Wildlife safari tours in Asia are blooming probably because a great number of national parks, safaris and wildlife reserves are being opened to the public. Safari vacations in Asia are now common and in abundance due to the rich and diverse existence of flora and fauna. Safaris in Asia reveal some of the world’s most unique and remote species as well as home to the endangered yet majestic species like that of Royal Bengal Tigers. Go tiger watching in India and experience riding the elephants in Thailand and fall in love with the refreshing panorama of the safaris! Therefore, I have listed below the top 20 wildlife safari destinations you should consider together with the best travel guide to Asia wildlife to make your planning much easier.
Out of all the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Nepal, the Chitwan National Park is the first and oldest national park. It is recognized by the UNESCO and listed as one of the World Heritage Sites. The best time to visit Chitwan National Park will be between October and December as there is a greater chance for you to spot tigers and other wild animals as they come out to the waterholes. You can either explore the national park by way of jungle trekking where you can expect to see rhinos as well or you can go deeper into the jungle by joining the jeep tours whereas, river boating often highlights the crocodiles that inhabit the Rapti river in the Chitwan National Park.
The Royal Bardia National Park is said to be the largest tiger safari in Nepal as well as the largest habitat of Royal Bengal Tigers in the country. Therefore, you stand a better chance to spot the tigers here than anywhere else in Nepal and it is best to visit this national park between October and June. There are more than 30 different types of mammals and 250 species of birds inhabiting the national park. This national park is also an ideal place to spend your vacation with your children as the park does provides educational walks for the kids to make sure they enjoy their trips at the Royal Bardia National Park as much as the adults do.
The Sagarmatha National Park is located in Nepal’s Khumbu region and features the tallest peak in the world which is Mount Everest. It is not only famous for its sheer beauty, but also for its religious and cultural significance. A number of wild animals can be found in this park such as the Himalayan black bears, goats and weasels. The best time to visit the Sagarmatha National Park is between October and November or between March and May.
Located in the Kanchanpur district in Nepal, the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is absolutely one of the most accessible wildlife tourism destinations, being the home for the famous Royal Bengal Tiger and the great one-horned rhinoceros; both are now classified as endangered species, the park has been able to attract lot of wildlife lovers. Swamp deers, hispid hare and elephants are other types of mammals that you might encounter throughout your journey at the reserve. Do not miss a trip to the Mahakali River and its tributaries that flow in the west of the reserve and nor should you give visiting other lakes and rivers a miss.
This wildlife reserve in Nepal was originally established to protect the rare wild water buffaloes. Nowadays, the wildlife reserve has become a paradise for bird watchers where you can find more than 450 species of birds. It is currently recognized as one of the best bird watching sites in the world. Around November to February, you might as well get to see a great number of migratory birds from Siberia and Tibet visiting the wildlife reserve. Other than the birds, the reserve is also the home for many endangered species such as the Gharial (Alligator) crocodile, hog and spotted deer.
Recognized as one of the most famous national parks and tiger reserves in India, the Bandhavgarh National Park has never failed to attract a large number of tourists over the years. The national park is located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, and is divided into three major safari zones named as Tala, Magdi and Bamera. Out of the three, the Tala Zone promises more tiger sighting opportunities. You will have a great chance to spot the majestic Indian tigers as well as leopards and sloth bears at the national park. The best time to visit the Bandhavgarh National Park is between the months of October and March.
Kanha National Park is always considered as one of the finest and best tiger sighting places in Asia. You can easily explore and enjoy the wildlife experience of the 4 major zones in the national park by joining Tiger Safari Tours. You can either join the morning trip where you can even witness the sunrise or join the other trip from the afternoon until dusk. This tour is perfectly suitable for the nature lovers as you will also get to enjoy the vast beauty of the flora and fauna. Animals like leopards and wild dogs can be sighted with some ease at the Kanha National Park. It is recommended to visit the Kanha National Park between October and March.
Are you currently in the midst of planning for a wildlife holiday in Asia and seeking for a lion safari to be added up in your list of adventure? Then explore the Gir National Park in Gujarat, which is the only natural habitat of world popular Asiatic Lions besides Africa. You can spot the majestic lions roaming free in the wild and it is said that almost 500 lions inhabited the Gir National Park in 2015. What a sighting it will be! The national park is also the home for other animals such as leopards, deer, hyenas, crocodiles, snakes and others. The Gir National Park is open for tourists from 16th October to 15th June every year.
The Jim Corbett National Park is undoubtedly one of India’s best wildlife reserves that was named after the legendary tiger hunter who later converted into a naturalist, Jim Corbett. This is also a good place for tiger sightings as the national park shelters a healthy population of tigers and you are allowed to have overnight stays in the Jim Corbett National Park at the Dhikala forest lodge. This national park definitely offers a great Asia wildlife expedition where you can enjoy the nature watch and wildlife viewing by hopping on an open four wheeler Jeep and on elephants’ back. It is best to visit the Jim Corbett National Park between October and March.
