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How To Reach Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the oldest national park in Nepal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located in the Terai region and is a popular tourist destination blending the preservation of wildlife with a beautiful ambiance, making it a heavenly destination for animal and nature lovers alike. Home to a brilliant variety of forests and grasslands that form the habitat of thousands of birds and animals, traveling to Chitwan is the perfect way to round out your Nepal trip.
The towns closest to Chitwan National Park are Sauraha and Megauli. While Megauli consists of a few luxury resorts and hotels, Sauraha has gone on to become one of the most popular tourist towns in the region because of its proximity to Chitwan and to some of the Annapurna and Poon Hill trekking routes. Most entry points to Chitwan National Park involve getting to Sauraha first, which is the perfect location for accommodation and lodging options for the tourists coming in. If you are looking forward to visit already, read on to know more about the most suitable ways to reach Chitwan National Park.
The most convenient way to get to Chitwan is to catch a flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur, Nepal. Domestic airlines like Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines fly directly between the capital and Bharatpur from 8.00 am to 3.30 pm on a daily basis. The total flight duration lasts less than 30 minutes, making it the fastest route to reach Bharatpur, from where Chitwan is a mere 14 km away.
Once you land in Bharatpur, you can choose to get on any form of public transport or private taxi to take you to Sauraha, the town closest to Chitwan National Park.
For visitors coming in to Chitwan via Kathmandu, tourist bus services can be utilized that operate from Sorhakhutte in Kathmandu at 7 am everyday and reach the bus terminal of the Bachhauli village after an average travel time of 5-7 hours. The city of Pokhara also runs tourist buses between the two regions which take the same amount of travel time as Kathmandu. From Bachhauli, the town of Sauraha is a mere 15 minute walk away. But there are public transport options available too at the bus stop that will take you to your designated choice of accommodation.
Chitwan’s southern location in Nepal means it is easily accessible by roads if you are coming in from India too. The closest border city is Gorakhpur and Varanasi, located close to the Sunauli border crossing of Nepal. A UPRTC bus can be boarded from either Varanasi or Gorakhpur to reach the Sunauli border (approximately 8 hours); after crossing into Nepal, take another bus to reach Narayanghat, which is just about 20 km away from Sauraha. The journey to Narayanghat takes about another 4 hours and once in this town, you can use public transportation as well as private taxis to move on to Sauraha.
Alternatively, you can also get in touch with travel agents to assign you private vehicles or rented cars from Pokhara or Kathmandu to get into Chitwan directly. While slightly costlier, the total journey becomes a little more convenient and the travel time is reduced by a couple of hours.
Nepal does not have a current national rail system. Visitors coming in from India can choose to take a train to the adjoining cities of Varanasi or Gorakhpur, and then proceed via road to the Sunauli border crossing, as detailed in the section above.
While it is possible to explore all the popular areas of Chitwan on foot, the town of Sauraha also has shops from where you can rent out bicycles to check out the villages nearby, or simply stroll around the town itself.