Chitwan, or not?

Old Jul 13th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Chitwan, or not?

My RTW planning has now reached Nepal (although I'm still working on hotels for Korea and Taiwan), and the next decision is whether to include Chitwan. I'm really going to Nepal for mountains and temples, I'm not that into animals (an African safari is good ways down my list) and it's a bit out of the way for the itinerary I'm considering. I've also read that the number of animals is down thanks to flooding in 2002 and poaching during the insurgency, and that the chances of seeing leopards, never mind a tiger, are close to zero..

While I did enjoy the bird park at Bharatpur a lot more than I expected, the birds need to be reasonably big for me to spot them. I've already ridden an elephant, so that's not necessarily a draw, either. Anyone been to Chitwan lately who thought it was really worthwhile? How about in comparison to national parks in south India?
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Thursdays, years ago I did did some resaerch on going to Chitwan and decided that if I wanted to visit a park in Nepal with the hope of seeing some animals, Bardia was a better bet. I ended up not doing either, but you might take a look at Bardia. At the time, it was much less visited and much less degraded than Chitwan.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, Kathie. I had looked at Bardia, but it seemed like a really long haul to get there, and then from there to anywhere else. Maybe I'll take another look.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:02 PM
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Hi Thursdays - Chitwan is not lacking in wildlife, big and small, if you go to the western end of the park. Flooding and poaching were minor matters in the greater scheme of things. Actually Katie is also a little out of date and Bardia has been harder hit by poaching in recent years. I'd say there is no point going somewhere that does not interest you. However, Chitwan and Bardia are great parks representing the finest examples of the Terai Grassland habitat that used to cover much of the Gangetic Plains of the northern Indian sub-continent. If you do go, choose Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Chitwan or Karnali Jungle Lodge in Bardia - best naturalists and accomodation.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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I'm sorry to hear that Bardia has been hard hit by poaching. Thanks for updating my old info, Marcus.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:56 PM
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Well, Marcus is a bit out of date as well. Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Chitwan has been closed for at least six months.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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I have been to various countries in Africa and on safaris there. Chitwan didn't appeal at all when I was planning my trip to Nepal. I will say that an African safari burns $$$ fast, I could be wrong but I doubt Chitan could be anywhere near as expensive as an African safari. So if you are in the least bit interested visit Chitwan based solely on the fact that this should cost much much less than a similar experience in parts of Africa.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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Well, the TT Jungle Lodge was way out of my price range to start with, based on the figures in the latest LP.

justshootme - but I'd stand a much better chance of seeing (for example) lions in Africa than tigers in Nepal, right? I guess the fact that I'm even asking the question means I should do something else with the time, but I thought someone might show up with a paean to Chitwan and convince me otherwise.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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Not sure what the chances of seeing lions are in Chitwan. In Africa if you see the big five consider yourself extrememtly lucky. IMO, your chances increase in private game reserves, prices for private reserves are considerably more than public game reserves in African countries.

Sorry, I haven't been to Chitwan and can't compare Chitwan to an African safari. Are parts of Africa part of this rtw trip too? If so, and even if not, just take a quick look at prices/products for Chitwan compared to parts of Africa.
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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justshootme - no lions in Chitwan, for sure! The big draw there is/was Bengal tigers. Possibility of Asiatic lions in Gir National Park near Ahmedabad in India if I decide to go there. No African safari on this trip, although maybe Tunisia near the end.
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