National parks

National Parks

Thanks to Nepal’s extensive and effective parks and reserve system, the country has managed to preserve more endangered species of flora and fauna than any other country in Asia. Now, the protected areas in Nepal include 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, one hunting reserve and 6 conservation areas and 11 buffer zones covering an area of 34,186.62 sq. km, that is, 23.23 percent of the total area of the country.

Chitwan National Park (UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site)

  • Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, canoe ride, jeep drive, experience of Tharu culture
  • Accommodation: Resort hotels and lodges
  • Access: The park headquarters at Kasara is a 21-km drive from Bharatpur which is 20 minutes by air or 146 km by road from Kathmandu
  • Wildlife: 56 species of mammals that include one-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, rhesus monkey, langur, deer, leopard, gaur, wild boar, wild dog and wild cat; 49 species of amphibians and reptiles that include the endangered long snouted gharial, marsh mugger crocodile and python.
  • Birds: 539 species of birds that include summer migrant birds like paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta and parakeets etc. during, while winter birds include waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, pintails, bar-headed geese, cormorants and migratory birds from Siberia
  • Vegetation: Deciduous forest with 600 plant species
  • Best Season: October-March (average temperature 25 degrees Celsius); April- June (hot, up to 43 degrees Celsius), July-September (rainy)
  • Park Headquarters: Kasara
  • Added Attraction: Devghat, Padavnagar, Balmiki Ashram, Kabilaspur, Chepang Hills Trail
  • Entrance Fee: Nepali - Rs. 100 per day per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 750 per person per day, foreigners - Rs. 1,500 per person per day

Sagarmatha National Park (UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site)

  • Activities: Trekking, mountaineering, experience of Sherpa culture
  • Accommodation: Resort hotels, lodges, tea houses, camping
  • Access: Fly to Lukla which is 30 minutes by air from Kathmandu and then trek onward
  • Wildlife: Himalayan tahr, ghoral, musk deer, pika (mouse hare), weasel, jackal, black bear, wolf, lynx and snow leopard
  • Birds: 193 species of birds including impeyan pheasant (Danphe), blood pheasant, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, snow cock, snow pigeon, Himalayan griffon and lammergeier
  • Vegetation: Pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, while above 3,500 m, forests are dominated by silver fir, birch, rhododendron and juniper trees
  • Best Season: October-November and March-May; December-February (snow, daytime temperature 5 degrees Celsius) June-September (rainy)
  • Park Headquarters: Mendalphu, Namche Bazaar
  • Entrance Fee: Nepali - Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Bardia National Park

  • Activities: Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, boat ride, jeep drive
  • Accommodation: Jungle lodges
  • Access: Three hours' drive (95 km) from Nepalgunj, which is 1 hour by air or 516 km by road from Kathmandu
  • Wildlife: 53 mammals that include the Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, swamp deer, black buck; reptiles include gharial crocodile, marsh mugger crocodile; fresh-water Gangetic dolphin is commonly seen in the Karnali River
  • Birds: 400 species of birds include Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-eared mesia and sarus crane
  • Vegetation: Sal, savannah forests and grasslands
  • Best Season: October-March, April-June (hot, up to 42 degrees Celsius), July-September (rainy)
  • Park Headquarters: Thakurdwara
  • Entrance Fee: Nepali - Rs. 50 per day per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 500 per person per day, foreigners - Rs. 1,000 per person per day

Khaptad National Park

  • Activities: Trekking
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Access: Fly from Kathmandu-Nepalgunj (60 min.), then fly to Chainpur (Bajhang)20 min. and then a three-day walk; or fly Kathamndu-Dhangadi (1 hr 10 min.) 670 km by drive, then 10 hurs drive to Silgadi and then 1 day trek
  • Wildlife: Wildlife include barking deer, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, rhesus monkey and langur monkey
  • Birds: 270 species of birds, the common ones being different varieties of impheyan pheasant, partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos and eagles
  • Vegetation: Grasslands and forests of subtropical, temperate and sub alpine vegetation; 224 species of medicinal herbs
  • Best Season: March-May and October-November (10-20 degrees Celsius); June-September (rainy), December-February (snow)
  • Park Headquarters: Khaptad
  • Added Attraction: Ashram of Khaptad Swami, Khaptad Lake, Tribeni, Sahashra Linga (at 3,200 m, the highest point of the park), Ganesh Temple, Nagdhunga and Kedardhunga
  • Entrance Fee: Nepalis - Free, SAARC nationals - Rs. 100 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 1,000 per person per entry

