We woke up at 5:45 this morning to catch the bus that would take us to Chitwan National Park and our lodge, the Island Jungle Resort. We’d not yet taken a bus in Nepal, so trying to learn the system was a little interesting.
All the buses bound for everywhere line up on a street (near our hotel it turned out) and you basically wander the line trying to find your specific bus. It actually wasn’t hard, and by the anointed time of 6:30 we’d found the right bus and were seated. Boarding call was at 6:30 but the bus didn’t leave till 7:10, giving us plenty of time to get assailed by street vendors.
We stopped along the way for a quick break. Anne and I were both cold at this point, having dressed for jungle temperatures that hadn’t yet appeared so we were happy to grab some hit milk tea and snack on some hot French fries.
At around noon, we finally arrived at our first stop, the Island Jungle Resort in Bharatpur Heights. Still well over an hour from the jungle, we grabbed yet another set of milk tea and lunch. Here, the temperatures were warm and we soaked up the sun while we waited for the next bus that would take us to the Island lodge.
Anxious, we were shuttled onto the bus around 1:30 and slowly made our way to the park, passing through flatlands that make up a rich farmland backed by the sentinel hills from whence we had come. Given the proximity to India, the area certainly has a different feel than the Kathmandu valley and the Khumbu. The clothing is brighter and you could probably mistake yourself for being in India if you weren’t paying attention.
After turning off the main road, we traveled along a small dirt road with what appeared to be mud houses. All the children along the way waved as we passes and we waved back. This carried on for another 20 minutes or so until we finally reached the river bank and saw our boat coming to get us. We made the (thankfully) uneventful crossing and started to the lodge only to be blocked by an elephant on the trail. While it was one that belonged to the lodge, they can still be unpredictable so we turned around and found another route.
Finally, we were at the lodge and ready to start our jungle adventure!