This very popular wildlife park is 120km southwest of Kathmandu, in the center of Nepal. This is one of the best wildlife parks to visit in Asia. It is a great experience going on an elephant safari in this first-class park. It is relatively easy to get to and can be visited cheaply. It is a popular park to visit so can get crowded. There are many wild animals in this park, which include one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, leopards, wild boars, sloth bears, pythons and crocodiles. These animals can all be seen during park visit. It is unlikely to see a tiger, but you can be almost certain to see a rhino, monkeys, different species of deer, and many species of birds.
During their visit in 1911, King George V and his son the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII), during their hunting expedition 39 tigers and 18 rhinos were killed. In 1973, when Chitwan became a national park, the amount of rhinos was down to 100 and the tigers were just 20. At the present time the park has around 605 rhinos, 120 tigers, over 68 other species of animals, and over 632 species of birds.
From Kathmandu it takes a day to get to Chitwan and a day to get back to Kathmandu, so you need at least three days for this trip. For most people two full days at the park is enough. As it is a pleasant place many people will want to stay longer. You can also do a river raft trip there, spending three days on the river Trisuli or Seti Khola.
The best time to visit the park is from October to May. There is a wide assortment of birds in the park. The best time to view migratory species is from December to March.
The park can easily be visited from either Kathmandu or Pokhara. If you are traveling between Kathmandu and Sunauli, it is a short trip of the route to the park. If you are going between Kathmandu and Pokhara and the Indian border town of Birganj, you pass Chitwan.
There are many places to stay here ranging from Rs 100 up to $350 per night.
The Terai area, where Chitwan is located is subtropical. The park is made up of grassland (12%), hardwood forest (80%) and riverine forest (8%). The hardwood forest is mainly sal(Shorea robusta), and there are also kapok, fig, flame of the forest, strangler vine and shisham.
In the grassland over 68 species can be found. Elephant grasses (the saccharun family) grow up to 8m high. The small species such as khar are useful for thatching.
Sal, which is the main tree in Chitwan, is a valued hardwood, which is used for building and woodcarving. It is known for its strength and durability and this can be seen because many of the ancient buildings in Nepal were constructed by it. It grows in well-drained soil to an average height of 30m.
In wetter area there are shisham (Dalbergia sissoo), Simal trees (Bombax ceiba) and khair (Acacia catechu). Simals have large red flowers in the spring.
There are over 68 species of mammals, 632 species of birds, and 234 species of butterflies. The most interesting animals to see are the tigers (rarely seen) and the rhinos (usually seen).