It is one of the 75 districts of Nepal, and probably one of the most exciting locations to spend your time enjoying nothing but peace and some village type atmosphere around you. The place has got its name from Chitwan valley making it the fourth largest city of Nepal.
The name Chitwan is a combination of CHITTA meaning Heart and WAN meaning the jungle or forest. So; the meaning of Chitwan is Heart of the Jungle. It is also said the dense forest was ruled by the King named as Chitrasen Baba. The local people also abbreviated as Tharu people would worship him as lord. And since it was the kingdom of WAN (meaning forest) ruled by Chirasen; it was Chitra Ban, translating it to Chitwan later.
If you traveling from Kathmandu, you can take a tourist bus which will take approximately 6 to 7 hours; or even more, depending upon the traffic. The ticket costs you NPR 500 and buses leave from Kantipath in Kathmandu in the morning. Be ready to experience some of the underdeveloped roads on this journey; since the roads are under construction and it's a mountain roads journey. Especially the last 3 hours of the journey can be more hectic due to the conditions of the roads, but it is one of the most beautiful road trips you will be doing in Nepal. The mighty Trishuli river keeps flowing along the route till you reach Chitwan.
Once you are in Chitwan; you are not allowed to use your own vehicles or for the matter even your agent's vehicle. Since the government is encouraging locals to earn more income by making tourists use the Canters which is nothing but an open truck. These are fun and convenient as well; so do not hesitate to get on the ride.
Canters used in Chitwan for local sightseeing. Live The Life of A Local While In CHITWAN. Image Source - Google
I was staying in Chitwan for 2 nights 3 days. reaching Chitwan in the evening time did not allow me to do any sightseeing on the same day but my next day was full of exciting activities.
Best Places to Visit in Chitwan
1. Elephant Safari
- Elephant safaris are one of the most highlighted activities in Chitwan and also promoted by everyone. And it definitely is an experience you should have at least once in your lifetime.
- There are two types of Elephant Safaris you can opt-in Chitwan. One is Government Elephant Safari and the other one is Private Elephant Safari. Anywhere you go; the better time to opt for this safari is in the morning.
- You are not allowed to wear Red, White, Yellow or any other glossy colors which might provoke the animal. Try to wear full clothes to avoid yourself from getting scratched by the tree branches.
- One safari carries 4 people on an elephant; which actually is quite crowded but is the best thing to do; since all 4 of you support each other's back. Remember one thing; going on this elephant safari is also going to give your body a little bit of a shake. So if you have any severe problems about your back; think before you ride.
- Getting on the elephant has been made quite easy along with proper planks; which allow you to directly step on the seat placed on the elephant.
- The mahout will bring you into the forest and if you are lucky enough you will get to see Samba Deer, Spotted Deer, One Horn Rhino, Monkeys and even some birds. The ride takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hour costing you 1500 NPR.
2. Elephant Bathing
Elephant Bathing Activity. Live The Life of A Local While In CHITWAN. Video Source - Mitali's Travel Diary
- This is one of the fantastic activities I have done in Chitwan. Yes!!! As you can actually read the heading; you do go for elephant bathing.
- The activity involves; you sitting on an elephant directly on its back (this time no seat like elephant safari). There is no plank or other support to get on; so you have to help and push yourself over it.
- Once you are up there; the elephant starts showering water on you with its trunk. And that really is interesting. This goes on for almost 5 minutes and you are completely wet.
- Another interesting part lies ahead. One you are all wet; mahout instructs the animal to bend, making you fall in the river from the height of 6 to 7 feet.
- Elephant bathing costs 200 NPR per person.
P.S. Participating in the above-mentioned activities does not mean I support animal cruelty or any other form where animals are being hurt. It was just a thought of doing the activity which is famous at a particular destination.
3. Canoe Ride
Canoe Riding. Live The Life of A Local While In CHITWAN. Image Source - Strikingly
- Canoe ride is nothing but a boat ride in the Rapti river. But the boat itself is something different. And it is a good ride to go in the evening before 5 PM to have a peaceful ride.
- The boat is made from one single trunk of the tree. You completely sit down on a plank; keeping your legs bent throughout the ride.
- The ride takes around 1 hour in the Rapti river and you get to see crocodiles having sunbath and species of birds along the shore.
- You are guided by the local guide throughout the ride; who keeps informing you about the animals and birds you see on the way.
- You can take this ride from two different points in Chitwan. One is Souraha which also allows you to visit Elephant Breeding Center and the other one is Meghauli.
4. Elephant Breeding Center
Elephant Breeding Center. Live The Life of A Local While In CHITWAN. Image Source - Strikingly
- You can reach Elephant breeding center in Sauraha either by Canoe ride; which will make you take a walk in the lovely green surface for 15 minutes. Or you can reach on the shore of the river by Canter and cross the bridge to the center.
- Elephants are not originally found in Nepal. They were brought from Thailand, India, and Africa. So to increase the population of elephants; Nepal came with the elephant breeding program. But you do not really get to see the actual breeding.
- It has a small museum; which provides a lot of information about elephants along with the skull of the head of the elephant.
- The same canoe guide takes you around the center giving you all the information.
- One of the interesting parts we got to see was; the food elephants eat, which is like a capsule made of grass including various grains in it.
- The ticket cost is 50 NPR.
5. Tharu Cultural Dance Show
- All the tourists visiting Chitwan; also attend Tharu Cultural Program also known as the Tharu Stick Dance which happens in the evening at 7:00 PM.
- It is a program which is presented by the local people giving an insight into the culture of Tharu people of Chitwan. You get to see some festivals and ceremonies of Tharu people in the program.
- The program lasts for almost an hour, and artists also invite you on stage to enjoy the performance along with them.
- The ticket cost is 650 NPR.
6. Tharu Village Visit
- Tharu village tour is quite famous among tourists; especially the ones who visit from western countries.
- Although now the village is very well developed along with all the facilities available to everyone. The village tour lets you visit the village and experience the life of locals closely.
- Tharu people live along the coast of Terai, but the culture is comparatively more famous in Chitwan side.
- The village also has a small Tharu Village Museum; which houses certain things which were used by the village people a few years ago.
SAVE IT FOR LATER