After Pokhara, we headed to Chitwan National Park – one of the most popular (non-trekking) tourist destinations in Nepal.
The bus from Pokhara was an interesting one as it was te eighth day of Dahsain festival, which is the day that buffalos or goats are sacrificed. We witnessed every step of the sacrifice from the window on the bus along the side of the road.
The bus was also interesting in a very horrible way as my DSLR camera and $100 were stolen. I am partially to blame as I left it on the bus with my bag, which is dumb, but it was a tourist bus and I left it for less than 5 minutes, but alas, someone awful stole it. I hope they break their fingers and cannot use it, and that karma gets them with a serious vengeance.
That obviously put a big damper on the rest of our trip, so when we arrived in Chitwan I was quite upset. But I held it together and enjoyed myself (though silently resenting people around me who had amazing cameras to photograph the animals with).
We were joined at the hotel by 5 friends/colleagues of mine which made the trip much more enjoyable. We stayed at a high-end resort called Royal Park Hotel and all the activities were included as well as food.
The first evening our activity was an ox-ride through town, followed by a cultural show of Tahru people dancing with sticks. At the end of the show we were invited to join in the dancing so one of my colleagues, Nafisa, and I joined in the circle.
The following day we went on a canoe trip to watch birds around the river, then headed to the elephant breeding centre, the museum on elephants, then the best part of the trip – bathed with the elephants, followed by free time in which we shopped, and then an elephant ride through the jungle.
View during the canoe ride
Dan and I getting ‘bathed’ by the elephant…
Second bath with two of the girls
Heading out on the elephant for a ride through the jungle
Elephants were given tikkas for Dashain
That night we heard rumors that there was a rhino that we could see in the jungle, so we got one of the guides to take us. We saw two together, cooling off under the water. We weren’t able to see their faces, though, and our disappointment was apparent to the guide. He offered to take us in the morning to look again.
Two rhinos cooling off in the river
The next morning, tagging along with a group of Dutch tourists going bird watching, we saw a rhino in the wild, moving about very slowly and eating.
Rhino eating in the wild. Picture taken by Nafisa.
Aside from getting my camera stolen, the trip was incredibly awesome, nearly perfect, I’d say.