Waterways, Wildlife and Hill Tribes
Bangladesh definitely isn’t the most obvious choice for a holiday destination. For travellers, its enormous neighbour to the west has long overshadowed it. In contrast to the well-frequented sites of India, Bangladesh experiences almost no tourism whatsoever. This makes it a real joy to explore and means that experiences are utterly authentic.
We start our two-week trip in the capital Dhaka, one of the world’s most populous cities, with its fascinating street life and historic sites. Since Bangladesh is a country defined by its waterways we then cruise south past timeless scenes of riverside life, on our way to the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. Here we explore the channels and islands in search of Bangladesh’s wildlife including monkeys, crocodiles and the majestic – but elusive – Bengal tiger.
The next stage of our journey explores the country’s complex history, visiting the impressive Hindu temples at Puthia and the remains of Bangladesh’s ancient Buddhist civilisation at Paharpur and Mahastangarh. From here we drive into the tea country of Srimongal, a charming area of beautiful plantations, traditional villages and a peaceful contrast to the country’s often hectic cities.
Finally, we explore a different side of the country as we venture into the Chittagong Hill Tracts, home to traditional ethnic minorities with their own cultures, customs and language. Here we visit tribal markets and villages to gain an insight into their unique way of life. These seem more akin to South East Asia than the rest of the subcontinent and are a highlight of the trip. Finally, we travel back to Dhaka by train.
Bangladesh surprises and charms those who visit, with exceptionally friendly people, intriguing historic sites and a wealth of wildlife packed into its compact borders.