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WINGS Birding Tours – Information


Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Nepal. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING AND LEAVING NEPAL: All U.S. citizens need a passport, valid for at least six months after the date of entry and with at least one blank page for a visa, and valid Nepali visa to enter and exit Nepal for any purpose.  Tourist visas are available from Nepali diplomatic missions abroad, and on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (and most of Nepal’s main land border crossings) for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, and most other countries.  Visas on arrival are currently unavailable only for citizens of a handful of countries in Africa and the Middle East. A list of countries for which Nepali visas on arrival are unavailable can be found here.

Visa fees are payable in USD. Money-changing and ATM services are available at the airport, but credit card payment is not a reliable option. Tourists may stay no more than 150 days in any given calendar year. For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, contact the Embassy of Nepal at 2131 Leroy Place, NW Washington, DC 20008, by telephone at (202) 667-4550 or online at Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Nepali embassy or consulate, or online at

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State background notes on Nepal here.

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommend taking an anti-malarial drug when visiting Nepal. Further, the CDC currently recommends the following vaccines: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, and polio. Travelers should also make sure that their routine vaccinations, including tetanus, are up to date. Biting insects are not numerous but may occur locally; insect repellent will provide adequate protection. Tap water is not safe to drink, but bottled water, soft drinks, and beer are widely available. The latest CDC advisories for Nepal can be reviewed here.

ALTITUDE:  Most of the tour is at low elevation, but there will be a few days at the beginning and end of the tour where we may reach 9,000 feet on Pulchowki, near Kathmandu.

CLIMATE: Our days at Koshi Tappu, Chitwan, and Lumbini should be very pleasant with temperatures in the 70°F-80°F range by midday. However, the early mornings and late afternoons (times when we will be out birding) can be quite chilly, with air temperatures as low as 50°F. In Kathmandu, we will be at 4,500 feet, and the night-time temperatures in March routinely drop to 40-50°F. At Pulchowki, colder weather is likely, at least in the early mornings, with wind chills often dropping to below freezing. 

PACE OF TOUR: On a number of days, there will be walks starting at 6:30 a.m. or 6:45 a.m. and lasting for up to three hours. Most days we should finish at dusk (around 6:30 p.m.), and we usually manage to have about a one-hour break before the checklist and dinner. There may be one or two days when we get back after dusk, and we may therefore require a shorter break before dinner. At Chitwan National Park, our game drives will typically start in the early morning (we may have to leave the hotel before dawn – around 6:15 a.m.) and usually last for about three or three-and-a-half hours, after which time we will return to the hotel for breakfast. On several days there will be a further game-drive in the afternoon (they usually run from about 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.). On one day in Chitwan, we will take an all-day game drive to reach the bird-rich forests of the Churia Hills, where we will pause in the field to eat a boxed lunch prepared by our hotel.

There is a reasonable amount of walking involved on this tour, although none of it is particularly strenuous. We will also explore Chitwan NP in open-topped jeeps fitted with rows seats. At Koshi Tappu, Chitwan, and Lumbini, the terrain is ideal for long, gentle walks, as the habitat is full of good, level paths and tracks. We can expect to complete gradual walks of one to two miles in these locations, although we will take frequent breaks to observe the birds. None of these activities will be strenuous, and all walks on the trip can be easily undertaken by anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness.

At Pulchowki, although we are in a mountainous area, there will be a few, short uphill walks at a gentle pace. We may reach altitudes of about 9,000 feet at Pulchowki. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in any of the walks, please contact the WINGS office.

ACCOMMODATION: In Kathmandu we’ll be staying close to the center of this fascinating city in a good-quality, international-style hotel with private facilities in each room. At Koshi Tappu we’ll spend three nights in a good-quality, attractively laid-out tented camp. The tents are clean, relatively well equipped, and spacious, and it’s no problem for all but the tallest of people to stand upright in them; the tents are clean and relatively well equipped. Each tent has two proper full-size beds (not camp beds) and a small table inside and there are two chairs, a mirror, and a water container on the “porch.” Each tent is also provided with a kerosene lamp, which will be lit by the camp staff every evening. Two blocks of four toilet and shower rooms are shared between four neighbouring tents and are within about 25 yards of each set of tents. There is a separate dining room and a bar. The camp compound is well lit at night, and there is usually a multitude of birds within the camp itself. We’ll also spend five nights inside Chitwan National Park. We’ll be staying at two different resorts: first at Kasara Lodge in the east, and then at Lumbini Budhha Garden Resort in the west. Both offer excellent, comfortable accommodation. 

FOOD: Throughout the tour we are served a wide variety of high-quality Nepali food. Salads or salad garnishes are frequently offered, but we suggest these should always be declined or left on the edge of your plate. The food we are served always includes a good selection of vegetarian dishes. In some of the places where we stay, meals are buffet-style with several different dishes available, while in other places set meals are provided. That said, a typical Nepali set meal consists of a choice of three or four different dishes.

We appreciate that not everyone likes to eat Nepali food (which can occasionally be a little bit spicy) every day or even at all. Almost all of the places we visit will, if requested, provide western food. If a buffet is being served, this normally includes a western-style dish or two. If you require western-style food and cannot eat Nepali food, please advise the WINGS office in advance and the leader once you are on the tour. Even when a western-style meal is provided, please be advised that our meal preparers generally are able to cook Nepali food to a higher standard than they cook western food.

DRESS: Dress is informal throughout. Light warm-weather clothing, including a sun hat, is the general rule, but a jacket, warm sweater, gloves, and a hat may be required for early mornings on Phulchowki and on cool mornings in Chitwan National Park. For the occasional longer walks, bring comfortable walking shoes or boots. Rain is rather unlikely, but bring a light rain jacket just in case.

TRANSPORTATION: In Chitwan, we will travel around the park in one or two small, open-topped safari vehicles. These 8- to 15-seater vehicles invariably have poor suspension, and the unpaved tracks inside the reserve are often rough. Other than Chitwan, we will travel by 15-seat tourist bus. During the longer drives, bottled mineral water will be provided on the vehicles. The leader will arrange a seating rotation. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.

We will fly one way from Kathmandu to Biratnagar on Buddha Air, which is the highest-rated Nepali airline for safety. All other travel in will be by road.

SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group. If any lodge, accommodation, or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than the WINGS policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to Nepal will be sent to each registrant on receipt of booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Updated: 24 September 2018