Chitwan is about 150km from Kathmandu city, which is very good destination for the tourist. Chitwan is in the middle of the Terrai, a vast, flat and fertile area that borders India and stretches right across Southern Nepal. Our projects are based around the small city of Narayangadh. Volunteers live with Nepali families in villages around Narayangadh and usually travel into the town to socialize with each other on weekends, eat western food and use facilities such as the internet which are unavailable in the home stay villages. Your placement can be in a school, hospital, Community forest, Community Adult Education and some type of social work.
People in the Chitwan region are primarily Tharu although the area is much more multi cultural than most of Nepal as people continue to migrate to the area from all over the country. The Tharu traditional dance and songs are performed in resorts and lodge entertainment. The Tharu people are known for their farming skills, industrious nature and intelligence. Although they have a low income, the Tharu are mostly self sufficient due to their farming abilities.
Chitwan’s National Park is the main attraction in the region. This park is regarded as the best national park of Nepal, and is also the most developed one. Elephant Breeding Centre, Crocodile Farm are two other must see locations in the park.
Main activities in Chitwan include Jungle Safari, Bird Watching and Boat Tour. Jungle Safari is the most popular one. You will journey into the deep forest riding on elephant back, you will witness the preserved natural assets of Nepal, birds, flora and fauna. World’s one of the most endangered species, Bengal Tigers are found abundant in Nepal, many in Chitwan national park. If it’s your day, you might see them too. The other major animal you will see is the one-horned rhinos whose famous place to live on earth is none other than Nepal. The park is also famous for bird watching, and boat tours. A walk to nearby villages is also a recommended thing to do.
General Chitwan Information
Volunteers in the Chitwan area either home stay with traditional Nepali families or have their own room in their orphanage. The accommodation is typically Nepali and basic by Western standards, often with traditional Nepali toilets and showers and in many places electricity supply can be erratic.
Due to the numbers of volunteers that have worked in Chitwan most of the families have lots of experience looking after volunteers and our volunteers will be very well looked after. Nepali people are extremely welcoming and you will treated like a member of their family. During your time in the house you will be encouraged to participate in activities around the home such as cooking, washing and generally caring for the house and family as if you where a member of the family. We believe this is best way to experience real Nepali life.
The Terrai is the lowest and therefore usually warmest part of Nepal, although like the rest of Nepal it has 2 main seasons, the dry season from October to May and the wet/monsoon season from June to September. The Terrai can get very hot especially between April and July when temperatures can rise above 35 degrees.
The staple food for people in Nepal is “Dal Bhat” which most families will eat at least once a day and consists of rice (Bhat), lentil soup (dal) and vegetables in curry (Tarkari) and/or meat (Masu) and a small amount of pickle /sauce (Achar). This usually eaten without cutlery the right hand which can be extremely messy for those not used to it. Many younger Nepali’s have started using cutlery though and this is also perfectly acceptable for volunteers if they don’t like covering their hands (and possibly arms, clothes and faces) in curry. Other foods in the Terrai region tend to be very Indian influenced and based around potatoes, rice and curries. Volunteers usually eat with there home stay families during the week but travel into surrounding towns for more continental food on weekends.
The main attractions in the area is Chitwan National Park, a wildlife reserve for rhinos, elephants, tigers and 50 other species of animals, and over 400 types of birds. Volunteers can enjoy elephant safari, canoeing, animal watching, animal breeding projects, animal rehabilitation centers, cycling, and 4WD safaris here.