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National Parks of Nepal

Shey - Phoksundo National Park
Shey - Phoksundo lays in the northwest of Nepal in the transhimalayan region it covers an area of 3,555, making it the largest national park in Nepal. The national park got the royal seal on 1984 with an objective of conservation of the Himalayan biodiversity. The large area and difference of climatic and geographical conditions supports many different species of flora and fauna. Phoksundo Lake is the major attraction besides the flora and fauna in the national park. It is famous for its green turquoise like colour. The Kanjiroba peak at 6800m is also a major attraction within the Shey-Phoksundo national park. Rhododendron, caragana shrubs, and Salix, Juniper, white Himalayan birch, and the occasional silver fir dominate the high meadows of the Himalayas. The valley of Suligad within the park has fauna such as blue pine, spruce, hemlock, cedar, silver fir, poplar, rhododendron, and bamboo. Some endangered mammals found in this national park include snow leopard, grey wolf, musk deer, and blue sheep, goral, great Tibetan sheep, Himalayan tahr, leopard, jackal, and Himalayan black bear. Besides that Shey-Phoksundo is home to more than 225 bird species, 30 families of butterflies including Paralasa nepalaica, the butterfly found in highest elevation.  It is also home to 7 different species of reptiles.

Khaptad national park
Situated in the far western Nepal Khaptad national park covers 225 sq. km.  It was designated as a national park in 1984.The name Khaptad is derived from a Holy saint called Khaptad Baba, who practiced meditation in this region. Spring and autumn is the best time to be there. Plant species such as Montane Sal, Pines , Alder species Lindera nacusua, Cmnamomum tamca,  Spruce, fir, hemlock, oak,  Aesculus indica, maple, Fir oak, birch and rhododendron are found in the National park. More tehan 120 flowering plant species and 230 medicinal herbs make this area a paradise on earth.

The Khaptad national park is home to more than 220 species of birds including migratory and local birds.  The Impeyan, pheasant, Danphe the national avian of Nepal shares space with other bird species such as partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos, and eagles. Barking deer, wild boar, goral, Himalayan black bear, and Yellow-throated Marten, and Rhesus and Langur monkey, leopard, wild dogs, jackal and musk deer are some of the common mammal species in this area.

Chitwan national park
Chitwan national park is the oldest national park of Nepal and covers an area of 932 sq.km. The park got the royal seal in 1973 as a national park and in 1984 UNESCO, recognizing the importance of the biodiversity and resources in here declared it as a natural heritage site. It has seen significant change in the status of animal conservation since being declared a national park.    The Park is spread in 4 districts Chitwan, Parsa, Nawalparasi and Makwanpur. Among the total area almost 70% area is covered by Sal tree, 20 % by grassland, 7 % riverine forest, Marsh and wetlands and 3 % pine trees.

The national park is home to more than 50 species of mammals, more than 520 species of avian and more than 50 species of reptiles and amphibians. The Chitwan national park is also home to some endangered species of flora and fauna such as Asian Rhino,  Tiger Asiatic elephant , Marsh Mugger and Gharial Crocodile ,  Giant Lizard, lesser Florican, Black Stork, Asiatic rock Python and many more. After Kathmandu and Pokhara this is the most visited tourist destination in Nepal.

Langtang national park.
The Langtang national park was established in 1976 as the nearest national park from Kathmandu. This park covers little more than one thousand and seven hundred square km and occupies area in 3 districts Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchock. This national park has partial border with Tibet. This national park has rich biodiversity.

The forest in this area is full of rhododendrons fir and oak forests. Besides the natural attractions the park also has numerous lakes among which Gosainkunda Lake is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites for Hindus. In the festival of Janai (Scared string) festival thousands of Hindus from all over the world gather in this area. The national park consists of vegetation such as Sal (Shorea Robusta) forest Chirpine, Rhododendron, and Nepalese alder, silver fir, hemlock, larch birch, silver fir, Sorbus micro phyla and twisted Rhododendron campanulatum, Juniper, Rhododendron shrubs etc. Animal species such as musk deer Himalayan tahr, the endangered red panda, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, wild dog, Ghoral, Serow are found in the Langtang national park area.   The trekking trails in Langtang are also famous among locals and foreigners. The Langtang valley trek, Gosainkunda Trek, Helambu trek etc are famous in this region.

