This is real! Nick shouted each time a branch hit his thigh or face as our elephant rammed ahead through the bush. He seemed to enjoy every bit of the jungle safari atop an elephant in Chitwan National Park. “We are deep into the jungle and it is quite different from boring rides I have had along the ‘designated trails’ in the name of safari in some other countries,” he said. Nick and his friend Megan also enjoyed elephant bathing, a cultural performance by ethnic Tharu community of the region and, next day, an early morning bird-watching excursion.
Most resorts and hotels in Chitwan feature these activities in the packages they offer. But what makes Hotel Parkland different is that “They let you be yourself and take good care of your needs when you are by yourself,” said Nick. “They don’t chaperone, but you always know that there is someone around to tend to your needs,” Megan added. “You always feel relaxed and comfortable.”
First class hospitality is just one among many pleasant experiences Nick and Megan enjoyed during their visit to Nepal. And signing up with Parkland turned out to be very gratifying, as “We could make the
best out of the time and money we had,” said the couple. “Everything the hotel had to offer was within our budget. And at times we found them being very generous in terms of services,” said Megan. “We don’t see people here trying to rip us off, unlike elsewhere,” said Nick.
Megan was familiar with Nepal, as she had presented a paper on the political situation of Nepal back in her college, but Nick barely knew anything about the country. During the course of traveling in India they heard a lot about Nepal and decided to cut short the India tour to travel here, even though this visit was not originally on. “And, we’ll be back here again as soon as we can,” they said. The satisfaction and smiles on their faces meant that they were not just trying to be nice.
They were completely enamored by the languid pace at which life moved in Chitwan’s backyard. For ears that have grown used to the commotion of the city, the dullness here had an ineluctable charm. The calmness in the faces of Nick and Megan was the effect of this refreshing change brought about by the time they spent in the pallid surroundings.
Hotel Parkland rests in perfect harmony with this laid-back mood of the countryside. The simple structure of the hotel blocks without a lot of architectural sophistication feels good, as you don’t get a strange, other worldly feel about the place. It is just a place to be with yourself and your close ones with few distractions. The moment you step or drive into Hotel Parkland, the first thing that catches your attention is the expansive, well-maintained garden. Almost 70 percent of the land is dedicated to the garden that has flowers and fruits of indigenous as well as exotic varieties. The garden’s seasonal fruits and flowers are a great attraction not only for visitors, but also for indigenous and migratory bird species as well as many kinds of butterflies.
You can pluck the fruits and enjoy eating them with your friends and families. Or, if you like, someone from the staff will pick them for you. While Nick and Megan were there, litchis were ripe and one of the staff got a basket full of the fruits for them. Two women among the guests were seen struggling to pluck the fruits using a long iron pole. They couldn’t collect many, but had great fun trying. Mangoes, guavas, jackfruits and blackberries are among other fruits that grow naturally in the hotel garden.
Paved tracks crisscross the garden from all sides and connect the living blocks, gazebos and kitchen. Flowers are planted along the edges on both sides of the tracks. The tracks are good for jogging or morning walkers. A quiet stroll through the colorful flowers is a pleasant experience anytime of the day, even late in the evening as there are lamp posts to light your way. In summer when it is hot and humid, you can enjoy the cool air while reclining in comfortable wooden chairs under the garden’s patio set, nursing snacks and beverages. You might also have beer or wine in the bar that is built inside one of the well furnished gazebos with tin roof and tiled floor.
The garden extends up to the living blocks that are built along its ambit. The double storeyed living blocks have four rooms and each room has one standard and one queen size bed along with comfortable furnishings. A toilet and bathroom with 24 hour running hot and cold water are attached to every room. The spacious rooms are well lit and ventilated with large windows. In each block, the ground floor has a verandah and the floor above has a balcony from where you can look out over the garden while having tea, while reading or writing a postcard home describing it all.
The dining area and large kitchen are capable of hosting sizeable gatherings. The kitchen staff is well skilled at cooking traditional Nepali food as well as continental cuisine. The staff generally checks with you before each breakfast, lunch and dinner for your preference. The open air restaurant facing the garden, right outside the kitchen, is a great place to eat.
‘Open’ and ‘outdoor’ are the two words you’ll learn to appreciate during your stay at Hotel Parkland. While all outdoor activities are great fun, even when you are inside the hotel compound you’ll still feel like you are in a nice garden.
Hotel Parkland is easily accessible from Kathmandu by land, air or even by water. A five hour bus ride takes you through a picturesque landscape comprised of green hills, rivers and occasional views of the snow mountains on a clear day. There are also daily flights from Kathmandu to Bharatpur, which take about 25 minutes. If you are more adventurous you can raft all the way from Charaundi or Phisling to Gaighat where Parkland’s representative will be waiting to take you to the Hotel.
For reservation and more information on Chitwan’s Hotel Parkland contact Biken Bogati in Kathmandu at 9841229970 or 4701887
or visit website www.wildlifenepal.com