Nepal is a land of hundreds of diverse flora and fauna including endangered, rare, and vulnerable species. Nepal has three different geographical systems where different kinds of flora and fauna are available. Imagine tall mountains, sloppy valleys, lush green forests, and exotic flora and fauna are the best combination for travel enthusiasts. Nepal has a huge collection of wildlife on earth. Start from exotic Lophophorus to the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger and from endangered one-horned Rhino to mythical snow-leopard.
In Nepal, the National Park doesn’t only promote, conserve, and preserve wildlife but also does a great job in the preservation and protection of the whole nature inside it. That’s the reason why Nepal has covered the National parks from 70m altitude to 8,848m. Few of the National parks are even listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are currently 12 National Parks across the country, which directly helps to conserve and protect wildlife and nature as a whole.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the oldest national park in Nepal, which was established in 1973 and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. The total area of this national park is 952.63km. sq. This park is located in the inner Terai of the southern part of Nepal. The altitude range starts from 100m to 815m.
There are 68 species of mammals, 544 species of birds, 126 species of fish, and 56 species of herpeto-fauns are available in this park. The most delightful thing about this park is, it has endangered but beautiful one-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Gharial, and house elephant. Besides this, you can experience a hundred birds on the bank of the Rapti and Narayani rivers. This park also has the world’s tallest grass species. Diverse species of other fauna and flora like Bison, Wild Bear, vultures, and many more.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 140km
- Best time to visit: Oct-Dec and June-Sept
- Entry fee: Rs 1500+13%VAT for foreigners
Please, click here for the Chitwan National Park Tour Package.
Bardiya National Park
Established in 1988 with an area of 968 sq. km Bardiya National Park has the largest buffer zone with collaboration with Banke National Park's most undisturbed national park in Nepal which also lies in the southern part of Nepal in the Bardiya district. The altitude range starts from 152m to 1,441m.
About 70% of the park is covered with forest which consists, of grassland, savannah forest, and riverine forest. This park has 839 species of flora including vascular plants, dicots, monocots, and ferns. The wide range of vegetation forest is the habitat of 642 faunal species, 53 species of mammals, 125 species of fish, 23 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 407 species of birds have been recorded in this national park.
One-horned rhinoceros, Asiatic Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Swamp Deer, and Grey Money are the best of Bardiya National Park. The Babai, Bheri, and Karnali are the home to 125 species of fish. Jungle Safari, Elephant ride, Nature walk, Jungle trek, Rafting, and fishing are the major activities that can be done in Bardiya National Park. This area is rich in Tharu culture and tradition as well. You must visit the community once if you are traveling here.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 376km
- Best Time to visit: Sept-Dec and Feb-March
- Entry fee: Rs 1000+13%VAT for foreigners
Please, click here for the Bardiya National Park Tour Package.
Rara National Park
Rara National Park was established in 1976 and this is the smallest national park in Nepal. The park covers an area of 106sq.km. The altitude range starts from 2,800m to 4,039m. The part was established to protect and preserve the flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla districts. This is the largest lake in Nepal with an area of 10.8sq.km freshwater alpine lake.
Rara NP has 1020 species of flora including 51 species of mammals and 241 species of birds. The area is covered with blue pine, rhododendron, black juniper, oak, and Himalayan cypress. Beautiful mammals like musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, jackal, and leopard. Normally, Rara Lake doesn’t freeze, so you can jump, swim, and boat to the lake. Short treks and other adventurous activities can be done in this area.
- Distance from Kathmandu:375km
- Best time to visit: April to May and Sept to Nov
- Entry fee: Rs 3000+13%VAT for foreigners
Also Read: Rara Lake Trek
Shey-Phoksundo National Park
Shey-Phoksundo National Park is the largest national park in Nepal with an area of 3,555sq.km. This national park was established in 1984 in the district of Dolpa and Mugu. The altitude range starts from 2,130m to 6,885m. The Phoksundo Lake is a prominent feature of this national park. This national park is the only trans-Himalayan national park in Nepal.
The Phokdunso lake is surrounded by glaciers and this lake is famous for its magnificent turquoise color. The outlet of this lake makes Nepal’s highest waterfall. This park has 286 species of different plants, 200 species of birds, and 29 species of butterflies. Endangered animals like snow leopards, grey wolves, blue sheep, and musk deer are the major attractions of this national park. Caterpillar Fungus ( Yarsagumba) is abundantly found in this area and is one of the most expensive fungi in the world. Including lakes and wildlife, this region is famous for Tibetan Buddhism, culture, and history as well. Kanjiruwa Himal is another attraction of Shey-Phoksundo National Park. Trekking, mountain flights, pilgrim tour, and extreme Upper Dolpa Trekking can be done in this national park. Except for this, the Yarsagumba collection and animal and bird watching can be done with the help of a forest guide.
