How to Reach Chitwan
Bharatpur Airport is located 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of Bharatpu. It is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and is served by Nepal Airlines, the national airline which earns most of its revenue from this airport.Bharatpur Airport is the country's 4th busiest. It is the main tourist gateway to Chitwan National Park, and is growing fast in terms of aircraft and passenger traffic:
The trip normally starts at Mugling, 110km out of Kathmandu on the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Chitwan road. The trip itself is an easy river cruise that takes two or three days. The price ranges from US$30-US$75 per day. Before you pay up, shop around, bargain, and ask a lot of questions about the details of the arrangement.
Public buses go to Tadi from Kathmandu and Pokhara for about US$2 (twice the cost for more comfortable "tourist buses"). The ride takes about seven hours from Kathmandu, six from Pokhara. From Tadi, you will either have to cover the six kilometer distance to Sauraha on an ox cart (takes two hours to cover the distance!) or in a rented jeep for US$0.50. You can also rent a bike for about US$1 a day, or walk. On the way you need to cross a river which can be waded across during offseason, but during seasons with high water, local fishermen will ferry you across in their dugout boats for a couple of cents
Exploring Chitwan :
There are several ways to do this; and if you stay there two to three days, as most tourists do, you can try them all out.
An elephant ride is the most popular way of exploring the Chitwan jungle. For about US$15, the government elephants take you around the jungle for an hour and half. There are two trips a day, one in the morning at eight and another at four in the afternoon. During peak seasons, there are long lines for tickets. Your lodge will normally get you one for a dollar or two extra. If you are staying at the luxury lodges inside the Park itself, they have their own elephants too. Note that, other than the elephants owned by these lodges, only the government runs elephant services inside the Park. Privately owned elephant rides (which go for cheaper rates) take you around the outside of the Park, where the chances of game spotting are far less.
Jeep safaris are also very popular. For US$15, they take you around for four hours. A great way to spot wildlife in areas further inside the Park which are less trodden.
Canoeing along the Rapti river is another option. With some luck you will get to see Gharial crocodiles, marsh muggers, and variety of fish. With a lot of luck you may be able to see a Gangetic dolphin. The trip is a paradise for birdwatchers with possible spotting of kingfishers, ospreys, and egrets. Chitwan is known to have 400 species of birds. For less than US$3-US$5, you can canoe downriver for about an hour, and take a three hour guided walk back.
Jungle walks through the jungle is a good way to spot game. Monkeys, birds and deer are assured; rhinos are less common (but not uncommon). A guide is recommended, and you can hire one for $3 per day (or pro-rated for shorter time). They can help you stay safe as well as point out interesting things.
For those who want a more extended experience, and are there for more than a couple of days, overnight jungle hike deeper into the jungle can be rewarding. Most do a two night hike. Designated camping spots inside the park cost US$5 per night. Guides cost US$6-US$8 for the trip. You may have to rent your camping gear in Kathmandu, because there aren't really any such facility in Sauraha itself.