Best of Bardia

Bardia National Park Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

Until the middle of the 20th century, the Tharus were the only people who had lived permanently in the jungles of Bardia. Malaria, to which the Tharus had a remarkable immunity, kept other people at bay. But in the 1960s a government campaign to eradicate malaria began. People migrated to Bardia in their thousands from the hills. This new threat to the wilderness was considerably halted in 1988 with the creation of the Bardia National Park. The park’s 968 sq km are home to 37 mammals, including the big three: Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephant, and One-horned rhinoceros. Other animals include the tiger’s favorite chital (spotted deer), hog deer, and the barking deer. Another resident is the four-horned antelope and Nilgai, or blue bull, the largest antelope species in the sub-continent. It is the call of one of these animals or the bird songs or the voice of a Tharu talking to his oxen as he ploughs his fields that you wake up to in Bardia.
 
Bardia has always been coveted by people. Historically a part of Nepal, it was annexed by the British at the end of the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814. The region lying west of the Rapti River and east of the Mahakali River became part of British-ruled India after the signing of the Sugauli Treaty in 1815. Together with Kanchanpur, Kailali, and Banke Districts, Nepal also lost Bardia. These Terai districts, which were one great swathe of dense Sal jungles inhabited only by the Tharus, remained Indian territories for 42 years. In 1857, in return for the military assistance provided by the Rana rulers of Nepal in quelling the Sepoy Mutiny in India, the British returned the four districts to Nepal.

     

    Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu

    Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to hotel. Half-day sight-seeing of Kathmandu city and Swayambhunath.
     
    Kathmandu City
    The name ‘Kathmandu’ comes from the Kasthamandap Temple—a fitting source for a city that has an estimated 3,000 temples. But how can a visitor possibly enjoy this abundance of religious buildings? The answer is the Basantapur Durbar Square. In this one square are the wonders, eccentricities, and diversity of Nepali temples. You are moving along centuries-old temples when you look up and see the biggest reason for blushes, grins and giggles in the square: the erotic carvings on the temples.
     
    Although the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar (Palace) became the center of power and royal residence under the Malla Dynasty (1200–1769 A.D.), its origin goes back further, to the Licchavi Period (450 – 740 A.D.). A must-see in the square is the horizontally laid slab of stone on the western wall of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace. On it are etched a jumble of alphabets and numerals in 15 languages. King Pratap Malla, who ruled over Kathmandu from 1641 to 1674 A.D., installed the tablet on the wall to prove his mastery over those languages. Investing in foreign language courses seems wise when you consider that concealed somewhere in that gibberish is a clue to finding a treasure cache hidden somewhere in the palace.
     
    Swayambhunath
    Swayambhunath offers a beautiful view of the Kathmandu Valley. It is a view of the present, but, looking out on to the Valley floor, it isn’t hard to visualize the story of Swayambhunath’s origin. For it was here, according to mythology, that a lotus flower sprang up on the surface of the primeval lake that was once the Valley. Swayambhu, or the Self-Born, is the oldest religious structure in Kathmandu. Calmness can transfer from the Buddha’s all-seeing eyes to yours if you look at them. But not for too long if you have something to eat or drink in your hands, unless you want to see a monkey open a Coke bottle and gulp it down.

    The premises of Swayambhunath also contain an example of the unique religious blend that has sprouted and flourishes in the Valley. Tucked behind the stupa, in the western corner, is a temple of Hariti (Ajima), the Hindu goddess of smallpox. Although a Hindu temple, it is worshipped and revered equally by Buddhists, in the same way as Hindus venerate the Swayambhunath stupa.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 02 Half day sight-seeing of Bhaktapur City and Patan City. Fly to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu. Drive to Thakurdwara, Bardia.

    Breakfast at hotel. Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to resort in Thakurdwara, Bardia.
     
    Bhaktapur
    Bhaktapur, which means ‘City of Devotees,’ is devoted to living up to its name. The city’s foundations were laid out in the 11th century, during the reign of King Ananda Malla. To its architectural marvels, however, Bhaktapur owes most to Yaksha Malla (1428-82 A.D.). The city underwent another intense phase of temple-building during the rule of Bhupatindra Malla in the 18th century, turning the then kingdom into a mosaic of 172 temples and monasteries. Bhaktapur’s charm is that several of those structures remain today In Bhaktapur, use the pagoda style rooftops and the rows of clay pots drying in the sun as landmarks. Following the tallest rooftop in Bhaktapur will get you to the five-storied Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Tole. Walk west from there and you will arrive in the great outdoor museum-like Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Look up at the masterful 55 windows on a single wing of the palace. A few meters from it is the Golden Gate, arguably the best example of repousse metalwork in the world.     
     
