So my plans to go to Chitwan didn't come from seeing some big jungle safari sign at one of the many tourist offices scattered in Pokhara, nor did it come from a recommendation I heard from a fellow traveller. My plans came about just like a lot of my previous 'plans', spontaneously. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do after Kathmandu- spend a few days in Pokhara, meet some people and join a trek somewhere around the Himalayas but things changed when it proved rather difficult to meet people there to share trekking costs with. I had overheard a couple in the last hotel I stayed at, telling the owner that they would go white water rafting to Chitwan instead of bussing the whole way and so I thought that was a pretty cool idea. I went and booked it and within a few minutes I had my bus ticket, my white water rafting trip included and I had booked two nights at Chitwan Forest resort in a dorm for $3 (surely id meet people there to go trekking with right?).
As previously mentioned in my Pokhara blog, the ride there was far from easy and i just so happened to arrive in Sauraha, Chitwan flustered, exhausted and stressed. I wasn't expecting much from my hotel considering the price and the fact that it was a dorm room but when I arrived I was very pleasantly surprised. It was like walking into the Garden of Eden and I was instantly greeted by a nice man who showed me through the jungle resorts courtyard to my very cosy dorm room which I would've sharing with a Chinese family. I had began to think that this was the afterlife and that I had intact died in the Tulasi river.
As if life couldn't have picked up even more, I was welcomed by a steaming hot shower before bed, which was the first id had since coming to Nepal a week ago- Not that I hadn't showered of course but just this time I could enjoy it and not cringe at the thoughts of it- After availing of this luxury, I headed to reception where I was kindly informed of the activities going on in Chitwan. I decided to purchase a 3 night/4 day package to included all my activities, meals and a bus ticket to my onward destination afterwards. It worked out to be around €90 which was well worth it considering I would be out and about doin activities from 7am until the evening time. Day 1 was to include breakfast/canoe ride/jungle trek and end with a jeep safari. I was super excited.
The morning started with a lovely breakfast of eggs and toast not forgetting the soup beforehand (they love their soup), before we headed off down to the river to begin our boat ride. The group of us (including the Chinese family from my room) carefully got into the wooden carved boat trying not to rock it too much and placed the wooden seats under us. Like something from a movie, we slowly made our way down the crocodile infested river through the mist of dawn. We laughed, spotted wild animals, enjoyed times of silence with just the wild animals to hear and then we laughed even more (or maybe just me), particularly when the Chinese dad stood up all of a sudden and wanted to take pictures of us, only to lose his balance and topple over into the water, camera and phone in hand. It was pretty funny because the guides had both repeatedly said 'sit down' to him, yet he didn't listen and to be honest it was the highlight of my day.
After our canoe ride, we took to the jungle for a 3hr hike, where I picked up a few blisters from my new hiking boots (at least they're broken in for trekking now) and spotted all minds of wild animals. We finished the trek down by the river where we got up close with the elephants during their bath time and i couldn't believe the cuteness of them rolling around in the water just loving every minute of it. We had an amazing lunch of rice, boiled veg, a delicious veggie patty and some stir fry and before I knew it I was rushed off on the back of a motorbike to the river once again. My guide passed me on to another guide and off I went back on this dodgy canoe across the river. I made a Norweigian couple and a guy from Singapore laugh when telling them about the mishaps of the Chinese dad that morning which set the mood for the test of the safari. We laughed most of the way along the trip and made jokes about there not being any wild animals and that it was all a trick on us etc. having gone over many small bridges we joked that we were just going round in circles and laughed evey time we saw another bridge. During that while day I saw two types of monkeys, crocodiles, eagles, kingfishers, peacocks, storks and elephants but not tigers nor rhinos were to be seen. Maybe next time.
My first day was great and I was super happy with my accommodation, the food provided, the activities and the attitude of all the people looking after me and definitely this resort as a whole. Here's to 3 more great days in Chitwan national park, Nepals first ever national park.