Boat Ride from Hell in Chitwan, Nepal

Boat Ride from Hell in Chitwan, Nepal

“What?… All seven of us are getting into that sliver-thin canoe?”

My first thoughts were of keeping my camera equipment safe in the event that we were to tip over.

We loaded single file into the tiny boat. Each person had to sit down before the other person could set foot in the boat in order to keep balance. Once the first person sat down, our guide then placed a small, wooden seat in front of them for the next person to sit on.


Boat Ride from Hell in Chitwan, Nepal


I wanted to be the last one on the boat, but of course there was always somebody else in my group who insisted they were helpless and needed to have special treatment. I had already spent ten days with the people in this group and I was a bit apprehensive about trusting them to keep the boat from tipping over.

Our guide was the last to pile in the boat and right before take off he has the nerve to say, “Keep your balance or we will tip over.”

My muscles tightened as I spent all of my concentration making sure I didn’t move an inch. I didn’t even want to get my camera from my bag. This boat trip would never fly as a tour in The States.

Our guide pointed out wildlife as our boat swayed back and forth. I had a hard time enjoying the scenery and kept wondering how long I would have to endure this boat ride.

And then my worst nightmare came true.

Our guide began pointing out all the crocodiles lounging in the water around us. Now my biggest fear is no longer ruining my camera equipment and photos, but the fact that tipping over could mean slow death by crocodile.

The other tourists in the boat began turning their bodies in order to get a better shot of the man-eaters along the shore and in the water causing our boat to rock more aggressively from side to side.

Finally, I yelled… “Don’t rock the boat!!”

Followed by our guide’s calm voice, “Sit still or we will tip over.”

All I wanted was for every person in the canoe to stop talking and moving so we could regain our balance. I didn’t even want anybody to breathe.

The next twenty minutes were all a blur. When our boat docked along the mud embankment, I could finally feel the calming of my heartbeat.

I wish I could say that was the extent of my life-threatening experience, but the drama continued.

Once on dry land, our guide insisted we gather for a pep talk before we entered the walking part of our tour through the jungle.

“Now I want to prepare you for what to do in the event that we are spotted by a rhinoceros, a tiger or a bear.”

“Seriously?! I think I want to get back on the boat!!!!”

You can read Part II to this story here: Nature Walk from Hell



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  1. Jeremy Branham says:

    Is there going to be a part II to do this or did you only have time to write this part before being trampled by a rhino? ๐Ÿ™‚

    While not a canoe, I share some of the fears of a boat in the water.ย  Went white water rafting near Coloma a few years ago only to be flipped out in frigid waters on the very first and longest part of the rapids.ย  I got stuck in the corner in freezing water with about a mile’s worth of rapids to go through.ย  It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Ha! Stay tuned for part II where I talk about all of our animal encounters and how I had to fight them off with my bare hands. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your story sounds scary. I can’t imagine falling out of one of those boats in rapids.

  2. LOL… yes, you really don’t know where it’s safer. In a canoe or on your feet on land! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I’m glad you know what I mean! The pep talk didn’t exactly make me feel any safer. Am I supposed to climb a tree, stare at a tiger or play dead for the bear?

  3. Dina VagabondQuest says:

    Hahaha, awesome story! We went salt water croc spotting in Australia, but the boat was not the kind can tip like yours. So dicey!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I would have been fine in a bigger boat that wasn’t so shaky. I swear our boat driver was messing with us too. :/

  4. Wow. I know how scary those crocs are, but I was in a MUCH sturdier boat. You’re so brave!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Well, I don’t know if I was brave because I considered not entering the boat once I saw how small andย unsteadyย it was.ย 

  5. LOL! Have you seen the tiger?? I went to Northern India in May, I looked for the tiger every single day and NOTHING! I was so disappointed..from the car though, not walking, or at least not at night when there is more chance to see it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Yea. I wish we had a car. ๐Ÿ™‚ We did see some tiger tracks. Our guide thought it was cool and I just wanted to get out of there! lolย 

  6. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Wow! I was nervous just reading about it. Can’t wait to hear what happens next.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I wasn’t planning on posting a part two, but I may have to now. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

  7. Jason and Aracely says:

    I would have panicked just like you, knowing we would have had our camera equipment too.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Haha. My first thoughts are always about my gear. People think I’m a totally wuss when it comes to rain because I run for shelter so my bag doesn’t get wet. I wouldn’t care about getting drenched if I didn’t have electronics with me all the time.ย 

  8. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    I like that your first thoughts are to keep your camera equipment safe.ย  Now that’s a true photographer… ๐Ÿ™‚

    I want to hear more!!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I guess I didn’t realize I had so much to tell in part two. Stay tuned. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ayngelina says:

    Yay new commenitng system!

    Was the plan if you saw a Rhino to jump in the water?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      That would have been awesome! If I saw a rhino, tiger or bear, my plan was to get the f** out of there.

  10. I don’t know why I was laughing hysterically while I was reading this – maybe because it seemed so ridiculous it could only be true ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      It was pretty ridiculous. I didn’t realize how ridiculous it was until I started telling the story to Scott and friends when I got home.

  11. Rease Kirchner says:

    Hahaha wow, that is one sketchy tour!

  12. yTravelBlog says:

    What a cool adventure- now that it is over and you are safe you can say that!!

  13. Geert @ Inspiring Travellers says:

    How scary! I’m terrified of crocs and would have completely freaked out!

  14. Peter Heck says:

    Crazy!!! I’m glad that your gear stayed dry. ย Oh and that you weren’t devoured by a croc, or a tiger, or a rhino, or a bear ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. LOL! What an adventure you had there!

  16. Great story – can’t wait to read what’s next…

  17. Emy @ North Carolina Marinas says:

    I appreciate for your courage. Even after seeing crocodile u all stay in the boat calmly? Nice adventure trip u had. :-O

  18. suzyguese says:

    Terrifying! I would have been so annoyed at the other tour goers rocking the boat for a good photograph. I hope you survived the rhinos ha!

  19. Even I had similar experience travelling on a thin canoe

    1. That scared the hell out when she told me about what she did! You are both crazy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. oh wow… Um.. I don’t like when people rock canoes or kayaks either. I don’t mind getting wet, but I like to be the one deciding that!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      LOL! Yea… I don’t like people making that decision for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Whoa. I read a little bit of that, but it’s a very long story. I’ll have to read it another time. Is it bad that I just want to know what happens at the end? ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. hahaha holy crap! I would of been freaking out at everyone else too! hahaha

  22. Candicewalsh says:

    Hah! I assume you didn’t get eaten by a bear…

  23. Ian Mallory says:

    Next time ask for a canoe with stabilizers like they have on bikes for kids to learn to ride, you’ll feel much safer ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Green Global Travel says:

    Feels as though traveling often causes us to feel the most insecure and unsure, but it is in those moments where truly experience new and greater things. Thanks for the great post!!


  25. The Travel Chica says:

    That is crazy!ย  I hate being dependent on the people around me like that.ย  The good thing is if the boat did tip or you got chased by a tiger, it sounds like you’d be the faster swimmer/ runner ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Me too! I think I have a trust issue with people. I don’t trust other surfers when I’m surfing either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Cam @ Traveling Canucks says:

    Haha… We had a similar experience. The briefing on what to do when you see a rhino conflicted with what to do when you see a tiger?! Climb tree or stop moving??

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Exactly!! Then he threw a bear in the mix who can climb trees. After his talk, I was like.. “Now what am I supposed to do again? I’m probably just going to end up screaming and running regardless of what I see.” ๐Ÿ™‚