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“Back to the Jungle”

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Chitwan Jungle Lodge
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
79 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Back to the Jungle”
Reviewed 13 February 2013

We were Indians travelling in a group comprising of 5 couples and 5 kids from Mumbai, India and had the least of expectations when it came to living out in the wild. Elephants are quiet common from where I come and so are the mosquitoes. However, we were in for a surprise at this National Park Lodge.
We had to leave our vehicle and cut across the stream in an ancient boat against the current in a crocodile infested river. Thats when the thrill starts. We realised we should have packed light for the night and only carried a night's requirement. The boatsman was quiet a skilled person who deftly plyed us across the river in an amazing manner. On reaching the other bank, welcome drinks awaited us. A short drive in the open jeep took us to the lodges where elephants were awaiting us.
We were late, so after a quick lunch, we went for the evening Safari, in the jungle mounted on the Elephants.The jungle closed down by 6pm as it got dark quiet quickly and we were delighted to see wild (?) rhinocerous, jackals, deers and some birds which we couldnt identify. We were told that tigers and leopards also strayed nearby once in a while. The kids were thrilled to bits. In the late evening, we got to see a film on the wildlife. Dinner was in batches and the food was ok. We had never stayed in a log cabin before in the jungle and the little cottage alloted to us was quiet cozy, clean and comfy. Lights out at 9pm and we had to do with a kerosene lamp. Any loud noises or light, we were told, would attract nocturnal animals.
We all woke up the next day at 5 am for another elephant safari thorugh the fog laden jungle and saw the same set of animals.
Breakfast was ordinary. Even the adults were quiet charmed by this little jungle experience. We next went on a nature trail in a circular path and the lead man showed us some tiger footprints (haha) and rhino droppings (??). The jungle is quiet dense and we did hear some birds. Somehow the whole setting seemed rigged and not natural, but I aint complaining coz the kids and we simply loved living as one amongst nature. We departed by 11am.
They also have some artifacts on display for sale but I found them too overpriced. We found a lot of westerner tourists in groups. The place is a little overpriced and getting bookings is difficult. We wished we had stayed for more than one night. I would definitely recommend this place, if you are looking for some peace and oneness with mother nature in the plains of the mighty Himalayas. We also know of such similar places in India, but all and all, this was a very different experience.

Room Tip: All of them are good.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Manasi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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61 reviews from our community

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English first
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2012

We have stayed at this lodge this year in spring and my children and me felt really comfortable there.
I am very concerned about the recent comment, written by a woman from Australia.
So I would like to write a report about my experiences and also anwer to this recent report.

This Australian woman talks about the way the elephants were treated. The example of an elephant who was forced to leave it' s young alone for a certain time to do the elephant safari really sounds kind of cruel from the point of view of people who are used to treat animals as lovely pets which they caress and treat like family members. Although some peoples' behaviour in treating their pets also sometimes seems to be more or less torture for these lovely animals. I don' t know if, for example, small nice and lovely dogs would feel very happy when they are styled by a dog' s hairdresser, then are dressed with stylish dog' s clothes and finally are put in a small bag to „enjoy“ a bicycle ride, etc.

But back to this elephant mother. This situation must have been hard for her. Especially as elephants are known as very sensitive creatures, who take an immense care for their children. So on the first view this seems to be hard to understand. One could guess what the reasons for this treatment of the elephant might have been, but one does not really know.
Generally I think, when one uses animals to do special works, it' s not always possible to fullfill all their needs.
For this, one could find many examples all over the world. When you look for instance at one of the Aran Islands in Ireland, you see how tourists are transported in horse carriages. The horses don' t have horseshoes, but they must draw the carriages over slippery streets. They are slipping many times, but they are forced to go faster being beaten with horsewhips. It is hurting to see this, but the inhabitants of this Island are so much used to treating their horses as means for tourists transport that they cannot understand, how people could complain about this.

Whereas staying at the jungle lodge, I got the impression, that the staff there is really concerend about the elephants' needs. They know many things about these animals. And when they talked about the elephants' lifes, needs and abilities I noticed that the workers there are aware of the fact that it is not possible to fullfill any needs of them under these lodge conditions. For example talking about the nutrition of the elephants, the staff admitted that they have to give them special food, the elephants normally wouldn' t eat, because it' s impossible for these working elephants to eat many hours per day as they usually would do. I especially noticed the sad, nearly apologizing look of one of the employees there, who in general is very much taking care of others, might it be humans or animals.
And I have to add that there were some tourists who commented the treatment of the elephants in a doubtable way, but the staff didn't.

As you noticed, people who stayed at the lodge were not allowed to visit the elephants at any time, which shows, that the staff made it possible for the animals to recreate. When elephants would always have people around, this would certainly be to much for them.

Reading the comments about the behaviour of the male employees at the lodge I got the impression, that the staff must have been completely exchanged. Because this description doesn' t fit to any worker I have met there 8 months ago.
Staring and snide remarks were common?? Reading this I could hardly believe my eyes!
It was quite the opposite! Hardly ever before I could experience such an extreme kindness, care and patience. It was a kind of care for the people which hadn' t anything to do with paternalism, but it was beneficial assistance.
And concerning the behaviour towards single travelling women (I have been travelling as a single woman with two daughters) I noticed an immense respect towards women, a kind of consideration and empathie which impressed me deeply.

