Sauraha is a village in Chitwan District of Nepal situated close by the Rapti River and the Chitwan National Park. It is the eastern gateway to Chitwan National Park and jungle safaris for budget, mid-priced and 3-4 star tourists. Beginning literally as small and very quaint Tharu village of mud and daub huts and houses, with a half dozen mud and daub hotels, it has grown into a small quiet town full of western style hotels and resorts, restaurants, Internet cafes, and gift shops.
Jungle / wildlife safaris by foot, jeep and elephant. You are for sure to see the rhinoceros. Also many types of deer, monkeys, and Bengal tiger. Bird watching in and around the jungle. Especially Bish hajar Taal (20,000 lakes) wetlands area approximately 10 kilometers north west from Sauraha.
A quickly growing but still small village that caters to the needs of the visitors to Chitwan National Park, the best known safari park in Nepal. It is located 160 kms by road from Kathmandu, 155 kms by road from Pokhara and 160 kms by road from the Indian border at Sunauli. The Chitwan National Park (R500 entrance fee) is home to Bengal tigers, rhinoceroses, bears, leopards, crocodiles and monkeys amongst others, and hundreds of species of birds and butterflies. The village of Sauraha is separated from the national park by the Rapti River, which is safe to swim in. During the dry season one can wander the sand dunes of the shrunken river. It is possible to walk for miles along the mud roads west, north and east of the village to other, rural Tharu villages.
What to do: Watch the sun set over the National Park / Go for a ride on an elephant / Bird watch on the oddly-named 20,000 lake / Stay overnight in the jungle spotting wild animals from the lookout tower / Watch a Tharu cultural show/Hire a bike and wander about Tharu villages / Swim in the river and watch the elephants being bathed / Drink cool beers at one of the "beach" bars / Go for a jungle safari on foot, by elephant or by jeep / Go for a canoe trip on the river.
What you may not like: Mosquitoes at certain times of the year (nets are provided in hotels/lodges) / The overzealous hotel touts at the bus park (simply board any jeep that will take you the 3 kms to the village. If you stay in the hotel the jeep goes to the ride is free. If you don't like the look of the lodge, hand the driver R30 for the ride and choose another place).
How long: You might really like the laid back atmosphere and stay longer than you had originally planned. The small village has a few restaurants as Pokhara and Thamel, but local-style eateries as well. There are no asphalt roads here, just dirt/mud tracks and hardly any traffic. Life is tranquil here. You will want to spend at least one day in the national park, and a couple more days to walk/bike around about. Give yourself at least a minimum of three days.
When to go: The dry season would be best (November-April) and March would be the ideal time. The daytime temperature is not too hot and the elephant grass in the national park has been cut, allowing for better animal spotting.
Where to stay: Twenty years ago when Sauraha was a one horse village, the only places to stay were the lodges inside the national park, and these are not exactly cheap accommodation. See List of Hotels
Where to eat: Probably not in your lodge/hotel restaurant where the prices tend to be too high. Fairly basic meals can be found at different restaurants located in the city. See List of Restaurants
After Kathmandu and Pokhara, Sauraha is the most important tourist destination in Nepal. Sauraha is located at Bacchyauli village in the eastern part of Chitwan district and is famous for observation of various wild animals and birds. The Chitwan National Park, rich in natural beauty and bio diversity has become one of the most popular destination for tourist. Sauraha offers a multitude of activities suited for the entertainment of the tourist. It is possible to observe different wild animals and birds in the natural forest of the Chitwan National Park by riding an elephant or vehicle. The adventurous jungle walk, elephant ride, jeep safari, canoe ride, tonka ride, Tharu cultural program, elephant bath, observation of wild life trophy exhibition, views of sunrise and sunset are the major tourist activities available in Sauraha.
Similarly, the traditional culture of Tharu community is also the specialty of the area. Sauraha is famous for the study and observation of the indigenous tradition and cultural heritage of Sauraha. The Bachhyauli village considered the tourist heart of Sauraha reminds of both side by attractive resorts and foreign tourists moving around puts Sauraha in an equal footing to any tourist hotspots of Kathmandu. The new visitors are amazed by the number of attractive tourist places along the 7 km distance from Tandi Chowk to Sauraha Chowk. The climate here is surprisingly clean and cool despite being located in the middle of Terai. Elephant race, bullock art race, tonka race, canoe race and elephant football competition are organized in Sauraha for tourism promotion every year towards the end of December. Even foreigners also participate in these competitions. Sauraha is located 7 km from Tandi along the East West Highway that is situated some 162 km west of Kathmandu. Tonkas, carts drawn by ponies, ferry tourist from Tandi to Sauraha.
