Day 051- Walk in the park

2008/10/26 § Leave a comment

Usually I stay away from package deals. This time though I did it, and it was the most touristy thing I have done so far. My current travel mate Jason was into going to a place called Chitwan, where Nepal´s best national park can be found. He was inclined to do so by booking a package deal ahead and I let him and the travel agent convince me that it was a good deal. It would have been, had the travel agent not blatantly lied to us. So just do not go to book those deals no matter how cheap they seem to be. You get more and cheaper if you organize it all on your own.

All in all though we had a fun time at the national park, even though the promised jeep safari never took place. We did meet Geoffrey from the US and Nicole from Australia and the four of us did all the organized activities together. Otherwise I think it would not have been much fun at all. But with the guys sharing the same fatalistic humor about the staged safaris and hilarious guides, trying to pretend it all were for real, it was not only bearable but actually fun.

We started of with a Elephant safari which means all four of us were riding on an Elephant. I loved that part most since Elephants are really cool beasts with a big heart (beating at a slow rate of just some 30 or so beats per minute). From the Elephant we saw Rhinos and Deer in the “Jungle”. What really happened (though most other tourist appeared to be immune to notice this) was that the Rhinos are there every day and used to the tourist masses tagging along. In fact, there is much reason to suspect that the Rhinos are even fed by the tour operators in order to get them to stay in this part of the park.

In fact, it was nice to observe the Rhinos but the truth is that this part of the park is a so called buffer-zone. That means it is not the actual park, but an area designed to protect the real forest. Tigers, which some tourist ironically really believed to have a chance meeting were nowhere to be found, of course. There is no chance to see Tigers in this part of the park. Maybe there is no chance in any part of the park at all since the numbers are tremendously low (less than 90, maybe less than 50 individuals).

However, during the afternoon walk we were in for a laugh, since our guide made the best efforts to create the suspense that naturally cannot be found in a staged setting. In accordance to him we have almost been trampled by both, a Rhino- which nobody saw, but we maybe heard (we are no experts on Rhino sounds and it may have been another guide hiding in the bushes), and an Elephant- which the guide claims to have seen, but we just heard some cracking wood. “Very dangerous wild Elephant” became the phrase of the day that kept us laughing. The safari basically consisted of hearing a sound, going towards it and, on a sign of the guide, run for our life´s.

In fact we did see some monkeys and loads of bugs. Some deer too, but very hard to see. Anyhow, we had our fun and so it continued in the same style with a river tour where we saw crocodiles, another Jungle walk to spot birds, bathing with the Elephants, checking the Elephant rearing station etc.

Concluding, if you plan on going to Chitwan, do not do it with a package deal. And consider twice if you want to come at all. There is not all that much to it, unless you have never been to a zoo. Which is maybe the best way of describing this place.

If you however add some hundred dollars per day you may find people who may actually take you into the real park. Where you will not necessarily see more than what we saw, nevertheless.

However, if you wanna chill with mates close to a national park that offers some non-demanding daily activities and the possibility of drink beer while watching the sunset over the national park´s river this is the place to go to. Else go trekking. This is at least where I am heading now…


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