Sauraha is a town on the border of the Chitwan National Park.
Sauraha, Chitwan District, lies just across the Rapti River from Chitwan National Park. It is the eastern gateway to the park. The town provides tourism services including jungle safaris and primarily caters to tourists. Beginning literally as small and very quaint Tharu village of mud and daub huts and houses, with a half dozen mud and daub hotels, it has grown, for good or ill, into a small town full of Western-style hotels/resorts, restaurants, Internet cafes, and gift shops.
In addition to good road access, Sauraha has good air connections through Bharatpur airport (Nepali: भरतपुर विमानस्थल) (BHR IATA) with regular daily air services from Pokhara and Kathmandu, making it the main tourist gateway to Chitwan National Park. It is located in the Chitwan district of Narayani zone, about 1.6 km southwest of Bharatpur and 15km west of Sauraha. You will need to change to bus, jeep or taxi for connection to Sauraha.
The Sauraha bus stand is located 1 km (0.62 mi) east from the main tourist road in Sauraha. When you get off the bus, you will be swarmed by touts waving pamphlets and offering to drive you into town. Ignore them or say you have a reservation and they will be respectful. It is a 15-minute walk into town. Backtrack on the dirt road the bus drove in on, take your first right, then follow the lodge signs into Sauraha.
There are several types of buses available from Kathmandu: Cheap Birganj-bound buses which will drop you at Tadi Bazaar about 6 km north of Sunauli where you can easily get local bus, taxi, rickshaws, tanga/pony carts. A bicycle rickshaw can take about 45 minutes and costs Rs. 120.
Several companies operate buses that go directly from the tourist bus park on Swayambhu Marg north of Thamel in Kathmandu to the bus park in Sauraha (Rs. 800 through an agency, Rs. 600 if you buy directly from the driver). Most buses board at 6:30 and depart between 6:45 and 7:00 in the morning; however, during busy season an afternoon bus leaves at 1PM - ask an agency to confirm it is running.
All buses travel via Mugling, Narayangarh/Bharatpur, Tadi Bazaar, Sauraha take around 5 to 6 hrs.
- Rare one-horned Rhino in Chitwan National Park (and many more wild animals)
- 1 Chitwan Hatisar Elephant Breeding Center. A tiny museum about elephants in Nepal and stalls for about 10 female elephants with their young ones, which are chained and don't look too happy. The government is breeding elephants for the national park as worker elefants and for the army checkposts inside the park.
- Tharu Cultural Museum.
- Seraichuli. the Chepang Hill Trek
- Devghat. a Hindu religious destination
- Bishajari Tal (20,000 Lakes). This lake chain is made up of many small lakes spreading and covering huge area of national park. The name however, doesn't derive from the number of lakes, but from the fact that the lakes are about 20,000 ft (6,100 m) from the highway - a slight disappointment. You can do a bicycle tour to the lakes, which is quite nice as you see the nature and observe many birds, crocodiles and quite often see a rhino.
- International Elephant Race (December)
- World Elephant Polo Competition
Jungle and wildlife safaris by foot, jeep and elephant. You may see the great one horned rhinoceros (there are hundreds of them in Chitwan). Also many types of deer, monkeys, crocodiles, pythons, and rarely, Sher Khan, the great Indian Tiger.
Bird watching in and around the jungle. Especially Bishajar Tal (20,000 lakes) wetlands area approximately 10 km northwest of Sauraha.
There are a dozen or more gift shops around the main bazaar area. Tharu wares like dhokiya-woven colourful baskets are made locally from rice straw.
- Hamro Restaurant. Typical Nepali food (Dal Bhat).
- Madipure's Restaurant. Typical Nepali food (Dal Bhat).
- Samjhana Restaurant. Typical Nepali food (Dal Bhat).
- Hotel Park Side Terrace Restaurant.
- Hungry Eye.
- Jungle Pub.
- Jungle View Restaurant.
- KC's Restaurant.
- Park View Restaurant (Opposite the visitors centre at the end of Sauraha). It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the chef, Chitra, was trained in one of the resorts. The prices are much lower than in the resorts. You might have to wait a while until it's done. Arrak or beer available. Chicken steak sizzler, chicken burger, or lasagna.
- Sweet Memory, Sauraha (Halfway through the town opposite the big field). 07:00-22:00. Small family-run restaurant, decorated in local style, with lots of surprises on the menu. Best coffee in town.
- Jungle Pub The original bar on the beach, and the ideal place to watch the sun go down over the jungle. It's also the hang-out of the custom motorcycle riders from Kathmandu and Pokhara when they're in town, so you might see some interesting Royal Enfield bikes.
- 1 Chilax House, Sauraha, Bachhauli VDC, Ward Number 2 (Two minute walk from park ticket counter and Two minute walk from rhino statue chowk), ☏ , , email@example.com. Check-in: 7AM to 8PM, check-out: 7AM to noon. Special package for Chitwan National Park, 15-minute walk from Sauraha bus park. Provide free wi-fi and has 4 common rooms and 5 toilet attached rooms (hot water supplied. Encompasses a organic vegetable and fruit garden, a self cooking facility restaurant cum kitchen. Provides all jungle activities including nature walks, elephant jungle safari, Jeep jungle safari, tharu cultural dance programmes, village tours, jungle excursions, canoe ride, and other wildlife related and cultural activities. US$3-$10.
- Chitwan Gaida Lodge (Next to the entrance gate of Chitwan National Park), ☏ , , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 9AM. For budget travellers and backpackers. Owned and managed by an ornithologist from South Asia. NPR600-2,500.
- Gaida Wildlife Camp, ☏ , , , email@example.com.
- Hotel River Side, Sauraha, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Several activities are possible from there like elephant safaris, bird watching, cultural tours. Rs 2500 for one night and two days.
- Hotel River Sunset (On the main road in Sauraha), ☏ , email@example.com. Nice, clean rooms with many amenities. Subas, the owner, is a very kind and helpful man.
- Jungle Sunset Camp, sauraha, ☏ , . On the banks of Rapti River, facing Chitwan National Park.
- Jungle Wildlife Camp, Chitwan, ☏ . Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 11:00. On the banks of the Rapti River opposite the national park. Peaceful with sunset views. Budget and luxury rooms, all with view onto the park. Colourful and easygoing Dutch and Nepali management. NR 2,000.
- Chitwan Jungle Lodge (In the heart of the Chitwan National Park), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Old-fashioned lodge provides its customers various activities such as bird watching, canoeing, nature walk, elephant briefing, swimming and elephant bathing, an observation tower, jungle drives, slide shows, etc.
- Rhino Lodge & Hotel, Gaida Chowk - Sauraha, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Located on the banks of the Rapti river. Each room has its own balcony with views across the river, to the jungle and over the hills beyond.
- Sapana Village Lodge, Chitwan (Sauraha), ☏ .
- Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, ☏ . Pioneers of environmentally responsible and sustainable conservation tourism, set the standards for the finest wildlife experience in Chitwan. All are located either in the deep jungle or the buffer zone of the park and have the best-trained elephants and wildlife naturalists to take you on superb safaris.