ROYAL BARDIYA NATIONAL PARK ( AREA (968 SQ. KMS.)
This 968 sq km park in southwest Nepal is an interesting place to visit. There are over 30 different mammals including tigers, leopards, jungle cats, sloth bear, Nilgai (blue cows), blackbuck and rhesus and langar monkeys. There are also spotted hog, swamp, sambar and barking deer. You are more likely to see a tiger than any other place in Nepal, including Chitwan. The park is around 70% sal forest and the rest of the park is grassland, savanna and riverine forest. The grassland is great for viewing wildlife. The Asian one-horned rhinoceros were hunted to extinction in the beginning of the 20th century; some rhinos were moved to the park in 1986. Now there are around 45 rhinos in the park, which means most people will see one. There are around 50 tigers and 50 wild elephants in the park. One of the elephants, called Raja Gaj, is 11 feet 3 inches (3.4m) at the shoulders and may be the largest Asian elephant in the world. In the Geruwa River there are mugger and gharial crocodiles and the rare Gangetic dolphins.
There are over 300 species of birds including storks, parakeet, geese, herons, duck and some endangered species such as the sarus crane and Bengal florican. A common site in Bardia is the termite mounds, which can be up to 2.5m high.
Some advantages of Bardia over Chitwan are it isolation and the fact that it has much less visitors and is more secluded. The problem with it is that it is so far from Kathmandu and takes a day to travel to it. It is over five hours from Chitwan. To come here you need a day to get to it, two days at the park and then a day to return to Kathmandu or Pokhara. It is also not well developed and the places to stay are limited, but there are some budget places.
The Chure Hills is at the border in the north, and it is bordered on the west by the Geruwa River, which is a branch of the Karnali, a tributary of the Ganges.
The headquarters of the park are at Thakurdwara, around 20km southwest of Anbassa on the Mahendra Highway. Most visitors spend their time in the western part of the park, where there are grasslands and forests near the Geruwa River. Not many people visit the eastern part of the park.
Thakurdwara, the park headquarters, is 12km off the main highway. It is near the Geruwa River and there is a good amount of wildlife. Most of the lodges are close to Thakurdwara, and there is not much else here. This is where the bus stops. It does not have electricity.
At the park headquarters there is a breeding place for gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles, which are bred until they get big enough and then are released into the river.
You can change cash and travelers cheques at the Forest Hideaway Cottages.
The Park is open from 6.30 am to 6 pm (7 pm in the summer). The park office is open daily from 8 to 10 am and 2 to 5 pm. Admission is Rs 1000 are valid for three consecutive days. Entry tickets are purchased at the ticket office at the headquarters office at Thakurdwara, or your lodge can arrange the ticket.
Elephant rides are Rs 650 per hour (up to 3 hours) and are booked at the park headquarters. It takes about 30 minutes by elephant to reach the core area of the park, before you are likely to see any wildlife. The longer the ride the deeper you go into the park and the better the chance of seeing wildlife are. Elephants should be reserved at least one day in advance. Elephants depart in the early morning and late afternoon from the park headquarters. The elephants usually head northwest and you may see deer, langur monkeys, rhinos and boar. You are less likely to see a tiger or bear.
You can also take a walking tour, but you need to have an experienced guide with you. This can often be arranged through your lodge for Rs 300 to 350 for half a day.
Often during walk you have to wade over some streams, so it would be handy to have some sandal with you. After the thatch is cut in mid-January visibility increases.
A jeep can bring you further into the park than an elephant. You book a jeep ride through your lodge. The price of the jeep per person depends on how many passengers there are. A full jeep is around Rs 650 per person. If you came with your own jeep to the park, you need to get a special jeep entry permit at the park headquarters, which costs Rs 1000.
Where to Stay
The places here are mainly very basic. There is no electricity. It is a pleasant place. The budget places are in Thakurdwara, north and south of the park entrance. The food is fairly basic at most of the places. Bardia Jungle Cottage and Forest Hideaway Hotel are the most popular places.
There are no restaurants in Thakurdwara except for the ones in the hotels.
a great way to get to Bardia National Park is by taking a raft down the Karnali River. Organized rafting trips down the Karnali usually include an option to spend some time at Bardia after the trip.
Air The closest airport is in Nepalganj. From there you can get a jeep to Thakurdwara.
Bus The park headquarters at Thakurdwara is around a 2½ hour (longer by local bus) drive west of the park. It is an interesting drive through some villages. Bus depart from Nepalganj to Thakurdwara (3 or 4 hr, Rs 75) at 11 am and 2 pm. Buses depart from Thakurdwara to Nepalganj at 8 and 9 am.
A stream may close the road between Ambaasa and Thakurdwara during the monsoon, so if you come at this time you should contact the lodge you plan to stay at to get across the stream.
Buses can be booked through your lodge.
Jeep You can get here by renting a jeep in Mahendranagar or in Nepalganj. You can then use the jeep to take a tour of the park.
Day 1: Pick up guest from arrival point (Amabasa Nepal) On reaching BJC Welcome drinks and briefing about the programmes.
Breakfast. Visit to crocodile breeding center and tharu village. Jungle drive whole day with packed lunch. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2: Wake up call followed by tea or coffee. Breakfast. Jungle Walk/Dugout canoe ride. Elephant back safari. Western Nepal tharu dance.
Overnight at lodge .
Wake up call followed by tea or coffee. Breakfast Departure From lodge.
Cost does not include:
- International air fare to/ from Nepal.
- Entry Visa fees - at present $25 for 15 day, US$ 40 for 30 day, and US$ 100 for three month visa on entry into Nepal.
- Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu, Pokhara.
- Tips and gratitude provided to staff.
- Bar bills and Personal Expenses.
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