Discover Bangladesh, the greenest gem of Asia, carved with waterways which are the veins of the country and hill top villages bursting with tribal culture.
Starting in the hectic city of Dhaka, escape the chaos as you venture through lush landscapes of hundreds of hues of green dotted with bursts of colour from tea plucking ladies and wayside markets. Weave through the landscape by boat, allowing you to experience the country from a different perspective. Uncover hidden Buddhist temples and ruins whilst also learning about the blend of Hindu, Christian and tribal religions. Cruise through the Sunderbans in search of the elusive Bengal Tiger and home to an array of other wildlife. The experiences you will have travelling through Bangladesh are raw, eye opening and heart warming.
Exploring this untouched land, you will feel like you are pioneering the way for tourism. Embrace the quirks and beauty this incredible country has to offer and soak up every experience. There is nothing else like it in the world.
Welcome to Bangladesh! On arrival in Dhaka, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.
Dhaka is chaotic and loud. Running to its own rhythm, the city runs high on energy. Initially, it can be overwhelming – the traffic, the smog, the heat, but once you look beyond the surface level disarray, the city’s charm will encapsulate you with its charismatic colours and rich culture. From clanky rickshaws to bobbing boats in the never ending thread of waterways, a blend of Mughal and British monuments will shine through showcasing the history. The cities spiritual side will begin to appear in the form of temples and mosques. The local street scene of funky art and foodie scenes will emerge, giving you a glimpse at the huge potential this country tucked on the shores of West Bengal can offer the traveller prepared to delve a little deeper.
Depending on your arrival time, you may wish to explore the historical old quarters of Puran Dhaka, including the Shankhari Bazaar. This fascinating city was once one of the most prosperous cities in Asia.
Situated on the banks of the Buriganga River is Ahsan Manzil, the former official residential palace of the Nawab Family, it is now a national museum. You may also wish to visit Dhaka University, the oldest university in modern Bangladesh.
Overnight The Way Dhaka or similar
After breakfast, drive to Srimongal (approx 234 km), the tea capital of Bangladesh. En route stop at Zestat Holiday Resort to freshen up and enjoy lunch. You will reach Srimongal in the afternoon and transfer to your hilltop tea resort.
Take in your surroundings. Rolling hills blanketed in lush tea plantations as far as the eye can see, thick forests rich with bird life and tribal villages scattered throughout the valleys.
This evening is free at leisure. Why not take a leisurely walk through the adjacent verdant tea gardens and observe colourful local birds and ladies quietly plucking tea. Have a chat with them or join in and try your hand at tea plucking! (B,L,D)
Overnight Dusai Resort & Spa or similar
Wake up in paradise. After breakfast, spend the day exploring the lush Lawachara tropical rainforest. This is one of the richest national parks to observe the rare species of the Capped Langur, Lorris, Ape Monkeys and the Hoolok Givon. You can also observe rare species of world’s largest butterflies including birdwing, triodes, ornithoptra which are measured to be 6 – 8 inches in length between their wings! For bird watchers, there are more than 286 species of local colourful birds. You will also have the chance to visit the tea processing centre, before heading to the indigenous villages Khasia and Monipuri situated along the beautiful Madhabpur Lake. Here you will have a change to engage with the tribal villagers and learn about their fascinating lifestyles and age old traditions. Srimongal is famous for being home to the world’s largest tea gardens along with its natural sanctuary to thousands of migratory birds during the winter as well as luminous orange and pineapple plantations. (B,L,D)
Overnight Dusai Resort & Spa or similar
After an early breakfast, drive to Comilla (approx 180 km) along the great Asian Highway passing through a wide expanse of green crop lands, wayside markets and forested villages, home to both indigenous and local people. Visit the most impressive archaeological sites of Salban Vihara at Moinamoti Lalmai hill range. Lalmai ridge was the ancient seat of Buddhist culture which flourished here from the 8th – 12th century by the Chandra & Deva dynasties. There are more than 50 archaeological sites excavated so far with rare collections of terracotta plaques, bronze and black stone statues, Votive Stupas along with other archaeological finds. Lunch today is at a local restaurant. If time permits, you can visit the ship breaking yard at Kumira (subject to local permission) on your way to Chittagong. (B,L,D)
Overnight Hotel Agrabad or similar
After breakfast, drive to Rangamati (approx 80 km, 3 hrs). Enjoy the beautiful landscape, scenic beauty and hanging bridge. Sitting on the edge of a man made lake, the town is a rice-milling and cotton-weaving centre and an agricultural market. This afternoon, visit a local weaving village. Spend time with the local ladies learning of this age old tradition and why not try your hand at weaving? This evening is free at leisure. (B,L,D)
Overnight Parjatan Hotel or similar
After breakfast, spend a lazy morning floating on the river as you cruise the clear waters of Kaptai Lake. You will visit Shuvolong waterfall which is best viewed after the rains when it is at full strength. Witness local fisherman fishing along the shore line and in small basic boats. You will visit the colourful tribes of the Chakma and Marma, where you will have a chance to mingle with the locals and learn of their fascinating lifestyles and cultural beliefs. Lunch today is at a tribal restaurant where you will get the true taste of tribal cuisine. Continue on to Bandarban (approx 170km, 6 hours) via a serpentine like road, where dinner this evening will be in a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
2 nights Holiday Inn or similar
This morning, visit a local village enroute where you can chat with the locals and perhaps join them for a tea. The journey of approx 2 hours, winds through the panoramic hill slopes covered with creeper jungles, tribal markets and is carved by the Sangu River. Visit Zadi Hill (7 km) to visit the famous Buddhist Golden Temple, the most ornamented Buddhist temple in Bangladesh. This Buddhist temple is made completely in the style of South East Asia and houses the second largest statue of Buddha in Bangladesh. This afternoon, enjoy a cruise along the Sangu River where you will visit a tribal minority village. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, drive to Cox’s Bazaar (approx 100km, 3 hours) before taking an exotic drive by the sea to Himchori. Take in the spectacular view of the Himchori waterfall and green views of the surrounding national park
Himchori National Park which houses the waterfall, is a beautiful tropical rainforest. Established in 1980, this place is maintained, protected and secured by the government for travellers. The park attracts many biologists as it is home to around 58 species of trees, 4 species of grass, 15 species of shrubs, 19 climbers and 21 species of herbs. The park is also considered as a paradise for birdwatchers. More than 286 species of birds can be found here.
