The Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal was established in 1973 and contains 932 square kilometres with a diversity of ecosystems-including the Churia hills, Ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti, Reu and Narayani Rivers. It is located west of Kathmandu at the foot of the Himalayas and is one of the few remaining of the 'Terai' region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal.
It has a high biodiversity which makes this park unique in Nepal and wildlife includes one of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros and several dozens of Bengal tiger, although it is a matter of pure luck to see this elusive big cat. It is placed on the Unesco World Heritage List.
There are so many things to see and do in the area. You could float down the river at dawn as the mist rises off the water, watching as the storks and spoonbills pick their way through the weeds hunting for breakfast. You could take a 'jungle safari' throught the forest on top of an elephant. Believe it or not, crashing through the undergrowth on this huge beast is your best chance of spotting rhinos. Often the elephant will walk right up to them while they're grazing and the rhino won't bat an eyelid. To a rhino, humans on foot are far more worrying than on elephant back so you'll be able to get a really close look at their incredible leathery skin, while still at a very safe distance.
The lodges around Chitwan National Park will offer treks into the jungle on foot, varying from 3 hours to 3 days long. One of the highlights of a trip also is visiting a traditional Tharu village where you can help collecting jungle vegetables and preparing a meal sharing it with a local family. Washing an elephant in the river and having her give you a shower from her trunk is also a memorable experience!
One of the main attractions of Royal Chitwan National Park is that after a few days amongst the incredible stupas, bustling markets and rooftop restaurants of Kathmandu, the park really does offer complete peace and quiet amongst unspoilt nature and friendly people.