Bardia National Park, Nepal: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Bardia National Park is a protected area in Nepal. It was first established in 1988 as Royal Bardia National Park. The park covers an area of 968 square kilometers. It is the largest and most undisturbed national park in Nepal. The park is located in the Eastern Tarai Region of Nepal. The area around and including Bardia National Park dates back to before 1815. It was one of the few areas that was a part of Nepal before Sugauli  Treaty when the British East India Company handed back control to Nepal. In 1960’s, 368 sq kilometers were set aside as royal hunting grounds. In 1982, the area was officially named “Royal Bardia Wildlife Reserve”. In 1984, it was joined by the Babai valley. It is the combination of areas of the current national park. Most of the park is covered with forest, with the balance a mixture of grassland, savannah and riverine forest. According to the records, there are 839 species of flora, including 173 vascular plant species comprising 140 dicots, 26 monocots, six fern and one gymnosperm species. The park provides excellent habitat for 642 faunal species. There are 125 species of fish, 23 reptile and amphibian species have been recorded so far. The park is also home to at least 53 mammals such as rhinoceros, wild elephant, Bengal tiger, swamp deer and Gangetic dolphin. According to the records, there are also 407 bird species living at the park. The best season to visit the Bardiya Park is from March to June. The temperatures are highest during that period and it is the best time of year to see animals. Especially tigers come out to the waterholes. It is recommended for travellers to come prepared and stay hydrated because from March to July, it is very hot in Bardia.

Getting There

There are buses available from Pokhara and Kathmandu directly to Bardia National Park or to Nepalgunj which is another couple hours by bus from the entrance of the Park. The journey from Pokhara usually takes 12 hours and the journey from Kathmandu usually takes around 17 hours. There are also buses from Nepalgunj and other surrounding cities going to Ambassa which is located 16 km away from the entrance of the park. However, any hotel can provide shuttle service for free.  It is also possible to fly to Nepalgunj and then follow the instructions. In addition, hiring a private taxi from Nepalgunj to the entrance of the park is an option.

Top Sights and Activities

Elephant Breeding Centre

Elephant Breeding Centre is located at the south of the park headquarters. The best time to visit the center is during the morning and afternoon when the elephants have returned from grazing in the park which lasts from 10 am to 4 pm. The mothers and calves are occasionally visited by free-ranging wild males. If this happens during any visit, visitors should keep well clear of the male and exercise caution. The entrance fee is Rs 50. Opening hours: Dawn – Dusk.

Tharu Cultural Museum

Tharu Cultural Museum is located near the park headquarters and this museum explores the customs and rituals of the Tharu people. For the ones who paid for admission to the Crocodile Breeding Centre, the admission free to the museum is waived. It is also possible to arrange cultural tours of the villages through most hotels. The admission fee to the museum is Rs 50. Opening hours: Noon – 3 pm, Tuesday – Saturday.

Crocodile Breeding Centre and Rhino Centre

Crocodile Breeding Centre and Rhino Centre is also located in the park’s headquarters. It is a small breeding center for marsh mugger and gharial crocodiles, as well as turtles. It is possible to get up close and personal with the reptiles. Nearby, there is also an enclosure containing Shivaram, a rhino who was injured as a baby in Chitwan. For the ones who have a park permit, the admission fee to visit the animal exhibits is waived. The admission fee is Rs 125. Opening hours: Dawn – Dusk, Sunday – Friday.

Jungle Walks/Trekking

It is possible between half day, full day, two/three day, one week or private jungle treks. It is possible to go in a group or alone (with a guide).  With half day tours, it is only possible to see the jungle, Rhesus monkeys and a few birds. Full day tours will have a greater chance at seeing a rhino, wild elephants, birds, other wildlife and a tiger. Overnight tours that go deeper into the jungle have very good chances seeing a rhino and a good chance at seeing a tiger.

Jeep Jungle Tours

Jeep tours are offered for those who want to go deep into the jungle quickly. The chances of seeing a tiger is greater. They are often mixed with day trek excursions and packages.

River Boating and Fishing

Big resorts offer river expeditions, while smaller resorts can organize the same when it is booked. Rafting/boating takes place on the Geruwa River where it is likely to see crocodiles, birdlife and a tiger or rhino. It is recommended to exercise extreme caution when on the water as crocodiles do inhabit the rivers and are deadly. Swimming is not recommended.

Where to Stay

Bardia Kingfisher Resort

It is located 500 meters away from Bardia National Park. Free Wi-Fi access is available in this resort. Rooms come with a patio, a seating area and a dining table. Guests can enjoy garden views from the rooms.  There is a 24 hour front desk, a garden and barbecue facilities at the property. Free private parking is available on site. The resort is located 85 km away from the Nepalgunj Airport and the Nepalgunj Bus Station. The restaurant at the resort serves a selection of local, Asian and continental dishes. Address: Thakurwara-6, Bardia National Park, Dhakela, Nepal.

Bardia Eco Lodge

Bardia Eco Lodge offers a restaurant and a terrace. It is located 500 meters away from Bardia National Park. Free Wi-Fi access is available at the property. Rooms come with a seating area and private bathrooms come with a shower. Rooms overlook the garden. An array of activities such as elephant safaris, jungle walks, jeep safaris, village walks, birdwatching, river rafting, trekking and fishing can be enjoyed at the property. Address: Thakurwara-6, Bardia National Park, Nepal.

Bardia Jungle Cottage

Bardia Jungle Cottage is located 300 meters away from Bardia National Park. Free Wi-Fi access is available in this resort. Rooms come with a patio and a seating area. Private bathrooms come with a shower. There is a 24 hour front desk, a garden and barbecue facilities at the property. The property offers free parking. Address: Thakurwara-6, Bardia National Park, Nepal.

Nepal Wildlife Resort

The resort is located a 10 minute walk away from Bardia National Park. Free Wi-Fi access is available in this resort. Rooms come with a balcony and a seating area. Guests can enjoy garden views from the rooms. Extras include a desk and a fan. There is a 24 hour front desk, a garden and barbecue facilities at the property. The property offers free parking. It is located 70 km away from Nepalgunj Airport. Address: Thakurwara-6, Bardia National Park, Nepal

Bardia Adventure Resort

The resort offers a restaurant that serves local, Indian and continental delights. Free Wi-Fi access is available in this resort. Rooms come with a fan, a private bathroom with a shower and garden view. There is a 24 hour front desk, a terrace and a bar at the property. The property offers free parking. Address: Thakurwara-5, Bardia National Park, Nepal

Forest Hideaway Hotel and Cottages

This resort features free Wi-Fi access and offers pet-friendly accommodation in Bhurkia. The resort has a barbecue and views of the garden, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Some rooms come with a seating area. All rooms include a private bathroom equipped with a shower. There is a ticket service at the property. The resort offers bike hire and car hire. Address: Bardia National Park, Bhurkia, Nepal