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yakshaver
23rd October 2007, 08:40 PM
Ladies & Gents,

I've been to Chitwan 5 times and I am thinking of going to Bardia this time, especially after Suginami's account of his experiences there, both enthusiastic and frightening!

Suginami has recommended Tiger Mountain, which is part of Tiger Tops, but with a couple of students in tow, I think at 170 per person per night, not counting VAT and Serivce charge, plust a host of other things, this is out. If I were by myself or just with my family I would definitely go there... Maybe another time.

So I am asking about Bardia Jungle Cottage, part of Shakti Travels and Tours. Has anyone staid there or heard of them? If so what is it all about?

Bellow I attach their reply to my enquiry. Receive my anticipated thanks.

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Dear....

Thank you very much for your e-mail of Oct 20,20075 regarding Bardia tour.We would be happy
to arrange your tour to bardia and in this connection please rest assured of our
proffessional services.We give below,as requested information and program.

Access:

By Air: If you choose to fly, there is a daily flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, which is
the nearest airport from the Royal Bardia National Park .After flying for about an hour from
Kathmandu, you will be received by our
naturalist at the Nepalgunj Airport. From the airport you will be taken to
Bardia Jungle Cottage by Jeep.

By Road: You can reserve a private transport and reach till the lodge or alternatively take
overnight or day buses plying on the route of Dhangadi, Mahendranagar or Karnali. Drop at
Ambassa ( the gate way of Royal Bardia National Park), which takes 15 hrs. from Kathmandu,
11hrs. from Pokhara and
Chitwan.You will greeted by our naturalist at Ambassa stop who will take you
to Bardia Jungle Cottage by Jeep.Please see below itinerary and cost.

3 Night / 4 Days - Itinerary

Day-1
On Your arrival at Nepalgunj Airport or Ambasa Stand, our staff will receive
you. You will then be transferred to Bardia Jungle Cottage where you will be
offered refreshment & be given a briefing on our lodge & its facilities.
After being given your programmes for the day, your room will then be
allocated to you.

15.00 - Village tour to a nearby ethnic Tharu village where you will learn
more about the life and lifestyle of the Tharus.
20.00 - Dinner

Day-2
06.00 - Wake up call
06.30 - Breakfast.
07.30 - Elephant Safari. An excellent opportunity to see Asian Elephant,
Great One Horn Rhinoceros, Spotted Deer or Chital, Hog Deer, Barking Deer,
Samber, Swamp Deer or Barasingha, Nilgai or Bull, Black Buck, Wild Boar,
Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Golden Jackal, Striped Hyena. You
will also encounter many other smaller mammals that have made Bardia their
home.
13.00 - Lunch.
15.00 - Jungle walk. An excellent opportunity to see the wild animals, small
mammals, birds and waits in the Tower (Machan) to have the wild sightseeing,
accompanied by our experienced naturalists and wild life tracker. Excellent
photographic opportunities are plentiful.
19.00 - Tharu cultural dance.
20.00 - Dinner

Day-3
06.00 - Wake up call
06.30 - Breakfast.
07.00 - Bird watching. An excellent opportunity to see a great many species
of birds found in Bardia.
13.00 - Lunch
14.00 - Canoe rade An excellent opportunity to see wild animals and you will also encounter
many other smaller mammals that have made Bardia their home.
20.00 - Dinner

Day-4
06.00 - Wake up call
06.30 - Breakfast.
07.00 - Visit to crocodile breeding center.
12.30 - Lunch
13.30 - Departure .

Cost: US$ 140.00 per person and price include twin shring

Cost includes:

Accommodation with full board(breakfast,lunch and dinner),
wild life activities program,Elephant Ride, Canoe Ride,Jungle Walk,Tharu Village Tour, Tharu
Stick Dance, Bird watching & 10% VAT.etc.

Cost does not includes:

-Airfare Kathmandu/Nepalgunj/Kathmandu @ US$ 250.
-Pick up and drop ( US$ 25 one way per person for minimum 2 person - from
airport to cottage it takes about two and half hours by jeep)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Any comments?

