in Chitwan?
✔ Apart from the National park, Chitwan also has other places to visit like Devghat Dham, Maulakalika temple, Siraichuli hill, Bishazari tal and Jalbire waterfall.
4. What food is famous in Chitwan?
✔ Chitwan is famous mainly for unique Tharu dishes like Ghongi (snail), Patushni, Dhikri with Sidra, and other items like Newari Khaja set and TAAS (spicy fired mutton).
5. What are the best things to Buy as a souvenir from Chitwan?
✔ Handicrafts can be one of the best things to buy as a souvenir from Chitwan. The Mithila art and painting, wooden crafts and jewelry can also be ideal according to your likelihood.
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