    Patan
    If Bhaktapur is the city of devotees, Patan is the city of artists. Its narrow alleys are filled with the music of the hammer meeting anvil. You walk flanked by gilded statues of serene Buddhas and wrathful deities. Often, you will pass by a low doorway framing a chaitya, a small stupa-like structure. These are the famous bahals, or courtyards, of Patan. Nothing is more onerous than poring over maps in Patan; nothing is more rewarding that chucking it aside and loitering.
    The vihars, or monasteries, of Patan are small treasures troves, often containing in them sculptures whose beauty warrants several visits. Like Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, Patan’s major attraction is the Durbar Square. The imposing 17th-century Bhimsen Temple marks the northern entry to the square. Opposite it is the sunken water spout of Manga Hiti, the major source of water in the neighborhood and, formerly, a social hub. Almost synonymous with Patan is the Krishna Mandir located in the square’s center. King Siddhinarsingh Malla built the temple in 1637, opting for a structure of stone rather than the conventional brick and wood structures. At the Mahabouddha Temple and the Golden Temple you can witness ageless rituals, in the latter performed by a boy of seven or eight.
     
    Dinner at hotel

    Day 03 Arrival in Bardia, Tharu Museum visit

    Breakfast at hotel. Visit Tharu Museum. Enter the national park in the early morning, carrying lunch packs. Spend entire day in the jungle, covering the main rhino and tiger habitats. Jungle walks can be replaced by full-day jeep safari or rafting.
     
    Tharu Museum
    At the entrance of the Tharu Museum is a vehicle that symbolizes the Tharu philosophy of using green energy: a wooden bullock-drawn cart. The museum is like a wonderfully preserved interior of a traditional Tharu home, with paintings hanging on the walls and baskets woven out of elephant grass hanging from the ceilings. There are objects ranging from hand-woven fishing nets to beautiful silver jewelry. The Tharus were originally animists, and their deities, like the many animals they revere, do not like to be confined. On a typical family altar there are several figurines, tied down with strings to get them to stay and protect the house. 
     
    Jungle Walks
    There are many ways to see the jungle. But there is only one way to feel it: jungle walks. The jungle answers to your feet setting down on its floor in sounds that vary from season to season. In autumn it’s the crunching of brittle leaves. Winter’s tunes are the dew drops falling to the floor, producing a sound like that of a footstep. Nature’s visual effects are equally enchanting. As you wait in your hideout on the river banks, mist rises from the waters to create a veil, adding to the anticipation of what may appear when it dissipates.
     
    Jeep Safari
    Jeep Safaris trump elephant rides and jungle walks in one aspect: time. With more time you can cover more distance, thereby increasing the chances of seeing more. Few drives will compare to a drive through a tunnel of Sal trees; instead of refills you stop to have your fill of a handsome Barasingha (Swamp deer) stag with its magnificent crown of two antlers of six branches each. When you move again, the destination is another habitat, another potential photo for your living room.
     
    Rafting 
    Emission-free, effortless, and steady, rafting is a jungle visit done in languor mode. It is also viewing the jungle in a way the jungle prefers it—in the quietest way possible. The Geruwa River, which flows through the Bardia National Park, is ideal for rafting. Its calm flow allows for slow-motion views of mugger crocodiles and gharials warming their bodies. Although extremely rare, a Ganges river dolphin may also appear in the river. The sandy banks of the river bear the imprints of all the different animals that have trod upon them. Studying the huge round footprints of elephants or the artistic pugmarks of a tiger can be a delightful activity when you get off the raft for lunch.
     
    Overnight at resort

    Day 04 Bird watching, crocodile breeding center visit, elephant ride or visit the Blackbuck Conservation Area

    Breakfast at hotel. Guided bird watching tour followed by a visit to the Crocodile Breeding Center. Lunch at resort. Elephant ride or visit the Blackbuck Conservation Area.
     