- Distance from Kathmandu:315km
- Best season to travel: April to Nov
- Entry fee: Rs 3,000+13%VAT for foreigners
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is one of the best and most famous national parks in Nepal It was established in 1976 and later in 1979, the park was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is spread over an area of 1,148sq.km and is dominated by the highest mountain in the World - Mt. Everest 8848m (Sagarmatha). The altitude range starts from 2,845m to 8,848m.
This park is the home of many endangered species like snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, and red panda. The park is covered with beautiful vegetation like rhododendron, juniper, pine, and firs. The most beautiful bird Lophophorous, (the national bird of Nepal) is another major attraction of this park. Everest Trekking and climbing is the most famous activity in this park. Recently, sky-diving is another exciting activity in this national park, where you will be thrown nearly from 28,000ft. This region is the major inhabitants of the sherpa people and they are the followers of Tibetian Buddhism.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 141km
- Best seasons to travel: Mar-May and Sept-Now
- Entry fee: Rs 3,000 for foreigners
Please, click here for the Everest Region Trekking packages.
Khaptad National Park
Another amazing national park that is high in both natural and spiritual ways. The Khaptad National Park was established in 1984 with an area of 225sq.km. The altitude range starts from 1,400m to 3,300m, which lies in the far west of the Bajura and Bahjang districts. The renewed Khaptad Baba Ashram is a religious site where Hindu pilgrims come to worship Shiva on the full moon day of July and August. Khaptad Baba moved to this part in the 1940s to meditate and become a renowned spiritual saint.
This park has played a great role in the protection of 567 species of flora Chir-pine rhododendron, Himalayan oak, and riverine forest. This part protects 23 species of mammals, 287 species of birds, 23 species of amphibians, and reptiles, which includes leopards, black bears, wild dogs, musk deer, and pleasant. Khaptad Trek, Jungle treks, bird watching, and jungle safari are the major activities including meditation in Khaptad Baba Ashram. A cultural tour can be done to explore the local culture and lifestyles.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 450km
- Best season to travel: March to May and Oct-December
- Entry fee: Rs 3,000+13%VAT
Makalu Barun National Park
The amazing National park in Nepal at the foothills of the Makalu range is the only protected park in the world with an elevation gain of more than 8,000m enclosing tropical forests as well as mountains. The park was established in 1992 in the eastern part of Sagarmatha National Park. The park is spread over an area of 1500sq.km in the Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha districts. This park covers several mountains including the fifth tallest mountain in the world, Makalu 8,463m.
Makalu Barun NP protects 88 species of mammals, 315 species of butterflies, 43 species of reptiles, 16 species of amphibians, 440 species of birds, and 78 species of fish. Clouded leopards, snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan wolves, black bears, and golden jackals are the most famous fauna of this park. The amazing birds like eagles, raptors, sunbirds, and other brilliant-colored birds make this national park more delightful. The flora includes rhododendrons, junipers, orchids, and oaks are examples of the rich biodiversity of this national park. You can do trekking, hiking, animal watching, peak climbing, and nature walking in this park. Since this park is rich in biodiversity among all the national parks.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 500km
- Best season to travel: March to May and Oct to Dec
- Entry fee: Rs 3,000+13%VAT
Langtang National Park
Langtang NP is the closest national park to Kathmandu, which was established in 1976 as the 1st Himalayan national park. The park is spread over an area of 1,710sq.km in the Rasuwa, Nuwakot, and Sinshuplanchock districts. The most popular holy river Gosaikunda which is located at an altitude of 4,300m also lies in this national park. This park played an important role in the conservation of biodiversity with the help of local people.
This park exhibits a high diversity of 14 vegetation types in 18 ecosystems which makes the wonderful diversity of flora and fauna. Chirpine, rhododendron, silver fir, and oak are the beautiful flora of this national park. Langtang is famous for its bird population where 250 species of birds are abundantly available inside this national park. A red panda, Black bears, snow leopard, and 46 species of mammals are protected in the Langtang region.
