Although Nepal is perhaps better known for its extremely high mountains, it is actually a very geographically and topographically diverse country. The plains bordering India, the Terai, are home to thick jungles and extensive wildlife, which are a surprise and highlight for many travelers. Visitors to the Terai shouldn't miss the Chitwan National Park, which has run a very successful one-horned rhinoceros breeding program. You're all but guaranteed to spot one of these incredible animals, as well as other wildlife and birds, in Chitwan. On this tour you'll have time to explore the highlights of Chitwan while staying in some luxurious and unique accommodation.

Highlights

  • Look out over the Kathmandu Valley from historic Swayambhunath
  • Explore the famous Terai region of Nepal and discover why it's so unique
  • Go on safari by jeep, boat, and foot in search of exotic and endangered wildlife
  • Spend the day with elephants, feeding and interacting with them

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan Chitwan National Park
Day 3 Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot Chitwan National Park
Day 4 Explore Chitwan: Boat Safari to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge Chitwan National Park
Day 5 Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants Chitwan National Park
Day 6 Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 7 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you'll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.

In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan

Looking out over the river in Chitwan
Looking out over the river in Chitwan

This morning, you'll get up early for your flight to the famous Terai region of Nepal, Chitwan National Park. You'll find that the landscape and culture are totally different from Kathmandu or the Himalaya. The name 'Terai' refers to the extensive plains in the southern part of Nepal—this area is the most northern extension of the great Gangetic plains of India, land that was won and lost in decades of struggle and shares both Indian and Nepali characteristics and culture.

Upon arrival at the airport in Chitwan, you will be picked up by a representative from your lodge and get to the lodge in time for lunch (unless you choose an afternoon flight) and a briefing about the activities available in the time you have left this afternoon and what’s on tomorrow.

Day 3: Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot

Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan
Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan

Today is sure to be memorable, as it's a full day of safari activities in the Chitwan National Park and you're guaranteed to see some spectacular wildlife. All wildlife activities are escorted by an experienced naturalist who will tell you everything you want to know about the park and its flora and fauna.

Wildlife that you can see includes the greater one-horned rhinoceros, spotted deer, hog deer, sambar deer, barking deer, gharial crocodiles and a wide variety of birdlife. With a bit of luck, you may even glimpse a leopard, sloth bear, or Royal Bengal tiger.

Day 4: Explore Chitwan: Boat Safari to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge

Accommodations at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
Accommodations at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge

After breakfast, another amazing day lies ahead. You will walk down to the boat ramp on the river and get in the traditional long boat for not only your transfer to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge but this is also an incredible opportunity for bird spotting, seeing the crocodiles, rhinos, and possibly even tigers from the boat.

Arrive at Tiger Tops a bit before lunch and drive to the lodge. Situated beside a lush forest and overlooking idyllic wetlands and farmland on the edge of the park, the Tharu Lodge is a beautiful place to unwind. Dine in the shade of a mango tree, take a refreshing dip in the pool, play a spot of tennis, or simply sway gently in a hammock with a book. If you fancy a bit more activity, in the afternoon go for a bullock cart ride into the Tharu village nearby. At night, enjoy the sounds of the forest, just meters from your window.

Day 5: Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants

The elephants at Tiger Tops
The elephants at Tiger Tops

Get up early this morning and follow the elephants into the grasslands beside the river, where the mahouts cut and collect the grass for the elephants to eat during the day. While watching the beautiful sight of the elephants grazing in the morning mist, enjoy a steaming cup of traditional Nepali tea. You can even have a go at cutting and binding the grass yourself—it's harder than the mahouts make it look!

Return to the Elephant Camp after breakfast, where you will sleep tonight. Spend the rest of the morning with the mahouts, learning how to take care of the elephants. Lunch will be ready around noon, and you might wish to relax and be lazy (just like the elephants) during the hot midday hours.

In the late afternoon, when the temperature is pleasant, go for a walk in the jungle with the elephants and their mahouts. You will be walking alongside the elephants, watching how they move, what they eat, and listening to their communication, which consists of rumbling and trumpeting. The naturalist will explain everything you want to know about the surrounding eco-system as you move through the jungle, grassland, and wetlands with the elephants. You will most likely encounter tiger tracks, deer, various species of birds, and maybe a rhino or two, depending on the route you take.

As an overnight guest at the Elephant Camp, you will be surrounded by elephants living in a spacious, chain-free environment. You'll be immersed in the elephants’ daily life all day; even after dark, you will feel the elephants' presence through their verbal and infrasonic communications.

Day 6: Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel
Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel

After breakfast in Chitwan, you'll be transferred to Bharatpur airport and return to Kathmandu by flight. 

Once you're back in Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day is yours. Explore the city's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Flight time: 25 minutes

Day 7: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples, and some final souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.

Map

Map of Best of Chitwan National Park - 7 Days
Map of Best of Chitwan National Park - 7 Days