Highlights of Southern Nepal

Heading south from the Himalayas the terrain flattens as you enter the subtropical latitudes of the Terai region where the altitudes drop to just a few hundred meters above sea level. The rivers from the Himalayas bring their alluvial deposits which results in fertile soils, and the local ethnic group the Tahrus are prolific farmers. Although much of the jungle that once dominated the landscape has been cleared, the Chitwan and Bardia National Parks are highly protected areas of forest that provide excellent wildlife viewing. Those with an interest in Buddhism will not want to miss a visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, and an important pilgrimage sight.

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Although much less accessible than Chitwan and without the same choice of lodges, Bardia National Park attracts fewer visitors and offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and the best chance of seeing a tiger in Nepal. Bardia has a diverse range of habitats that include pockets of savannah, dry upland slopes and riverine woodlands and dense sal forest.
With good transport links and a selection of excellent lodges the Chitwan National Park is the most comfortable place in Nepal to see animals in the wild, and one of the country's main highlights. The National Park is on the World Heritage list and protects over 932km² of Elephant grass savannah, sal forests and marshlands supporting healthy wildlife populations.
The small town of Lumbini on the Terai plains of Southern Nepal is known throughout the world as he birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), born in the 6th Century BC to a royal family. The temple complex where Buddha once lived is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important pilgrimage site for millions of Buddhists who come from far and wide to visit the ancient city.