Langtang National Park

  • Activities: Trekking, mountaineering, experience of Tamang culture
  • Accommodation: Lodges, camping
  • Access: From Dhunche, which is 117 km by road from Kathmandu
  • Wildlife: Wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey, langur monkey, snow leopard
  • Birds: 373 species of birds including tragopan and impeyan pheasant
  • Vegetation: Sub-tropical forests below 1,000 m giving way to alpine shrubs and grasslands
  • Best Season: October-November and March-May (cold at higher elevation); June-September (monsoon), December-February (snow)
  • Park Headquarters: Dhunche
  • Added Attraction: Holy Lake Gosainkunda
  • Entrance Fee: Nepalis - Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Makalu Barun National Park

  • Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Access: Fly to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu (40 minutes) and then a six-day walk
  • Wildlife: Endangered red panda and snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, ghoral, Himalayan tahr, wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan marmot, weasel, langur monkey and serow; Arun River has 84 varieties of fish including salmon
  • Birds: 400 species of birds including wren babbler, olive ground warbler
  • Vegetation: Sub-tropical forests to sub-alpine and alpine vegetation as the altitude increases; 48 species of orchids, 87 species of medicinal herbs, 25 of 30 varieties of rhododendrons found in Nepal, 48 species of primroses and 86 species of fodder trees
  • Best Season: October-November and March-April; April-May (hot at lower elevations), June-September (monsoon)
  • Park Headquarters: Seduwa
  • Entrance Fee: Nepali - Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Rara National Park

  • Activities: Trekking
  • Accommodation: Camping, lodge
  • Access: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (1 hour); Nepalgunj to Talcha Airport (35 minutes) then 2-hour trek to Rara Lake
  • Wildlife: Endangered red panda and musk deer, Himalayan black bear, leopard, jackal, Himalayan tahr, wild yellow-throated martin, wild dog, wild boar, common langur, rhesus macaque and common otter; three species of snow trout can be seen in the lake
  • Birds: During winter 272 species of birds are seen here including coots, great-crested grebe, black-necked grebe, red crested pochard, mallard, common teal, merganser and gulls; migrant water fowls and gallinaceous birds can also be seen during certain seasons
  • Vegetation: Coniferous forests and blue pine dominate the park and the lake area respectively; rhododendron, juniper, spruce, oak and cypress are found around 3,000 m while at higher altitude, pine, spruce and fir are more common
  • Best Season: February-April and October-November
  • Park Headquarters: Hutu
  • Entrance Fee: Nepalis - Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Shey-Phoksundo National Park

  • Activities: Trekking, mountaineering
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Access: Fly to Dolpa's Jufal Airport from Nepalgunj (20 minutes) and then a three-day walk
  • Wildlife: Sheep, ghoral, musk deer, leopard, wild dog, marmot, weasel, mouse hare, rhesus and langur monkeys, Himalayan tahr, Himalayan black bear and jackals; 6 species of reptiles
  • Birds: Over 200 species of birds including yellow throated marten, Tibetan partridge, wood snipe, white-throated tit, wood accentor and crimson-eared rose finch, impeyan pheasant, cheer pheasant, chough, raven, Tibetan snow cock, Tibetan twit, Himalayan griffon and lammergeier
  • Butterflies: 29 species of butterflies
  • Vegetation: 286 floral species of botanical importance: pine, walnut, willow, oak, cypress in the lower altitude and pine, spruce, juniper and birch at higher regions; berberis, wild rose and caragana are seen in alpine areas while the regions higher up are mostly arid with grass alpine meadows with barely any trees
  • Best Season: March-May and September-October
  • Park Headquarter: Sumduwa
  • Added Attractions: Lake Phoksundo, Dho village (one of the highest settlements in the world)
  • Entrance Fee: Nepalis - Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 3,000 per person per entry

Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park

  • Activities: Trekking, bird watching
  • Access: Drive from Kathmandu city center to Budhanilkantha (11 km) then trek
  • Wildlife: 19 species of mammals including Himalayan black bear, leopard, barking deer, wild boar, wild cat, rhesus monkey and langur monkey
  • Birds: 177 species of birds
  • Butterflies: 102 species of butterflies
  • Vegetation: 129 varieties of mushrooms
  • Best Season: September-May; June-August (rainy)
  • Park Headquarters: Shivapuri
  • Entrance Fee: Nepalis - Rs. 10 per person per entry, SAARC nationals - Rs. 250 per person per entry, foreigners - Rs. 250 per person per entry

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