After the group paper was delivered and before the exam period began, we got to squeeze in some extra time to explore Nepal. A group of six of us went to Chitwan National Park, in hopes of experiencing the spectacular wildlife of Nepal. (Especially tigers!!)
We didn’t really plan to much and booked accommodation the night before. We ended up staying in one of the villages outside the park, in a small local-driven bed and breakfast called Angel`s b&b. This was super cheap, and the owners were super sweet. 10/10 recommend!
The main thing to do in Chitwan Is naturally to go on a safari. However, the ethical side of these things can sometimes be a bit questionable, so we wanted to take as many precautions as possible. We decided to stay away from the elephant riding, and the driving-tours, to avoid disturbing the wildlife as much as possible. We opted for a canoe and walking tour instead.
The morning started off early with a sunrise tour in the canoe, which was one of the highlights of the entire trip. Then we started walking through the jungle, excited and nervous as we were warned about all the potential dangers, and how to respond if any animal were to attack. However, as the walk went on, we saw no sign of the animals, except for a lot of animal poop. The moral was starting crumble and was not made easier by the fact that one of us was sick from some medication, ready to throw up any time along the route.
The trip was coming to end, and we were accepting the fact that our hopes of spotting a tiger was a bit too ambitious. While our friend was throwing up, and we had returned to the entrance of the park, we FINALLY spotted a rhino that had walked all the way to the fence of one of the hotels. Though feeling more like a zoo at this point, we were stoked at the fact that we at least saw one animal that day and we were no more than one meter away from it.
Overall, we agreed the trip was worth it nonetheless, as the canoe trip and jungle walk were beautiful and peaceful. Also, it is worth noting that some of our other friends, were there just a week before us, and saw lots of animals, and had a completely different experience.
The most absurd thing that happened during our time in Chitwan, was the fact that I was walking alone to a store close by our hostel, to buy some snacks, when suddenly I see a rhino walking by, directly behind me. After the failed Safari trip, this felt quite surreal. Apparently, this is a thing that can happen frequently in the area as the national park is not closed off or fenced in. The rhino was not at all aggressive, just walking around town, eating some plants and drinking water of the ground. This you won’t experience if you don’t take the trip to Chitwan, so this is your sign to go.