Bardiya National Park is a Protected area established in 1988. Bardiya National park is the largest national park in the lowland Terai covering an area of 968 sq.km. The park situated in Nepal’s Western Terai was established for protecting the representative ecosystems and conserving the habitat of the tiger and its prey species. Initially, a small area was gazetted as the Karnali Wildlife Reserve in 1976. At that time, 1500 households of the Babai valley were relocated outside the park allowing the vegetation and wildlife to flourish. In 1982, it was renamed as Bardiya Wildlife Reserve, and in 1984 it was extended to its current size. The reserve was given the status of a National Park in 1988. Greater One-horned Rhinoceros were translocated from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park in 1986, 1991, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 1997, an area of 327 sq. km surrounding the park was declared as a buffer zone, which consists of forests and private lands. The park and local communities jointly manage the buffer zone. Together they initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zones. An elephant ride provides a different view of the park as one can go off the main trail, Morning and late afternoon is the ideal time to go on a ride. Karnali river is a suitable home for the Gangetic dolphin. Babai valley is a majestic place to visit where flagship Rhino, tiger, and elephant can be cited in the wilderness site.
Bardia National Park is situated near the southern border of the far southwest corner of Nepal in Bardiya district of Province 5. Some 968 sq km make it the largest wilderness reserve on the Terai lowlands that form a transition between the plains of northern India and the outer foothills of the Himalayas. With the Himalayas to the north and twisting turns of the Karnali River and its tributaries to the west and south, the location of the park provides a huge protected area of diverse habitats for a multitude of endangered species. Following years of unsettlement within Nepal that left the park out on a limb, Bardia is now much more accessible again and many believe the park is now set to become one of the premier eco-tourism destinations in Asia. Bardia is well placed for transport links, both to and from Kathmandu or India.
The park has three distinct seasons, winter, summer, and monsoon. Form October through early April, the weather is dry. The days are warm and the nights are cool and pleasant. From April to June the temperatures gradually rise up with a peak temperature up to 45 0c in May. The hot sticky days give way to the monsoon rains in July that last until September.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Bardiya National Park in terms of weather is from mid-September till mid-December and from February till mid-June when there are dry weather conditions.
Winters are short in Bardiya and bring cold and foggy weather in December and January. Therefore the chances of seeing wildlife at this time are pretty low. From late June till late September is the monsoon that brings lots of rain making trekking through the park muddy and difficult.
The best time to see tigers is right at the end of the dry season before the monsoon starts. This would be in May or early June. The hot weather and the lack of water force tigers to come out to wildlife drinking spots. Do keep in mind that April and May are the hottest months of the year and temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees.
Flora and Fauna
Bardiya National Park is a mixture of dry forest with lots of cotton and silk trees, open grassland and island-filled rivers.
Bardia National Park is home to many different animals and more than 250 species of birds. The park is home to endangered animals such as the Royal Bengal tiger, wild elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, swamp deer, and blackbuck, The other endangered species include gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles and Gangetic dolphin. Endangered birds found in the park are Bengal florican, lesser florican and sarus crane. More that 30 different mammals, over 250 species of birds and several species of snakes, lizard and fishes have been recorded In the park area. In addition to the resident species, several migratory birds visit the park.
The park offers a variety of experiences in its vast undisturbed wilderness. About 70% of the forest consists of sal tree with a mixture of grassland and riverine forests. Sal leaves are used as traditional plates in festivals and religious offerings.
Things to do at Bardiya National Park
All activities within the premises of Bardiya National Park require you to pay the park’s entrance fee and a mandatory guide. Besides the entrance fee. Here is the Entrance fee table:(latest Update August 28, 2020)
|SN.||National Parks/ Wildlife Reserve/ Conservation Areas||Nepali||SAARC||Foreigners||Child discount|
|1||Bardiya National Park||Nrs. 100 per person per entry and For Nepali Student Nrs. 50 per person per Entry.||Nrs. 750 per person per entry||Nrs. 1,500 per person per entry||Below 10 yrs free|
A Real taste of Jungle Walk
jungle walks are the best and most sustainable way to explore Bardiya National park. You can choose between half-day tours and full-day tours. I would certainly recommend the latter as you will go deep into the park towards the banks of the Karnali river where your chances of seeing wildlife are pretty high.
It’s a real adventure where you will have to walk through rivers and thick forests where the monkeys are playing in the trees.
