Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Friday 13th January 2006:
From Kathmandu to Royal Chitwan National Park
Rose and I slept well. After showering we went down for breakfast. It was a very foggy morning. I will write more about that later. After breakfast we checked our email. I wrote one to Corinne. We then did some final packing before heading down to the hotel lobby. My driver was leaving at 10am and Roseâ€™s at 10:30. We said our farewells to Russell, Linda and Jenny. Russell was leaving the next day while Linda and Jenny were going on to India for a few days. James had left for the UK at 6:30 but we had said goodbye to him last night. Rose and Kath were heading for Bangkok later in the day.
I was pleased to have the company of Jade and Kane for the trip to Royal Chitwan National Park. The domestic airport was utter chaos, as it usually is I believe. The tickets said our flight was at 11:15am but we only took off at 1:30pm due to fog at our destination Bharatpur. Unknown to us we had to first touch down at Meghauli which is close to the Tiger Tops Lodge. About half of the passengers got off at this point. The airport there is just a small one with a grass runway, which doubled as a soccer field I think. We had ten minutes there to stretch our legs and use the toilet (which was western style and very clean!). We then flew for about another 6-7 minutes to Bharatpur. This has a sealed airstrip with a well kept looking building. We didnâ€™t need to go inside the building and our Peregrine driver took our bags to his car.
Bharatpur to Chitwan NP
I was concerned that his car wasnâ€™t going to make it out of the car park. It wheezed and rattled, the brakes seemed dodgy and the steering wheel shuddered. Little wonder it was in such a state when we drove the 40 minutes to Royal Park Hotel, Chitwan, near the town of Sauraha. Dodging pedestrians, bicycles, motor bikes, buses, tractors, trucks, goats, ducks, chickens, tempos and taxis is a remarkable skill shown by all drivers in Nepal. And all the time those incessant horns are blaring. No-one takes any notice of them so why do they use them? The buses in this part of Nepal are all decorated Indian style, though not quite as elaborate. Most of the road, except for the last five kilometres, is supposedly sealed. Our driver seemed to know every pot hole. There were quite a few of them!