Ranthambore National Park is one of the renowned national parks in Northern India. Once, the national park was famous as the hunting ground for the Maharaja of Jaipur, but today it is a major wildlife tourist attraction spot that attracts a great number of animal lovers and wildlife photographers. The park is most famous for its tiger sightings and is one of the best locations in India to spot the majestic predator in its natural habitat. The park also has a large number of marsh crocodiles and other reptiles and is a nice place for bird watching as well.
Being one of the most biologically rich areas in the Eastern Himalayan and the largest protected area in the region, the Jigme Dorji National Park is definitely one of the most visited national parks in Bhutan. Rare animal species can be found in the sanctuary such as the snow leopards, Royal Bengal Tigers, blue sheeps, Himalayan black bears and red pandas. Apart from enjoying your adventure of viewing the animals, you will also be treated with the scenic views of the numerous rivers, streams, glaciers and glacial lakes in the national park.
Another well-known and oldest wildlife safari in Bhutan is the Royal Manas National Park. Best visited during the months of November until March, this national park is one of the best places for wildlife safaris in Asia. It is a home not only to the Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants and Gaurs, but also is the habitat of few rare species including the Ganges River Dolphin and the golden langur which are found virtually nowhere else in the world. More than 365 species of birds inhabiting the park have been officially recorded. You can have a sight of the globally threatened rufous-necked hornbill and the great white-bellied heron at the park.
This sanctuary is actually a home to people of isolated nomadic in Bhutan and not only the habitat of the flora and fauna. Still, you can see snow leopards roaming around as well as other animals such as the red pandas, Himalayan black bears, barking deer and even the mythical Yeti (if you believe in them!). As for birdwatchers, you can easily spot birds like the Assamese macaw, blood pheasant and grey headed woodpecker at the sanctuary. Best time to visit is during the spring as you will be able to enjoy the sight of Bhutan’s national flower, the blue poppy. Rhododendrons in abundance can also be found in this wildlife sanctuary.
The Wangchuck Wildlife Sanctuary was officially recognized as a national park in 2008 and is currently the largest national park in Bhutan. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular wildlife national parks in Bhutan as it is also famous among the hikers as you can find several high mountains in the park and it is also rich with both the flora and fauna which are not easily found in other parts of the world. It encompasses three ecological zones and 6 different habitats, home to the Himalayan Musk Deer, snow leopard and the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Located in the district of Trashiyangste in Bhutan, this sanctuary is known for being the home of 296 species of birds including the black-necked cranes in winter. More than 130 species of butterflies and 46 species of orchids have been recorded in this sanctuary along with 100 species of mammals including the snow leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger and Musk deer. Other than that, you can visit and see many significant religious and cultural places in the sanctuary such as the mystic Singye Dzong and Dechenphodrang Lhaghang.
Thailand is not only promoting its heritage and culture to attract more tourists, but also the various wildlife tourism destinations available in the country, and one of them is the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. It is very easy to spot wildlife at the reserve due to the clear visibility of the forest. The sanctuary is the home to the largest population of tigers in Thailand along with other animals such as elephants and leopards. Thap Salao River runs through the sanctuary that attracts some animals during the dry seasons.
The main attraction in the sanctuary is actually the Thi Lo Su Waterfall, which is a large limestone waterfall located 900 meters above the sea level. According to the locals, the waterfall is at its best and most beautiful during rainy seasons from June to November because of heavy water flow. The sanctuary is basically a home to various wild animals such as elephants, leopards and tapirs. Some other activities that you can enjoy at the sanctuary include whitewater rafting, bird watching and elephant riding.
Out of all the national parks in Thailand, the Kaeng Krachan National Park is the largest national park in the country and has been included in the list of ASEAN Heritage Parks. Please bear in mind that the parts of the park are closed in rainy seasons from August to October for safety reasons and forest recovery. Most of the park is covered by steep forest with hanging ferns, orchids and it is the home of over 200 species of birds and 57 mammals. Pay a visit to the Wiman Cave to see the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites as well as the Thor Thip Waterfall.
The Khao Yai National Park is Thailand’s first national park and the third largest national park in the country, declared by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is home to around 300 resident and migratory birds and has one of the country’s largest populations of hornbills. It is definitely a perfect place for bird watching. Despite of being inhabited by quite a number of mammals, there have not been any sign of tiger activity in the park. The best time to visit the national park is around March and April.
One of the most visited and popular safari parks in Thailand will definitely be the Khao Kheow Open Safari, ideal for the entire family. Various activities are offered at the safari for all ages that will keep you busy all day long. Located in the Chonburi province, you will have the opportunity to meet and greet countless species of exotic animals during the safari. If you are not keen to walk on your foot, you can always get on the free tram rides and stop at every station so that you can watch the animal shows. You can also join the Night Safari, escorted by expert tour guides for more adventurous activities.
As I have listed above, there are so many places and destinations for you to choose from. Therefore, plan wisely, suit your vacations with the best times recommended for you to visit any of the places for a greater experience. One more thing, do not forget to bring your cameras along so that you are able to capture the precious moments you have along your journey.