Very often I am thinking of the beauty of this place, these wonderful houses built of natural materials, the things to discovers in the surrounding wood. I would wish many people could enjoy a stay there in the future based on any touristic concept, which would respect as many issues as possible.

Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Sabine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 November 2012

First of all - The lodge mostly runs from business of large tour operators
and I did not meet a single person there (I was there only for three days
however) that was a solo traveler as I was. The majority were hoarded in
and out on tours.

So you will not really get to meet people or mesh with others as you are
designated seating during dinner, with tour groups sitting by themselves.
Throughout my time there, I ate alone and was not allowed to move.

I requested a pick up from a bus drop off well known to the Lodge but the
driver was late and ended up picking me up from the incorrect bus stop - I
had to call the lodge to check what was going on.

In terms of safari - as the staff themselves admitted, the elephants are
only there for tourist use.The first day I rode one of the elephants she
was constantly beaten over the head with a heavy metal 'bull hook'. Over
the ears and between the eyes and at the top of the head The poor creature was bleeding and trumpeting, completely confused and trying to get to her
young.

As another note - the staff at the lodge were quiet a "boys club". As a
single female, I felt uncomfortable several times during the trip. Staring
and snide remarks were common. The patronizing attitude of the staff to any
concerns raised regarding the elephants also suggests that people have
raised up the issue before which the staff have complied with (for that
day). Requests to see the elephants at any times other than riding times
was treated with the out most suspicion, even by people who simply wanted to interact with the creatures.


Food at the bar was severely overpriced (200% in most cases, but that is
expected when you have a totally monopoly over the food) but the worst case
was that it was expired, in some cases as much as a year. I unfortunately
did not check before I ate some pringles, leading to some pretty severe
food upsets. When I raised at the bar, the waiter first removed the bill
from my tab but the owner tried to lob it back on when I was leaving.

Overall, neither relaxing nor a welcoming lodge.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Lex S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richterswil, Switzerland
Level Contributor
46 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 November 2012

We were attracted to CJL as it was within the national park and lots of the other hotels are outside and only have limited access. Clearly this comes at a cost, but we were short on time and felt that it was worth it.

Comfy accommodation and hearty food was most welcome after elephant safaris and nature walks. A fabulous three day break even if we missed the rhino and the even more illusive tigers.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mike J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massachussetts
Level Contributor
66 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

We stayed at the jungle lodge for 3 nights, and we loved every minute there. My 11 year old daughter keeps asking when we can go back.

The cabins are old and rustic, and yes the electricity is limited. How wonderful to be off the grid!

We were able to keep our camera batteries charged, and really it was great to not have our phones nor computers distracting us from the animals and sounds!

We loved the elephant treks and bathing. We had a long walk through plains after a canoe ride. We saw wild Rhinos from the back of an elephant. Monkeys, birds and crocodiles galore.

It took about 4 1/2 hours from Kathmandu. The ride, although long, was interesting. We had a private car pick us up and bring us back. The car was old but fine. We were comfortable. We enjoyed catching glimpses of towns and villages, farmers and school kids walking home.

This spot, and the people at the lodge will stay with us for a very long time. Thank you Santosh, thank you all!

Room Tip: If you don't like where they put you they are quite flexible about moving you around until you a...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank AlwaysTime2Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
59 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2012

We knew we'd have no power, though recharging was available a couple of times a day. The lodges were comfortable, good beds and excellent showers. Good range of activities, jeep safari, elephant safari, bird-watching and nature walks, bathing with elephants. Guides were personable, attentive, and knowledgable (20+ years experience for many) and were able to take us to good sights....troops of langurs, rhino and baby, male rhino, as well as spotted and barking deer, wild boar and lots of birds. Food was god, though some lighter options for lunch would be good. It was just wonderful to sleep in a park with all the natural sounds throughout the night. Lovely atmosphere of isolation. Excellent staff, restaurant, bar and elsewhere. Recommend spending three days or more so there's some time to just relax in the lovely surrounds.The activities were early and mid morning, then late afternoon., so the hottest part of the day could be resting. Bathing with elephants was truly memorable. Recommended.
It's a real pity the Nepal Government has decided all the in-park lodges, leaving the park to the militaru underfunded park rangers and the poachers.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Fran K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham
Level Contributor
64 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 April 2012

This place was an oasis of calm after Kathmandu. It is really well organised, enough time for activities and relaxing. Rooms are simple but well done and the elephant bathing is a real highlight. Tips are to take a torch as there is no electricity at certain times and if you like bird watching your own binoculars. If you are wondering whether to spend the extra money to be in the park it is worth it. Allow 5-6 hours to get there by road from Kathmandu.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Teal7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chitwan Jungle Lodge

Property: Chitwan Jungle Lodge
Address: Rapti River, Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Region: Nepal > Central Region > Narayani Zone > Chitwan District > Chitwan National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Chitwan National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Chitwan Jungle Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chitwan Jungle Lodge is one of the few select hotels operating inside Chitwan National Park, which is a World Heritage Site rich in unique flora and fauna. Come to CJL for an unforgettable jungle experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Chitwan Jungle Hotel Chitwan National Park

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