From here, drive to Inani beach where you will have a packed lunch. The beach is famous for its huge rock and coral boulders. The coral stones look green and alive in the summer or rainy season. Soak up the endless view of the sea from here.
Drive to Cox’s Bazaar where you will overnight. (B,L,D)
Overnight The Cox Today or similar
After breakfast, visit the historical Maheskhali Island by crossing the bay channel via speed boat. The island is dotted with forested hills and some mangrove forests. The ancient ‘Adinath Temple’ perched on the hilltop along with the ‘Rakhain Village’ with its colourful Buddhist Temple, are a real standout.
Transfer to the airport to meet your domestic flight to Dhaka. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B,L,D)
Overnight at The Way Dhaka or similar
This morning is an early start as you drive to the airport to board your flight to Jessore. Upon arrival, drive to Bagerhat and visit 60 domed mosque which is UNESCO world Heritage site. The other side of the road is another small mosque built in traditional brick style. A few kilometres down to the road, there is the holy shrine of Saint Khan Jahan Ali and the main attraction is the crocodile in the lake. You will then visit Kodala Math-Shiva Temple.
Board your boat at Jailkhana khana Ghat in Khulna for the start of your adventure through the Sunderbans. The Sundarbans delta is the largest mangrove forest in the world and is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. This massive area is home to more than 400 Bengal tigers – possibly the highest concentration on the planet.
Accompanying the tigers are a plethora of other animals including a wealth of water birds, the fishing cat, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes. Under the waters of the Sundarbans you could find the Ganges dolphin, Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphin, Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise.
You will set sail heading south. After a few hours of cruising, the cruise ship will stop at a forest station to complete formalities and also pick up an armed forest guard to stay onboard. This is the jungle of course and there are tigers about! Continue cruising and arrive at Kotka / Kochikahli forest station late in the afternoon where you will anchor for the night. Overnight on board. (B,L,D)
Awake to the sounds of nature. Early this morning, explore the most promising Sundarbans forest for different wild animals and birds. Enjoy cruising the narrower canals by small country boat which is ideal for bird watching.
Following breakfast, there are several activities you can experience including climbing one of the watch towers to observe the wild animals from above or perhaps take an interesting jungle hike through the deep covered forest to take a closer look for wild animals and the tangle of mangrove vegetation. Walking through the jungle to Badamtala Beach (2.5 km) which will be a great experience as you follow the tiger trails down to the sand and through the savannah type grass lands before re-entering the densely covered forest. Return to your boat and sail for Kachikhali Island (Tiger Point – 2 hrs) which, as the name suggests, is famed for its wildlife habitat – especially as a tiger’s domain. This afternoon, set off on an adventurous forest hike, sheltered by the canopy before reaching the broad grasslands where you can easily observe vast herds of spotted deer and wild boar. To capture a glimpse of the burning bright shadow of the Royal Bengal Tiger is a common experience in this tiger reserve. Be sure to keep a look out! Return to your boat and enjoy a B.B.Q dinner. (B,L,D)
Depending on the tide schedule, once the waters are in, your boat will begin the return journey and cruise the whole day to arrive in Mongla early in the afternoon. Sit back and relax as you soak in the serene nature as you cruise peacefully through the creeks of the mangrove forest. After an early lunch on board, you will disembark and transfer to Barisal City. Enjoy dinner on arrival. (B,L,D)
Overnight Hotel Grand Park or similar
Set off this morning to explore the famous Barisal Floating Vegetable Market, the only one of its kind Bangladesh. There are only a few true floating markets left in the world – the others being the rowing shops along the backwaters of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and Dal Lake of Kashmir. As you weave through the canals, venture through the village as our guide introduces you to artisans and their families who will allow you to mingle with them and understand their lives. In this area, you have a very rare opportunity to observe the whole pottery circle from bringing pottery clay from the river bank by traditional wooden boat, converting it to clay from raw soil, then shaping and dicing it by manual wheel. From here, it will go into the oven to absorb the moisture and solidify before being painted, and then loaded onto a cargo boat for supplies to be shipped to different parts of the country. You will then take the rocket steamer to Dhaka. The heritage paddle-wheel Rocket steamer was built during the British colonial period and is still in service and playing a very important role for safe transport on the countries waterways. Overnight on the Rocket Steamer. (B,L,D)
Early this morning, you will each the Rocket Steamer Boat Station. After breakfast, set off for a full day of sightseeing to cover the old part of the city, home to the heritage of Mughal Era (1608) which has a charm of its own. Ornamented mosques, covered markets and bustling streets overflow with rickshaws and vendors. Visit the attractive Sadarghat waterfront, crowded with different types of boats and water crafts. Every day hundreds and thousands of passengers are transported by motor launches to and from this river port. Visit the wonderful historical Ahsan Manzil – the palace of Nawab of Dhaka, Ornamented Star Mosque, historical Curzon Hall of Dhaka University. Lunch today is in a local Bengali restaurant. Visit Aarong, famous for Bangladeshi handicrafts and products. (B,L,D)
Overnight The Way Dhaka or similar
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onwards destination. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.