Nepal's Chitwan National Park is on the flat, jungle-covered plains of southern Nepal, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Kathmandu. It's a popular detour for visitors traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara, because although it isn't on the way on the most direct route, it's roughly half-way between the two cities.  

Most visitors base themselves around the town of Sauraha, which has many hotels and tour operators. Others stay in the quieter village of Barauli, on the western end of the park, where there are a handful of accommodation options, including the high-end Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge. It's important to know which town you're heading to, as many people would assume that you're staying in Sauraha when you say you're off to the Chitwan National Park.

By Air

Duration: 20 minutes

The air hub for the Chitwan National Park is the city of Bharatpur, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Sauraha, or 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Barauli. There are several flights between Kathmandu and Bharatpur every day. Flight times are 20 minutes. This flight is one of Nepal's less scenic, as it travels from the hills to the plains, but it is by far the most convenient option of getting between the two places. Taxis are plentiful at Bharatpur Airport.

By Private Transfer

Duration: 5+ hours

On a good day, the overland journey between Kathmandu and the Chitwan National Park is only about five hours. It's a scenic drive, following the Trisuli Valley much of the way, with its steep forest-covered hills and farming villages, and then turns south at Mugling and towards the plains. However, traffic jams of two hours or more are extremely common, first at Kalanki when leaving the Kathmandu Valley, and then around Mugling, where roadworks have been ongoing for years.

Many high-end hotels can arrange private transfers between Kathmandu and the Chitwan National Park. This is the most comfortable way to travel overland. Private transfers aren't much faster than buses, but they do usually come with air conditioning, good suspension, and the ability to stop when you wish.

By Bus

Duration: 5+ hours

Tourist buses are another way to get from Kathmandu to Chitwan. These leave from near Thamel in Kathmandu early in the morning and arrive in Sauraha several hours later. They usually stop a couple of times for meals and toilet breaks. Tourist buses are usually air-conditioned, and moderately comfortable. Local buses are also available, but are generally very uncomfortable and not as safe as tourist buses.


Map of How to Get from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park
Map of How to Get from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park