Costs: between 1500 – 4000 rupees. When negotiating a price always check if the park entrance fee (1500 rupees per person per day ) and lunch is included or not
With a jeep safari, you can get deep inside the park. Most full-day tours include a picnic lunch and frequent stops at watchtowers and wildlife drinking spots. But one demerit is the wild animals usually run away due to the sound of the jeep.
Costs: Usually It cost about 2000 to 3000 per person. But the price may differ if You are alone or in Group. As per group Jeep safari costs about Nrs. 20,000 with lunch Facility.
River Boating and Rafting
Boating and Rafting is another best thing to do in Bardiya National Park. If you love water advanture than full-day rafting in Karnali River will be your choice. It’s your best chance to see a crocodile and see the park from a whole different perspective than by car or on foot. But there are only some small rapids, so set up your mind as a gentle boat ride. If you are into fishing you can combine the river boating with a fishing trip.
Costs: from Nrs. 15,000 per canoe or Nrs.25,000 onwards per raft. This means you can divide the costs if you are with more people. It often includes lunch. And they will provide the safety measures also.
There are over 250 bird species in Bardiya National Park. And during some season it reaches up to 300. The best way to see birds is during a jungle walk or rafting trip in the early morning and the late afternoon just before the sunsets.
Crocodile Breeding Center
The crocodile breeding center aims to preserve the unique gharial and marsh mugger crocodiles. But it is also home to some turtles.
The Tharu museum shows a traditional Tharu home with tools that are still used by the Tharu people in Bardiya. The Tharu are an ethnic minority in Nepal and have their own culture and language. The museum offers a chance to see some traditional artifacts also.
Elephant Breeding Center
Bardiya has a small elephant breeding centre that you can visit early morning or after 4 pm in the afternoon. During the day the elephants are grazing in the park or are used for patrolling.
Explore Tharu Village, Tradition & Culture.
Bardiya not only has spectacular nature but can also give you an insight into rural life of the indigenous Tharu people. Not only is the rural scenery just as nice as the jungle it is also a very authentic experience with few other tourists around. You can also observe the traditional way of living of Tharus and taste the Tharu food and cultural program in the homestays.
How to reach the Bardiya National park?
From Kathmandu: Daily buses run from Kathmandu to Mahendrenagar (alight at Ambassa). The bus takes around 15 hours and is a beautiful though long journey as you pass through mountains and forests and then through the mainly flat and rural Terai. Tickets cost from 1600 Nepalese Rupees (approx. US$16). Night buses also operate. There are also daily flights to Nepalgunj from Kathmandu for around NRs. 16,000 (approx. US$160) which makes the journey much shorter and easier.
From Nepalgunj: Two buses per day go to Thakudwara at 11 am and 2.30 pm (time and frequency may vary), taking 3-4 hours and costing around Nrs. 200. The guide can also pick you up from Nepalgunj airport and transfer you directly to the lodge (approx. 3 hours).
From Mahendranagar: Daily buses run from Mahendrenagar to Kathmandu (alight at Ambassa), the bus takes around 4-5 hours, costing around 300 NR.
From India: You can travel to Bardia from India by coming via Banbassa-Mahendranagar or Rupidha-Nepalgunj border crossing points.
*Ambassa: The actual park entrance is situated close to the small village of Thakurdawa, 13 km southwest along a dirt/gravel road from Ambassa on the Mahendra Highway. A handful of buses run each day from Ambassa to Thakurdwara for around NRs.50. The journey takes around 30 minutes. A guide can also pick you up from the junction.
Is Bardiya National Park Safe for the Travellers?
You will be walking inside the National park maintained by the National Park Conservation Committee and the locals. And the trails inside the park are well-maintained.
So, if you follow your guide’s instruction and take necessary precautions as they suggest then the National Park is completely safe for the exploration. But, roaming around avoiding the tour guide’s instruction may turn life-threatening in the world of wildlife.
What is the Risk by Wild animals
Rhinos are actually the biggest danger in the Nation Park. They don’t see very well though and the key is to distract them. Runaway in a zig-zag pattern, throw rocks and try to climb a tree. With tigers, it is best to keep eye contact and walk back slowly unless the tiger is already running towards you. Then climb a tree as well. In the case of an angry elephant, you have to run away as fast as you can.
One Can Find a big range of Accommodation near the Bardiya National Park i.e. Thakurdwara. There are luxuries Resorts to budget hotels. You can also choose local homestays and community homestay. You can also book the room online and through phone also. One thing to remember is do not book Jungle safari before you arrive because you can bargain at the arrival for safari.