Flight from Kathmandu to the Bharatpur airport, 11 km away from Sauraha, takes 30 minutes. Regular tourist buses depart to Sauraha at 7 AM from Kathmandu, Kantipath. More than 70 hotels and resorts operating in Sauraha that serve the tourist.
Sauraha is a relatively small town. So it's easy to walk around. There are several roads running through it but there's only one main road that run through it to the Rapti river. Getting around Sauraha is normally done on foot. There are however cycle rickshaws which will take you around. Prices are usually around 20-50rps depending on distance. Less if you are a local.
Hotels often run mini van and jeep services between popular areas such as the elephant breeding center or sunset by the river. Theses services are usually part of package tour. There are no motor taxis. Elephant transport is available but must be booked privately.
Note: when walking around Sauraha do be aware of dress codes even in the heat or after river bathing. Walking around shirtless, in swimsuits or very short skimpy/exposed attire is frowned upon by locals.
Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the Chitwan National Park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including several endangered species. Of all the worlds remaining forests, one of the most enchanting if Chitwan National Park in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Here in side the park, you will discover a lost world of towering tees and twisting vine, of pre-historic rhino and lumbering elephants, of crocodile pythons and deer; of brilliantly colored birds and if you are fortunate- the superb Royal Bengal Tiger. Visit a wonderful world of lush riverine forest, tall elephant grass, lakes and rivers, home to some of the most endangered animal on earth, the elusive tiger and the prehistoric rhinoceros, including many species of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. Around 400 one horned rhinoceros make their home in the lush forest of Chitwan, along with several others wild species.
In the waters of the two mighty river that drain the Chitwan valley, the Narayani and the Rapti, you will find a diversity of riverine wildlife including the endangered fish eating gharial crocodile and marsh mugger crocodile. Chitwan is the bird watchers paradise, over 528 species of resident and migratory birds having been identified so far. The endangered Giant Hornbill, the Paradise Flycatchers, the Large-Pied Kingfisher and Racquet-Tailed, Dragon are among the more exotic resident birds in Chitwan. For more serious birds watchers, Beeshazari lake (a Ramsar site) provides a unique venue for watching migratory waterfowl, waders and shore birds that congregate from December to February every year.
An unbeatable feeling of being in the wild. Experience a selection of wall-appointed hotels in Sauraha that offers an up-close-and personal activity. They offer comprehensive wildlife tours of three of more days. There are a host of option to explore the park, accompanied by resident naturalists and guides: elephant back safari, canoe rides, jungle walks bird-watching tours, and jeep drives.
Chitwan National Park is approximately 160kms from Kathmandu. You can either drive from Kathmandu to Sauraha, which takes approximately 4 hours. The quickest way to get to Sauraha is to take a short 25-minute flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur airstrip, and them derive for another 25minutes with buffer zones views all along the way. The distance from the Lumbini (the birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha and a World Heritage Site) to Sauraha is just 155km from Pokhara to Sauraha is 145km. Sauraha is easily accessible by road from Kathmandu of Pokhara, a scenic five hour drive. Visiting Sauraha on your return from Pokhara will save you a days travel between Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Another exciting option to travel to the national park via a leisurely two-day rafting tripe on Trishuli River. The first days is thrilling interdiction to whitewater followed by a days of scenic floating through gorges and the middle hills before drooping on to the terai plains.
Spring February till end of April and fall Mid September till mid December.
The Chitwan National Park offers a wide variety of accommodation, not only in size, facilities and visual appearance, but also In price range. If you are looking for exclusive comfort with superior personalize service right in the heart of the park then visit Sauraha for a previews of private luxury and luxury and budget accommodation.
For anyone who visits Chitwan National Park, it sooner or later becomes an addiction. If you site back and think about it, sometime you wonder, why! Chitwan National Park has a long history behind it and also has the unique honor of being Nepal's first National Park. Established in 1973 to protect the wildlife of the low land Terai, this national park of 932sq.k.is unrivaled in the diversity of its life forms and a leader in advanced bio diversity conservation techniques and policies. Since then, there has been no looking back for Chitwan National Park-Nepal's first and richest national park.
As primary destination crowned as the World Heritage site in nature category. The Chitwan National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in the Asia. Truly the flagship of Nepal's national parks, Chitwan is the home to an impressive numbers of species. Mans interaction with the environment over many centuries-is very evident in the Chitwan National Park. This treasures represent the cultures, person and event that played a role in the making of the park and are conserved along with the parks nature assets. The most accessible amongst Nepal's national park, Chitwan is considered by many naturalist to be simply the best managed park in Asia.