Chilapata forest safari has been one of my dreams since my childhood. To explore my dream, I went to Chilapata forest on 24 November 2023.
If you love exploring dense forests and witnessing the beauty of wildlife, Chilapata forest might be an ideal one for you.
Chilapata forest is a famous dense forest located in North Bengal. Chilapata forest is very close to Jaldapara National Park, which is situated in Dooars.
In recent times, ‘Dooars’ has become more popular among tourists. Many people from various corners of the country come here for jungle safari.
Due to YouTube and social media, people know various places. I am one of them. So, when I went to Chilapata, I was very excited.
Before sharing my experience, let’s know some basics about Dooars.
Dooars is an alluvial floodplain in the northwestern region of India. The name Dooars signifies the gateway of Bhutan, one of India’s most popular neighboring countries.
Chilapata Forest is an elephant corridor between Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jaldapara National Park. The journey to discover new species is going on in this dense forest.
Chilapata Forest Travelogue: Day 1
I started my journey from Kalimpong on 24 November 2023. It was a long journey from Kalimpong to Chilapata. My trip was by cab.
Though I started my whole North Bengal journey three days ago, my first day was ‘Darjeeling’ via ‘Mirik.’
On the second day, I was in ‘Sittong,’ and on the third day, I was in Kalimpong.
So I experienced the diversity of nature, a variety of weather, natural beauty, and obviously, the food and lifestyle.
After around 7 hours of my long journey, I reached a resort near Mendabari. I booked a jungle safari before coming to Mendabari, so after getting the homestay, I contacted them.
As I reached the evening (almost) and tired, I decided to take a rest.
While I rested at ‘homestay,’ I experienced the forest ambiance. The peacocks were nearby.
It was a thrilling and outstanding experience in my life.
Being a wanderlust, I want to explore the offbeat and unseen beauties of nature.
Let’s share some information with you.
How to Reach Chilapata Forest
The best route is by train (I enjoyed it while returning from Dooars). You can catch a train from either New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri if you want to start from NJP or nearby.
From wherever you start, from Howrah to Sealdah, you need to reach New Alipurduar Junction Railway Station.
Many trains are available on this route.
You can enjoy the Vistadom experience here on this route.
You can reach Hasimara by train as well.
If you plan to go by airplane, you can reach Bagdogra and then pick a cab. Now you can avail Cooch Behar by flight.
The journey might be long, but the natural beauty around you makes you happy.
After reaching any nearby location of Chilapata forest (I stayed at Mendabari), you can start your jungle safari.
The best one is booking a jungle safari online. It saves you time and makes you comfortable while you plan to explore Chilapata Forest.
What is Costing of the Chilapata Jungle Safari
The Chilapata jungle safari charges depend on where you stay. As I remained in Mendabari, my cost was around INR 800.
For Chilapata Jungle Safari, you need to book a Jeep (or a safari cab). The Chilapata Jungle safari whole cab cost 4800 (divided into six persons).
There were six people in total.
Here, you must know one thing. The location of Chilapata Forest from your hotel or homestay matters in pricing. The nearer the Chilapata Forest, the less charges.
How Much is Hotel or Home Stay in Chilapata
You can only stay directly at Chilapata if you have a special license because Chilapata Forest is a reserved area.
For your information, I share mine and can give you an assumption.
I stayed at a ‘homestay’ at Mendabari in a double sharing room at INR 2124 (INR 1800+18%GST) only for lodging.
Folding charges were extra. It depends on what type of food you order.
The average folding cost is approximately INR 600/day/person.
The ‘hotel’ and ‘homestay’ charges depend on various factors like location, amenities, season, etc. The average cost of a hotel is around INR 2000.
Chilapata Forest Safari: Day 2
On day 2, 25 November 2023, I woke up at 5 am. The safari timing was at 6 O’clock.
I was very excited because this would be my first time experiencing a Jungle safari.
As per our Chilapata Jungle safari, the safari timing is around 1.30 hours. However, you can book a whole day with special permission and charges.
It was a bitterly cold morning. The temperature was around 12 degrees centigrade. But while I stood holding the Jeep hood, the wind speed and temperature were about 5 degrees centigrade.
