Tips to Travel Chitwan on a Budget

Chitwan on a Budget: A Family Travel Guide

For travelers and families seeking an unforgettable adventure without breaking the bank, Chitwan offers a lot of budget-friendly travel opportunities. When it comes to how much would a vacation in Chitwan cost, a single traveler can get by on USD 150 for a three day two night stay. This would include a few activities, lodging, food and transportation. Of course, if you have a smaller budget for traveling Chitwan it is still possible to enjoy your time in the National Park!

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to plan to travel Chitwan on a budget!

How to travel Chitwan on a Budget:

Chitwan, with its rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, offers an ideal setting for an affordable family getaway. These tips will help you navigate the intricacies of planning a trip to Chitwan, ensuring that your family’s exploration is also filled with incredible experiences.

1. Setting a Budget

The first step in planning your budget family trip to Chitwan is to set a clear budget. Determine how much you can comfortably spend on accommodation, activities, food, and transportation. Being clear about your budget will help you make informed decisions and avoid overspending.

2. Choosing the Right Time to Visit

Chitwan’s climate varies throughout the year. The best time for family budget travelers to visit is during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these months, the weather is pleasant, and you can avoid peak tourist rates.

3. Duration of the Trip

Plan your trip duration carefully. A 3 to 5-day visit to Chitwan is generally enough to experience the main attractions. Staying longer may lead to unnecessary expenses, so optimize your itinerary to make the most of your time. A great way to do this is by working with your resort to include tour packages and experiences. You can usually work out a deal to get one package that includes your jungle safaris or cultural tours and your hotel stay.

Booking Affordable Accommodation:

Nana Jungle Resort Chalet in Chitwan
Nana Jungle Resort’s Chalet

Depending on what you are looking for, you can find luxury 5-star resorts, all the way down to cheap budget hotels. Just remember, you get what you pay for. If you need some diverse ideas on where to stay, check out our best resorts in Chitwan round-up.

a. Budget-Friendly Hotels and Guesthouses

Chitwan has plenty of hotels and guesthouses that are specifically designed to cater to budget-conscious travelers. However, it can be difficult to know how to choose a resort while visiting the Park. Look for an establishments that strikes a balance between comfort and affordability, providing cozy rooms and essential amenities without straining your wallet.

To make the most of your budget, it’s advisable to check online reviews and make advance reservations to secure the best possible rates. This ensures a pleasant stay without exceeding your financial limits. Another way to get the best rate is by directly going to the hotels and negotiating the price. By doing this, you can get a significantly lower price. If you are looking for some budget friendly rooms for your family, check out Nana Jungle Resort’s accommodation options.

In general, the average budget for lower end hotels and guest houses ranges between 1000-2000 NPR/ night.

b. Homestays and Hostels

For travelers seeking a deeper connection with the local culture and a more immersive experience, opting for a homestay or hostel is an excellent choice. On the other hand, hostels offer a communal atmosphere, allowing you to meet fellow travelers and exchange stories and experiences. 

Both options not only save you money but also present a chance to foster meaningful connections and gain insights into the local community. Plus, the cost-effectiveness of homestays and hostels contributes to a more budget-friendly trip, making your Chitwan adventure both memorable and affordable. However, you should note that this option will significantly reduce the amenities that you have access to. It may also not be exactly what your family (children) are looking for in a vacation!

Tip for Booking a Budget Friendly Hotel:

When searching for a budget friendly accommodation option, your best option will be to contact the resort directly. Going through third-part providers can end up costing you more than what the hotel actually charges – especially if you are constantly checking as the prices will fluctuate.

By contacting the hotel directly, you will be able to take advantage of their discounts and deals they have. For example, during different parts of the year (like the off-season) Nana Jungle Resort has different deals and discounts running. However, the third-party booking websites don’t feature these.

Transportation Options

Air travel isn’t the sole means of reaching Chitwan. Alternative options like tourist buses, jeeps, or microbuses provide cost-effective transportation to Chitwan. When it comes to local transportation, you can use the following instead of flights.

a. Get a Tourist Bus or a Jeep

To save on transportation, take a tourist bus from Kathmandu to Chitwan. These buses are cost-effective and offer scenic views during the journey. Alternatively, you can opt for a local bus, micro or shared taxi if you would like a local experience. 

You can get a tourist bus for 1500 NPR/ person or a micro for 500-700 NPR/ person

b. Local Transportation Within Chitwan

Getting around Chitwan is easy and affordable. Rent bicycles, use local buses, or hire a rickshaw for short distances. These options are not only budget-friendly but also eco-friendly, allowing you to explore the area sustainably.

Budget Breakdown For Each Activity in Chitwan

Jeep Safari in Chitwan

Understanding the financial aspect of your Chitwan adventure is essential for a well-planned and budget-conscious trip. Whether you’re interested in wildlife safaris, Tharu cultural experiences, or outdoor adventures, we have a breakdown of the expenses. This well you make informed choices, get the most value out of your money while you enjoy the various activities in Chitwan.

a. National Parks and Wildlife Reserves

A visit to Chitwan would be incomplete without exploring Chitwan National Park. While there are entrance fees for tourists (2000 NPR per person per day), these are relatively low compared to other wildlife destinations. To maximize your budget, consider a jungle walk or birdwatching tour, which are more economical than elephant safaris.

b. Jungle Walks

In Chitwan, planning your jungle trekking adventure offers a range of options to suit diverse preferences and budgets. You can choose from half-day or full-day treks for a shorter exploration, two or three-day treks for a deeper wilderness experience, or even embark on an immersive one-week adventure. 

Prices typically start at approximately $14 USD for half-day tours and $20 USD for full-day jungle walk experiences, based on a group of four. It is important to note that the cost may or may not include meals, with many guest houses and hotels providing packed lunches or dinners. 