    Bird watching 

    Bird watching begins in the resorts in Bardia. Iridescent birds hover in front of flowers and magpies hop on the ground in most resorts. If there are paddy fields beside the resorts, egrets and storks can be seen. But if you are a bird enthusiast and have quite a number of species to tick off on your bird list, head for an early morning guided birding tour to the community forests around Thakurdwara. For the rarest, biggest, and prettiest of Bardia’s total of 426 bird species, enter the jungle. There you can see the Bengal Florican, Sarus crane, Great hornbill, Black-bellied Tern, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Painted Stork, Black-necked Stork, and Lesser Adjutant.
     
    Crocodile Breeding Center
    If you ever want to count the teeth on a gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the Crocodile Breeding Center is the place for you. The name gharial comes from ‘ghara’ (pot)—an allusion to the pot-like protuberance on its nose. The breeding center also has another crocodilian in residence, which has even more intimidating set of teeth: the mugger crocodile (Crocodilus palustris). It is usually basking in the sun, displaying its (as Lewis Carroll described them) ‘gently smiling jaws.’
     
    Elephant Rides
    Riding on an elephant’s back gives you a sense of security that walks or jeep safaris never can. Lurching back and forth on the thick hide of this giant ride provides all the thrills of a jungle tour without compromising safety. It is also a great way to gauge the might of an elephant as it sweeps aside logs with its trunk as though they were toothpicks or its intelligence as it picks up your cap from the ground and hands it to the mahout (driver). Elephant rides also have the advantage of being able to take you nearer to big animals like rhinos and tigers, something that would be suicidal if tried while on foot or in a vehicle. 
     
    Blackbuck Conservation Area
    The 488 hectares of the Blackbuck Conservation Area in Khairapur is one of the last strongholds of blackbucks in the sub-continent. The Khairapur herd is one of the last remaining wild herds of blackbucks in Nepal. This herd is surprisingly tame and used to human presence. You will have a field day with your cameras as these svelte and smooth-coated beasts leap up and down as if they were made of rubber, or as the males lock horns to establish hierarchy.
     
    Overnight at resort

    Day 05 Bird watching and departure for Kathmandu

    Breakfast at hotel. Early morning bird watching. Drive to Nepalgunj airport and fly to Kathmandu on Buddha Air.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

    The best time to visit?

    From late October to March.
     

    Attire

    Mornings and evenings start getting chilly November onwards and get really cold from December right up to February. Warm clothes needed for visits in the November to February period. Note that jungle safaris are extra cold due to the wind chill factor; wear a good windcheater. March and October have mild, warm weather. 
     

    Visa

    The minimum duration of a tourist visa to Nepal is fifteen days and costs $25.
     

    Is it possible to go to Bardia by road?

    It is, but traveling by road has numerous disadvantages. The bus ride to Bardia from Kathmandu takes 12-14 hours. The monsoons often leave stretches of the highway riddled with holes. Other obstacles include strikes that sometimes last weeks, halting all forms of transportation. Getting stuck in these bandhs, as the strikes are called, can be a torturous experience, especially if there are no facilities such as hotels and restaurants around.
     

    Are Jungle Walks Safe?

    Yes, provided you follow the safety measures.  Explain to your guide that you would be happy to spot animals, but do not want to flout safety rules to do so. It’s good to carry a strong stick for protection against animals.
     

    Is swimming in the rivers permitted? Is it safe?

    Yes to both. For safety reasons and for maintaining silence (an important etiquette when in the jungle), however, your rafting guides will decide the places where you can.
     

    Necessary Items

    Sunscreen, insect repellent, hats and sunglasses, binoculars, Swiss army knife, book on Nepal’s birds. Pack medicines for stomach illnesses. Water purifiers are also recommended, although all resorts have mineral water. Waterproof bag if you plan to go rafting.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

    Package Includes

    • Transport, pick-up, and drop
    • Sight-seeing and activities in Bardia
    • Hotel accommodation (Hotel with Full Board Basis)
    • Return air tickets (KTM-Nepalgunj-KTM)
    • Entrance fee for: Bardia National Park, Crocodile Breeding Center, Tharu Museum

    Package Excludes

    • Visa fee at the International Airport
    • Laundry
    • Personal expenses
    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)

    Adult (12yrs+) Child (02-11yrs) Infant (below 2yrs)**

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    ** Infant tickets will be issued at the check-in counter before your flight at 10% of adult fare rate

    Download PDF Bardia National Park Tour Package (5 days, 4 nights)