However, with excitement, our Jeep entered the Chilapata Forest, and there, the officials checked our permission.
It took hardly 10 minutes. Then, our Jeep entered a dense forest.
Being woodland, the Chilapata Forest is dense. As it was early morning, sometimes the sunlight was dim.
I enjoyed the whole ride. The jungle itself is beautiful. I have never experienced any reserve forest before. So my excitement was very high.
Though the prime attraction was witnessing wildlife, I hardly saw a few animals.
A couple of Indian gaurs, some peacocks, some deer, an elephant (from the back), one wild pig, and some birds.
The mesmerizing thing is that we are in a cage, and wildlife is free in the Chilapata Jungle safari. I want nature to be free. Even I am against the Zoo because the animals are captive there.
I have seen the ‘Nalrajya Garh’, one of the oldest fort built in fifth century C.E. during the Gupta Period. Now almost ruin is there.
Though many other species are available in Chilapata Forest, you need to be lucky to witness them.
I learned from the safari guide that the ideal time to witness wildlife, mainly leopards, elephants, and rhinoceros, is summer because they come out of the dense jungle to the nearby safari roads.
I came to know that the road near Chilapata Forest goes to Bhutan. I had seen many cabs with Bhutan number plates.
I came back at about 8 O’clock from the Chilapata Jungle safari with happiness.
Some important information about the Chilapata Jungle safari may help you.
What is the Best Time to Chilapata Jungle Safari
Ideally, the best time for the Chilapata jungle safari is summer if you want to meet (see) wildlife. In general, Chilapata Forest is open almost the whole year except August and September.
Monsoon is the breeding season in forests in India. So, you can go to Chilapata Forest anytime except during the monsoon.
The ideal time to enjoy the weather and wildlife is spring, more specifically, the end of spring.
How Many Safaris Available in a Day
From my knowledge and experience, there are four trips a day. These four are:
- 6 am
- 8 am
- 1.30 pm
- 3.30 pm.
All safari timing may change. So check once before choosing one. Generally, the ideal time of the safari is 1.30 hours each.
This is another interesting piece of information I love to share.
Do you know which safari is best for seeing wildlife?
Probably the morning (6 am) and late afternoon (3.30 pm)
However, it depends on various factors.
Is Single Chilapata Safari Enough to Witness Wildlife
Many tourists ask, is a single Chilapata Forest safari enough to witness wildlife? It entirely depends on you.
There is no guarantee that you can see wildlife on several visits. But yes, there is a high chance of witnessing them.
If you love wildlife and want to witness them closely, you can try several times. Finally, everything is on your luck because nature doesn’t care about you.
What Documents Required for Jungle Pass
For the Chilapata Forest safari, the tourist must carry their original photo identity cards, like
Voter ID Card
Leave Chilapata for Jayanti with an Unexpected Experience
In the second half of the day, I left Chilapata and went to Jayanti. Jayanti is another beautiful Dooars offbeat destination you can explore. Before leaving Chilapata, I would like to share some information about what happened with me (us).
In the afternoon, before lunch, three forest officials came to our ‘homestay’.
You may think it is natural, but no.
Two of our neighboring tourists from the same homestay are in the restricted area of the Chilapata forest.
As per the forest officials’ timing, they entered the forest after 2-3 hours of jungle safari .
Due to that, the forest officials came to enquire about the whole thing in detail. There were four, and all cooperated with the inquiry.
Surprisingly, I (we) came to know that the ‘homestay’ was not registered, though I booked online through their Kolkata Office.
At the time of booking, they (the company) told us that it was their new property but did not say it was unregistered.
Knowingly, the company cheated us. First time I experienced it.
Due to security, I don’t disclose the name of the company and ‘homestay’ where I (we) stayed, but I have a request.
Please check if your hotel or ‘homestay’ is registered and has proper documentation.
My Final Thought
If you love wildlife and want to explore the forest, the Chilapata forest may be ideal. Every year, many tourists visit this beautiful woodland forest to quench their thirst for witnessing the woodland beauty. I have shared my experience in this article. I hope this article helps you to make the outstanding Chilapata Forest safari plan.