This unique wildlife experience takes you all the way across the southern Terai region of Nepal. Starting from Chitwan National Park, you'll enjoy a special elephant encounter and wildlife safaris, seeing the endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Moving west, you'll explore the remote Bardia National Park in far western Nepal, in search of the elusive Bengal tiger. In both places, you'll stay in the elegant Tiger Tops properties.

Highlights

  • Be immersed in an elephant experience in Chitwan
  • Go on wildlife safaris and spot one-horned rhinoceros
  • Search for elusive Bengal tigers in remote Bardia National Park
  • Enjoy luxury accommodation at the famous Tiger Tops lodges

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Fly Kathmandu to Chitwan Chitwan National Park
Day 3 Elephant Experience Chitwan National Park
Day 4 River and Jeep Safari Chitwan National Park
Day 5 Drive to Lumbini Lumbini
Day 6 Drive to Bardia National Park Bardia National Park
Day 7 River Safari and Village Walk Bardia National Park
Day 8 In Search of the Royal Bengal Tiger Bardia National Park
Day 9 Fly from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 10 Farewell Nepal!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Kathmandu
Kathesimbhu Stupa in Kathmandu

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 Kathmandu to Chitwan

Sunset at the Narayani River

Fly from the domestic terminal of Tribhuvan Airport to Bharatpur, a short flight of around 30 minutes. From there, transfer by car to the less crowded area at the western end of Chitwan National Park

Arriving at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge, you will be met by the Tiger Tops staff with a welcome drink in the dining hall. Continue to the garden, where lunch will be waiting for you.

After lunch you will have a chance to settle into your rooms and explore the lodge grounds: the swimming pool beckons and it'd be easy to while away a sunny afternoon swimming and reading with a cool drink in hand. We suggest you also take a stroll to the Narayani River with the elephants and one of our naturalists later in the day, and watch the family of elephants bathe and frolic while you enjoy sundowners.

Return to the lodge for hot showers and cold drinks before dinner.

Day 3: Elephant Experience

Elephants playing

Get up early and follow the elephants to the grasslands, where the mahouts cut and collect grass for the elephants to eat during the day. While watching the beautiful sight of the elephants grazing in the morning mist, you will be treated to a steaming cup of traditional Nepali tea. You may also learn the grass-cutting and binding techniques from the mahouts.

Back at the camp, a fulfilling breakfast will be waiting. The rest of the morning you can spend with the mahouts, learning how to make kuchis (elephant sandwiches), watching the elephants enjoy their free time in the corrals, or follow any activity the mahouts may have planned for that morning.

Lunch will be served 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 of rumbling and trumpeting. On the way, our naturalist will show and tell you about wildlife and vegetation as you move through jungle, grassland, and wetland. You will most likely encounter tiger tracks, deer, various species of birds, and maybe a rhino or two, depending on the route.

Day 4: River and Jeep Safari

Royal Bengal Tiger

Enjoy an al fresco breakfast beneath shady mango trees, and after head out on a boat safari on the Narayani River. The outing commences with a nature walk or bullock cart ride through the riverine forest, followed by a scenic float down the river.

Cruising on the wide expanse of the river, pockets of rapids propel the boats along as gentle waves lap at the sides. Sitting inside a hand-carved boat, keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birds and wildlife. Top of the list is the endangered fish-eating gharial crocodile and its more sinister relative, the marsh-mugger.

A Nepali-style lunch will be served back at the lodge, after which you might want to return to the pool for another afternoon of sunbathing and relaxation.

Later in the afternoon, meet with your naturalist for a jeep safari in the national park. Explore nature from the comfort and convenience of one of our classic vintage Land Rovers. Do not hesitate to ask questions and learn as much as you can: our naturalists are extremely knowledgeable about the animals and the history of Chitwan National Park. During the safari, you will encounter wildlife such as deer, birds, monkeys, the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, and hopefully even the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger.

Day 5: Drive to Lumbini

Lumbini Crane Sanctuary

After breakfast embark on a three-hour drive to Lumbini. No trip to the Terai would be complete without a visit to Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace, and the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary

Take a guided tour around the Maya Devi Temple and the breathtaking World Peace Pagoda, as well as the many temples built by pilgrims from around the world. There are temples built with Chinese, Thai, and Burmese architecture, so you’ll feel as if you’ve seen all of Asia in a day. Use your binoculars to spot Eurasian wigeons, Eurasian marsh harriers, and booted eagles.

Day 6: Drive to Bardia National Park

Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge

Today you'll drive across the southern flood plains of Nepal, through Tharu villages and border towns. The trip takes approximately 7-8 hours. En route, get a feel for life in the Terai passing through towns, fields, and forests. Close to the lodge you will cross the Babai River, where marsh mugger crocodiles may be warming in the midday sun.

Once at Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge, you will be met by the staff with a cool welcome drink. Settle into your room and relax with a book, or explore the compound before dinner. The evening will be spent with cocktails around an outdoor fireplace, before moving into the Ghol Ghar (Nepalese dining room) for dinner. A good setting for late-night chats, the stocked bar remains open until the last person goes to bed.

Day 7: River Safari and Village Walk

Jeep safari in the jungle

Enjoy a more relaxed day today. Rise at your leisure and enjoy a hearty continental-style breakfast. Embark on a one-hour drive to the Chisapani Bridge (the largest in Nepal), and the starting point of your river safari. Float down the Karnali River, spotting an abundance of aquatic birdlife, crocodiles, and perhaps even the extremely rare Gangetic dolphin. Drift slowly past small islands as the river splits, watching deer and monkeys foraging on the river bank. Following your safari, you'll be picked up and driven to the lodge for a late lunch.

In the afternoon or early evening, go for a gentle stroll through the neighboring villages and paddy fields, meeting the local farmers and learning about the Tharu way of life. 

Day 8: In Search of the Royal Bengal Tiger

Keep an eye out for Bengal tigers
Keep an eye out for Bengal tigers

Wake early to the sounds of the abundant birdlife, grab an early breakfast, and embark on a full-day jeep safari in the jungle in search of tigers. Your highly experienced naturalist will guide you to various hides and lookouts while pointing out a plethora of wildlife. Enjoy a packed lunch while waiting for a glimpse of the elusive orange and black stripes. Return via the National Park Headquarters, where you can visit both the elephant and gharial (world's rarest crocodile) breeding centers.

Return to the lodge in the early evening to a well-earned cold beer or hot shower, followed by delicious dinner.

Day 9: Fly from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu

Crocodile at Bardia

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, you'll make the two-hour drive back to Nepalgunj Airport in good time for your light aircraft flight back to Kathmandu. You may be lucky to spot more crocodiles while crossing the Babai River.

After your arrival in Kathmandu, enjoy a final dinner in Thamel, pick up some last-minute souvenirs, or just relax at your hotel.

Day 10: Farewell Nepal!

Tribhuvan International Airport departure gate
Tribhuvan International Airport departure gate

Today you will be transferred to the airport three hours before your flight. Bid farewell to Nepal, for now!

Map

Map of Nepal Jungle Safari: Chitwan & Bardia - 10 Days
Map of Nepal Jungle Safari: Chitwan & Bardia - 10 Days