Bardia national park 
Bardia National park lies in the western plain of Nepal and covers an area of 968 sq.km. Before being designated as a National park Bardia was a wild life reserve known as the Karnali wildlife reserve until 1984.The area is famous for tiger conservation and contribution of Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio in the cause of tiger protection. The Area also hosted rhinos that were relocated from Chitwan since 1986.

The Karnali River that flows thorough the Bardia National park is the habitat of the gangetic dolphin, a rare species of fresh water dolphin found in the Indian sub-continent. The Karnali River also offers home to Large Mahasheer, a game fish and Marsh Mugger crocodile. The wetland and riverine forest serve as habitat for various bird species such as  Herons,  kingfishers, ducks, Eagles, Egrets, Black-necked, stork, Little pratincole etc.

Almost having similar composition of vegetation as Chitwan national park, Bardia National park has preserved animal species such as Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant, Asian Rhino, Water otter, wild cat, Jackels, Asiatic rock python, 5 species of deers and wild buck.  Bardia is also home to more than 250 species of birds.

Rara national park.
Established in the year 1976, Rara National Park is the smallest national park of Nepal. The name is derived from the Rara Lake within the national park. The national park covers an area of 106 sq.km. This park is famous for the migratory birds coming from Tibet during winter time. Chuchemara peak with an altitude of 4039 m from sea level is also a major attraction in the park area.

Besides blue pine there are trees of rhododendrons, herbs, marshlands, tussock grasslands, walnuts, fir, oak, birch species etc are the vegetation found in the area.25 different species of Mammals Musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Leopard, Jackal, Himalayan tahr, Yellow throated marten, Otter, Wild dog. Common langur, Rhesus macaque, Red panda are found in the park. Besides that 220 species of birds are also flying in this region.

Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park derives its name from the Nepali name of Mount Everest, Sagarmatha. It covers one thousand one hundred and fifty square kilometers of area in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The mountain topography and climatic conditions have made this area rich in mountain flora and fauna. Besides the High Mountains such as Everest, Lhotse and CHoyo, the Sherpa culture is the main attraction in the national park. This area was listed in the UNESCO natural heritage site in 1979.

The vegetation in the national park include pine, hemlock forests, while fir, juniper, birch, rhododendron, scrub and other alpine plants. Animals such as red panda, snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, marten, Himalayan mouse hare (pika) are the habitats of the area. More than 120 bird species are found in this area including the national bird Danphe, Impeyan pheasant. This National park is visited by more than 40000 foreigners every year, mostly for trekking. The famous trekking in the Everest region include Everest base camp trek, 3 Col trek, Kala-Pathar Gokyo trek, Giri-Namche-Everest base camp trek and many more.

Makalu Barun national park .
In 1992 the then HMG of Nepal declared this area as a National park. It covers an area of around 1500sq.km with half of it as Buffer zone. This area was designated as a national park to integrate protection of biodiversity with community development. Besides the rich flora and fauna of the area Mt. Makalu (8,463m) fifth highest mountain in the world is the main attraction in the area. The area is home to more than 25 species of rhododendron, 47 types of orchids, and 56 rare plants. Snow leopard, red panda, musk deer, wild boar, etc are also found in the Makalu Barun National park.

Shivapuri Nagarjun national park.
Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park covers an area of one hundred and sixty square kilometers.  Situated at 12 km from the city center it was the youngest national park of Nepal before Banke National park was established. This area before known as Shivapuri Watershed and wildlife reserve became a national park in 2002. The area was gazette as the country's ninth national park in 2002. With sub-tropical and temperate climate this park has vegetation such as pine, oak, rhododendron etc and also 129 species of Mushrooms. Mammals such as Himalayan Black bear, leopard, jungle cat, and rhesus monkey. The Shiva puri national park also has more than 177 species of birds among which 10 are endangered and 102 species of butterflies.

Banke national park.
Banke National Park (BaNP) is the youngest national park of Nepal established in 2010. It lies in the western plain of Nepal nearby Nepalgunj and also shares border with Bardia National park. The park covers an area of almost 550 sq.km where half of it is a Buffer zone.It has 8 different ecosystem types Sal forest, deciduous Riverine forest, savannahs and grasslands, mixed hardwood forest, flood plain community, Bhabar and foot hills of Chure range. The Banke national park is home to 124 plants species, 34 species of mammals, more than 300 species of birds, 24 reptiles, 7 amphibians and 58 fish species.

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