Additionally, solo travelers should note that prices may double, but with a little research and shopping around, budget-friendly rates can be found. Whether you prefer group or solo trekking, Chitwan’s jungle awaits you with a variety of exciting options.

c. Jeep Tours

Jeep tours provide an excellent option for individuals seeking a swift and immersive journey deep into Chitwan’s jungle. These expeditions are frequently bundled with day excursions and comprehensive packages. 

Typically, the cost for a full day of Jeep touring, which includes accommodation and meals, hovers around USD $180. For a more cost-effective option, consider the 2/3-day jungle safari package tours that often offer better value. 

It’s noteworthy, however, that these rates are primarily available when booking in person in Chitwan, as online prices tend to be notably higher. Don’t worry though, Nana Jungle Resort will always present you with the best price no matter if in person, or online!

d. Elephant Breeding Center

The Elephant Breeding Center is accessible on foot from Sauraha, though the walking time may vary depending on the weather conditions and heat, usually taking about an hour. For those seeking convenience, tours or rickshaw transport are readily available for part of the journey. 

Entrance fees are 60 NPR for foreigners, 25 NPR for SAARC nationals, and 10 NPR for Nepali citizens. The center typically operates from 6 am to 6 pm, although it typically begins winding down around 5 pm. Notably, there’s a newly constructed suspension bridge that facilitates access to the center, situated just before reaching the breeding center, making the journey more accessible.

e. Canoeing 

Numerous agencies in the vicinity provide options for canoe rentals or half-day canoe excursions along the scenic Rapti River. Package tours frequently encompass approximately 1-2 hours of canoeing, followed by a half-day jungle trek as a component of the comprehensive full-day jungle trek experience. 

The costs for these canoeing adventures often parallel those of trekking tours, ranging from around 1400 NPR for a half-day outing to 1800 NPR for a full-day expedition.

f. Tharu Village Tours and Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in the local Tharu culture by taking village tours and participating in cultural experiences. These activities are not only affordable but also provide a deeper understanding of the region’s traditions and way of life.

Budget-Friendly Dining Options

Breakfast at Nana Jungle Resort in Chitwan
Food at Nana Jungle Resort

When it comes to dining in Chitwan without straining your budget, the region offers a variety of pocket-friendly choices that not only teases your taste buds but also immerses you in the local culinary scene:

a. Local Eateries and Street Food

Local food joints offer an authentic culinary experience, showcasing the rich and diverse flavors of Nepali cuisine. Exploring the street food scene is not only an adventure for your taste buds but also a budget-friendly option, allowing you to savor a range of delectable dishes without burning a hole in your pocket.

b. Dining in at Your Accommodation

If your chosen accommodation provides in-house dining options, make the most of this convenience. In-house dining often offers a range of dishes at reasonable prices. Enjoying meals within your accommodation can be both convenient and cost-effective, especially after a day of exploring Chitwan’s attractions.

c. Picnicking in Natural Settings

Chitwan’s breathtaking natural landscapes present an inviting opportunity for a delightful picnic. Pack some picnic lunches and head out to explore the beauty of the region. Whether it’s a scenic spot near a riverbank or a tranquil clearing amidst the lush jungle, picnicking in these natural settings is a budget-friendly way to relish a meal. 

d. Trying Traditional Nepali Dishes on a Budget

Discover the heart and soul of Nepali cuisine by indulging in traditional dishes such as dal bhat and momo at local restaurants. These dishes are not only beloved by locals but also budget-friendly and remarkably satisfying. Try these iconic Nepali flavors provides an authentic culinary experience while ensuring that your gastronomic adventure stays well within your budget.

Managing Daily Expenses

Some additional ways to manage your daily expenses while traveling in Chitwan:

a. Bargaining and Haggling

Engaging in bargaining and haggling is a cultural norm in Chitwan, especially in local markets and when dealing with various services. Polite negotiation is not only acceptable but encouraged. 

By adopting a respectful and friendly approach to negotiation, you can often secure better deals on souvenirs, guided tours, or other activities, ensuring that you get the most value for your money.

b. Money-Saving Travel Hacks

  • Exploring Chitwan on a budget necessitates some clever money-saving strategies. One effective approach is to book activities in advance or opt for combo tickets that bundle multiple attractions or experiences together at a discounted rate. 
  • Additionally, many attractions offer reduced prices for children, making family travel more cost-effective. Implementing these travel hacks allows you to economize without compromising on the breadth and richness of your experiences.
  • If you are a good planner on you know exactly what you want to do, one way to save additional money is to experience Chitwan without a tour package. Instead of booking a tour package with a tour operator, or with your hotel, you can pay for all of your activities by yourself. This option is a great way to see Chitwan on a budget. However, it will take considerably more planning, and a savvy traveler to ensure they know how to get around everywhere, and that they get the best prices available!

Key Takeaways: Chitwan on a Budget

Chitwan in Nepal can be a budget destination if you know how to plan right, and stay away from the luxury side of the area. It is possible for a single traveler to visit Chitwan for three days and on a budget of around USD 100. However, this would mean foregoing some of the more intense experiences, and limiting your options significantly. A better budget would be from $150-$200 – which would give you access to almost everything you could want, with plenty of money left over to do some shopping as well!

Chitwan awaits you and your family with open arms, promising not only a remarkable wildlife experience but also the joy of exploring it on a budget. By following the tips and suggestions in this guide, you will be able to make the most of your journey without overspending. From affordable accommodation and budget-friendly dining to cost-effective activities and travel hacks, your adventure in Chitwan can be both thrifty and unforgettable.

If you need any help with planning a trip in Chitwan, or have questions about prices and rates, you can contact us and we would be happy to assist you in anyway possible!

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