Our first destination in Nepal was planned to be ‘Bardiya National Park’. Bardiya is quite untouched and the largest national park of Nepal. It has very few tourists owing to its location in the western part of Nepal. Since most tourists fly down to Kathmandu which is in the eastern part, Bardiya sees much lesser tourists as compared to the Chitwan and other forest areas around.
We reached ‘Mr. B’s Place’ in Bardiya National Park at around 5 PM because of the time it took to find the RTO and validate our car permit. It was a great place to stay with amazing food and highly hospitable hosts. The day ended with a good dinner and a personal campfire for me and wifey set up by the hosts.
My keenness to explore jungles is beyond anyone can imagine. That is one of the reasons we have 6 national parks in our itinerary across India. I have seen many animals in the wild, but a cat. And the next morning, we were out in our jungle jeep to spot one. We booked a full day safari, leaving no stone unturned to spot a cat. We left at 7 in the morning. Mr. B’s place is located right at the entrance gate of the park, so we were inside the park within 5 minutes. The park welcomed us with a shallow but a fast flowing stream of water, deep enough that no regular vehicle could have crossed it. The safari ride was a mix of jeep safari and short walks at times. We stopped over at multiple places near various streams since that is the best place to spot animals.
We spotted a deer, a fox, few butterflies and red pepper insects, but came nowhere close to a cat. We had lunch, in the middle of the jungle, which our rangers had packed before we left in the morning. We came back by around 5 PM, quite tired of sitting in the jeep all day long.
After resting for a while, Mr. B lit a campfire for us. Conversations with Mr. B over the campfire were the best part of the day. He and his wife shared their experiences of living in the western part of Nepal and how they started of really small and today own a nice little resort located right where more visitors to Bardiya would like to stay.
1. Bardiya National Park is one of the less visited parks in the country. It is quite beautiful but the density of animals here is not too high. If you are planning a short trip to Nepal, you can skip it, but it is a good stopover if you enter from the western side.
2. Indian currency is widely accepted in Nepal, but many places would accept only notes of denomination 100. Credit/debit cards are not accepted in Western Nepal and rarely in the eastern side too. Most Indian Debit cards won’t even work at ATMs (check with your bank before coming), so ensure you carry enough bundles of 100 rupee notes before you enter Nepal.
3. A private jeep safari in Bardiya costed us NPR 12000 (INR 7,500). You can share it with other guests to save on the cost. The price is for a jeep and it can accommodate upto 6 guests along with a driver.