Tucked away in a forgotten corner of the subcontinent, Bangladesh has spent the years since independence far removed from the tourist trail. Perhaps overshadowed by the ornate monumental splendour of its Indian neighbour, Bangladesh has for years been passed over by all but the most intrepid of travellers.
Bangladesh however is one of Asia’s most surprising destinations. Home to some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, the country is blessed with an incredible diversity of natural and cultural gems. The unique landscapes of the Sundarbans and the Hill Tracts are home to a mix of flora, fauna and indigenous tribes that far belies its small stature, whilst the verdant hills around Srimangal produce some of the finest teas in the world.
With lost Buddhist kingdoms, haunting ship graveyards and a capital city that is one of the fastest growing in the region, Bangladesh truly is one of the Indian subcontinent’s most refreshing and fascinating destinations.
Arrive at Dhaka airport and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.
Today we will explore the sights of Dhaka, one of the most populous cities on earth, shaped by Mughal rulers and the British Raj. Tonight we will take an overnight ferry out of Dhaka as we head south.
Arriving into Pirojpur this morning, we disembark the boat and continue by road to Khulna, stopping en route at Bagerhat to visit the impressive Sixty Dome Mosque.
Today we join our privately chartered boat and journey deep into the heart of the Sunderbans, an incredible wilderness of mangrove forest and freshwater swamps that cover this vast delta.
We will continue our exploration of the Sunderbans today. Home to Bengal tigers, estuarine crocodiles and some 260 species of birds, this incredible network of islands, creeks, and mud-flats provide the setting for an unforgettable boat trip.
Cruising slowly back to the mainland, we will have much of the day to enjoy these waterways before spending the night in Khulna.
We travel north by train to Rajshahi today, famed for being the center of the country’s silk industry. This afternoon we’ll visit the Hindu temples at nearby Puthia as well as the fading Maharani’s Palace.
Driving to Paharpur, we will visit the UNESCO site of Somaparu Mahavihara, a Buddhist monastery dating back to the 8th Century, before continuing on to Bogra.
Today we cross the impressive Jamuna Bridge to reach eastern Bangladesh. We spend the next two nights in Srimangal, in the heart of Bangladesh’s verdant tea country.
We will visit Lowacherra National Park today, home to many bird species and the Hoolock gibbons. We also have the opportunity to cycle around the local tea estates and villages of the area.
Today’s drive brings us to Chittagong on the banks of the Karnaphuli River and home to Bangladesh’s busiest seaport. En-route into the city we hope to see the ship breaking yards that it is famous for.
Leaving Chittagong we head into the fertile hills of south-eastern Bangladesh, one of the most remote regions in the country, and to the town of Bandarban in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Today we have the opportunity to discover something of the natural and human diversity of this area, exploring some of the local villages. One of the last bastions of Buddhism in South Asia, the Hill Tracts are home to 15 different ethnic minorities.
Driving back to Chittagong this morning, we will have a chance to see something of the city before flying back to Dhaka.
This morning we will visit Sonargoan, an ancient capital of Bengal ruled by Isa Khan in the 16th century, and Lok Shilpa Jadughar – the Folk Arts Museum. This afternoon there’ll be time for some last minute souvenir shopping before our final dinner.
In time transfer to Dhaka airport for onward flight to home or to next destination.