Trekking routes like Langtang, Helambu, and Gosaikunda are the more famous activities of this national park. Besides this, nature walks, bird watching, peak climbing, and cultural tours are amazing activities that can be done in this national park.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 50km
- Best time to travel: Sept-Now and April-June
- Entry fee: Rs 3,000+13%VAT
Please, click here for the Langtang Region Trekking packages.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
The nearest park which even covers the whole Kathmandu valley from most of its sides was established in 2002. This park covers an area of 159sq.km. This park is spread over four different districts including Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Dhading, and Sindhupalchowk. The park is full of beautiful flora, amazing fauna, sacred places, and sites that are the major attraction of Shivapuri national park.
The flora includes pine, oak, rhododendron, and firs to make this park more beautiful. The park played an amazing role to protect the 318 species of birds including eagle owl, dove, golden-throated barbet, and white-garget flycatcher. Amphibians and reptiles also frequent this site, with the monocle cobra, the Himalayan keelback, the olive slender snake, and the yellow-bellied worm-eating snake. Four species of bats have also been found here. Faunas like the Indian leopard, jungle cat, civet, golden jackal, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan goral, barking deer, wild boar, Chinese pangolin, Indian crested porcupine, Himalayan pika and can be seen here. The Park is also home to 129 species of mushrooms as well. This park is most famous for short hiking like Nagigumba, Sundarijal, Panimuhan, and Kakani. Many people who stayed in Kathmandu prefer to do a day hike in Shivapuri national park. Night view seeing, jungle safari and jungle walking can be done during the favorable season.
- Distance from Kathmandu:11km
- Best season to travel: March to June and April is the best time to explore Shivapuri NP
- Entry fee: Rs 1,000+13%VAT
Banke National Park
The newest national park of Nepal after the recognition of “ Gift to the Earth'' was established in 2010. The park is located in the midwest region of Nepal with an area of 550sq.km. The park was established to conserve and protect the Bengal Tiger since this park is linked with the Bardiya National Park.
The Banke National Park includes eight ecosystems, which start from sal to deciduous, savannahs, and floodplains. This park is also the home of the Tigers including striped hyena, giant hornbill, black stork, and ruddy mongoose was recorded for the very first time in any conservation area. The park played a vital role in the preservation of 8 species of mammals, 124 species of plants, 300 species of birds, and 7 species of amphibians. The Asiatic wild elephant populations in the Park are a delight to visitors. Jungle safari, forest walk, nature walk, and bird watching are the major activities that can be done in this national park.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 530km
- Best time to travel: Oct-April
- Entry fee: Rs 500+13% VAT
Parsa National Park
Parsa National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Nepal, which was established in 1984 but the national park was declared in 2017. The protected area in inner-terai has an area of 627.39sq.km, which covers the Parsa, Makwanpur, and Bara districts.
The park has 919 species of flora including vascular plants, dicots, monocots, five pteridophytes, and gymnosperm. Animals like the Asian elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, sloth bear, wild dog, Sambar deer, hog deer, striped hyena, jungle cat, palm civet, blue bull, gaur, rat, and leopard are common here. Meanwhile, the Park also nestles 527 species of birds, including the paradise flycatcher, large racquet-tailed drongo, giant hornbill, white-breasted kingfisher, golden-backed woodpecker, red jungle fowl, and peafowl. Reptiles like the common cobra, banded krait, rock python, and king cobra can be found slithering on the terrain. Jungle Safari, Forest walk, and nature walk can be done in a suitable environment. Also, a cultural tour can be done in this park.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 105km
- Best time to travel: Oct-Dec is the best season to encounter animals.
- Entry fee: Rs 1,000+13%VAT
Suklaphanta National Park
The National Park which lies in the Terai region of the far-west of Nepal was established in 1976 and later it was listed as a National park in 2017. The park spreads over an area of 305sq.km in the vast grassland and wetlands are fed by the Syali River. This park is more peaceful and silent since very few tourists go for the activities.
The park protects 700 species of flora, 423 species of birds, 46 species of mammals, 28 species of fish, and 12 species of reptiles including the Bengal Tiger, swamp deer, Indian leopard, elephant, and mighty one-horned rhino. Jeep tours, Jungle walks, and Jungle safari are the major activities that can be done in this national park. Except for this, the region is rich in culture and tradition.
- Distance from Kathmandu: 720km
- Best time to travel: Oct-March
- Entry fee: Rs 1050 and Rs 2000 for guide
Nepal is truly an amazing country that is bursting to the seams with biodiversity. The abundance of flora, fauna, and natural beauty in the National Parks in Nepal is truly breathtaking. The forests, lakes, and rivers are must-visit places in Nepal. For more details on national parks, conservation areas, and the biodiversity of Nepal.
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