Weka
24th October 2007, 05:08 AM
Yak. I was in Bardia in April and spent 10 gloriously restful days there.

Re accomodation, there are several "lodges" clumped together just outside of the park and about 15 min stroll from the park entrance. There are a couple more in the other direction on the banks of the river. All are more or less equidistant from the village.

If I were you, I would not book (I never book - ever). I simply showed up and from what I could see at that stage, the tourist population reached about 10.

I flew in to Nepalgunj and took a taxi to the village - $125 for the flight, RS 2000 for a 1.5-2 hour taxi ride. I left Kathmandu after breakfast and had lunch in my hut at Bardia. But be warned. The bus trip is the trip from hell. I took a bus back to Pokhara and it nearly did me in.

I stayed at a lodge called something like the "Forest Hideaway" but they all seamed much of a muchness - ie, very basic. I had an interesting selection of nocturnal fauna in my hut but the room came with a fan and a net. Bardia is much more down-home than Chitwan.

I would probably stay in one of the lodges beside the river bank if I was to go again (which I hope to), simply for variety and proximity to water. There is an elephant breeding center about 20 min walk from the park entrance which I visited on a number of occasions.
So, I cant answer your question exactly, but I find by just "showing up" I tend to keep the prices reasonably low allowing me to tip where the dosh is really needed.
Go. You'll love it but don't expect Chitwan.

Suginami
24th October 2007, 07:24 AM
Its very good to get recent info on Bardia as I was there some years ago. At that time only Tiger Tops had a camp right in the forest which allows for the boat trip.

Certainly the bus is only for those on an endless year long journey. You could get a car and a driver to do the trip which would be long but you would see much more and could stop anywhere you like. Its is far.

As far as the walking goes. I just hope you are with excellent trackers. If you are taken anywhere near elephant grass where tigers hide incredibly well then good luck to you. I would never. THis is different to Chitwan and has more tigers. It also has less understorey so in many places visability is very good but perhaps not as attractive as Chitwan.

But in the elephant grass area please don't walk about unless you are really into white knuckle experiences.

I like the intinerary but you have far more chance to see tigers from elephant back. We saw tigers from the boat and driving back from the end of the boat trip as one crossed the road in the night.

The machan is also a place to stay at night and you can use a spotlight to see game.

Leopard is also present.

Weka
24th October 2007, 08:44 AM
that time only Tiger Tops had a camp right in the forest which allows for the boat trip.

The Forest Hideaway also offers a rafting trip from the "Dutch" bridge to the elephant breading center. It takes all day and if you are OK with finding Maoist corpses floating in the river, it's to be recommended.

I think the number of tigers in the park has dwindled in recent years. A biologist I met from Kathmandu Uni was counting them using infrared cameras but had yet to encounter one in daylight whereas a Dutch couple I met saw two on the same day. Heaps of Rhino, even a pet blind one at the Army base just inside the park.
Great critters!

Suginami
24th October 2007, 04:22 PM
What a pity about the tiger numbers. Did you walk as far as the Churia hills? Inskipp mentions them in her book.

The other place to try would be Suklaphanta but I was never able to get a reply from them

Escher
24th October 2007, 07:14 PM
What are the views like from the flight to Nepalgunj? I always encourage everyone to fly in Nepal because some of the views I have seen just make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Yakshaver, perhaps you could use the lure of fantastic mountain views to encourage your friends to stump up for the flight. For me a few 100 bucks for a flight so good is worth the money on its own.

You got choppered out of Humde didn't you? The views we had when I did the same in Oct 2004 of Manalsu were absolutely sensational and worth the cost just for that.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/32/44396964_7f817b8bbd_o.jpg

yakshaver
24th October 2007, 07:37 PM
Thanks for all the info guys, good stuff. I have found some info about the Forrest Hideaway. Tiger Mountain has reduced the prices to 140 USD plus service tax plus VAT pppn.

Thanks for the "marketing" tip Escher. I hope it works, I will definitely use it. Just as well that I will get them to agree on the Nepalgunj flight before they have a chance to fly to/from Lukla... Else what more could they see??

Beautiful pic!!! What is it?

Escher
24th October 2007, 07:50 PM
Actually I think the flight to Pokhara or into Jomsom is more sensational than the flight to Lukla. I've seen more on those flights than into Lukla (except once when I saw the Lhotse/Nuptse wall through the cockpit which was pretty amazing). A lot of the mountains are front on as you head towards Lukla so are harder to see. Whereas on towards Pokhara on a clear day you see the Langtang, Ganesh, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himal side on. So assuming the Nepalgunj flight doesn't go too far south too early it should be pretty stunning. Get them sat on the right side of the plane and they will soon forget about the money they've spent!

That picture is of Manaslu from the helicopter out of Humde. My scanner is a bit poor so the detail can't really be seen but the original slide is pretty nice.

Weka
24th October 2007, 10:40 PM
Hi all. The flight to Nepaljung does, of course, follow the hills all the way - but at a "distance". Should the airline have taken upon itself to chip the barnacles off the windows, I'm sure the view would have afforded great photo opportunities. Still, it was like walking past one of those mountain panoramas in slow motion and a good mountain man would have been able to pick them off one by one. Takes an hour - no drinks are served!

Yak, as a reference, I payed RS350/ night for my hut at the Forest Hideaway. The guy who runs the place is a lovable rouge with an evil sense of humor. The staff are long-term and good. One drinks beer of an evening.

Suginami. At the time I was there, the army had a very high presence in the park - ostensibly to prevent poaching, but really to keep the Maoists at bay and leave a trail of rubbish behind them. This littering drives the forest guides nuts. They, the (army) probably do limit the poaching but also limit where you can go in the park. How far you get is determined by hours of daylight and, anyway, I wouldn't want to meet a patrol of pubescent nervous Nepali soldiers in the bush at night: you'd be either dead as a poacher, a Maoist, or a tiger :)

Suginami
25th October 2007, 08:37 AM
I remember just being scared on the flight to Nepalgunj and no mountain memories.

But how about flights to Biratnagar. You get lovely mountain views to the left as you leave KTM. You basically flight over a big ridge and then on down to Biratnagar where if you will see spectacular views of a massiver river estuary. It goes on for ever. All brown with wet bits and it goes on down into India. The river shifts violently from year to year wiping out entire sections, rebuilding other sections. Some years wild elephants cross easily into the area.

There is always an army presence and them check permits and things.

One generally walks along an abandoned railway line which is bordered on one side by a series of man made ponds used for fishing. Then a thick border of vegetation and then another long bank and then the river.

The birdwatching is superb.

I envy Weka's 10 days in Bardia. Like he says few people get there so I am not surprised that Tiger Tops dropped their prices. Especially if there are 3 people. I am sure I got discounts. Personally if I could get the price right I would go for the Raja style breakfasts on the lawn, the solitariness and the birds and animals. Go on Yakshaver. Splash out a bit. You can save money later in the year on trinkets. Put it on the credit card.

yakshaver
26th October 2007, 08:48 PM
I dunno, I flew into and out of Lukla three or four times... To/from Pokhara quite a few times, to Jomsom twice, and to Hongde twice. from Bharatpur once, as well as the helicopter once to Chame...

Going to Lukla from KTD, you have the mountains on your left and pretty close, and all around below you and on your right you've got the Nepali middle hills and villages. I still think this is the best flight in terms of veiws that I've seen. Of course, on the way back you've got the same amazing scenery but now the mountains are on the right. Not done the Everest flight (and not likely to do it either, just love the walking to much).

Suginami
28th October 2007, 08:17 AM
The Lukla flight is the best one for views although the Pokara Jomsom is enough to wet yourself. I had my eyes half closed. What I love is when you get out of the heli or the plane and you hit the thin cool mountain air and you can see soaring great mountains near by. I can start birding immediately as Guldenstadts Redstart is all over the place.