Day 1: Dhaka arrival and a slow orientation to the city
Upon arrival at Dhaka airport, meet and greet your guide and transfer to a hotel in the Gulshan area (diplomatic zone). Depending on your availability, your guide will propose some activities. Night stay at a hotel in Gulshan or Banani
Day 2: Excursion to first capital; Sonargaon Cruise on Meghna River & primitive life of rural Char Village
Pickup at 8:30 AM from your place and leave Dhaka for Sonargaon. On the way, visit Nawapara Jamdani saree weaving village. UNESCO has recognized traditional Jamdani sarees as incredible works of art, but they are sadly vanishing. Drive towards the old capital of Bengal, Sonargaon, for another 20 minutes.
Sonargaon was the country's first capital, about 30km southeastern direction beside the Dhaka Chittagong highway. The 'Golden City' was also an important river port and the trading center for the world-famous muslin cloth in its primetime. The remains of many mosques, tombs, stupas, and a bridge in Panam Nagar, the Shiv Mandir (Hindu temple), and the well-maintained Folk-Art Museum are well worth visiting. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in the Sonargaon area, and we will continue to drive to Buiddyer Bazar. Here we take a country boat for a couple of hours of cruise on the Meghna (one of the major rivers in Bangladesh, which came from India). I am sure that you will be very interested in exploring the primitive Char village life. Char is a transient sandy island that resulted from river erosion and sedimentation. There are thousands of chars in Bangladesh, from the northern part to the south coast. This char can disappear by flood, high tide, or any natural disaster or so. Lives in the Char are minimal; access to medical care and education is very tough, impossible in some areas. Return home late in the afternoon. Overnight at the same hotel in Dhaka
Day 3: Exciting Old Dhaka walk, meeting people; experience life and culture
This is an elaborate trip to Old Dhaka. Old Dhaka is a place where you can spend a couple of days walking on the streets. Be ready to take pictures, meet friendly people, walk through heritage sites, and learn about their culture. We will come to pick you up with a reserved vehicle from your place at 8 a.m. This tour takes you to the heart of Dhaka. Sadarghat (Riverfront), shipbuilding yard, Armenian Church, Pink Palace, Star Mosque, Dhakeswari Temple, Lalbagh Fort, Curzon Hall, a local garment factory, a few Hindu streets (Shankharia and Tanti Bazar), carpenter street, bicycle street, and Bongshal residential area would be our excursion route. A rickshaw ride is an option instead of walking. We would offer you a short cruise on the Burigonga River by country boat, an incredible experience. We will invite you to a typical lunch at a local restaurant (simple but nice and clean). We shall get back to your hotel by late in the afternoon.
Day 4: Past Glory, Present Development – trip to pottery and brass artisan villages
Leave Dhaka at 7:30 AM for Manikganj, located about 70 km from Dhaka. Drive to Baliati Palace Museum. A twenty-minute walk through the picturesque landscape brings you to some of the abandoned Hindu palaces in the nearby village. Dipping into the rural and peaceful village life Visit Eshore Chandra High School, the first certified high school in East Bengal. Then, continue driving towards Dhamrai for famous brass artisans and pottery village excursions. During the Bengali month of Ashar (June–July), the colorful Hindu festival 'Ratha Jatra' takes place here. The large 'Rath', similar to a Roman chariot, can be seen throughout the year. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant on the way. The tour will continue to Nayarhat, where you will leave the vehicle and take a short boat journey to Kakran. Here, most villagers are engaged in the pottery trade.
After returning to the vehicle, we will head back towards Dhaka. Overnight stay at your hotel.
Day 5: Morning flight to Sylhet and afternoon City sightseeing
According to your flight time, you will be picked up from your place and transferred to the domestic airport for a flight to Sylhet. Welcome to Sylhet, the holy city. After the check-in formalities and a bit of rest, we would invite you for a city tour. Today's excursion will include a visit to the holly Mausoleum of Hazrat Shah Zalal, who brought Islam to this part of Bangladesh. Walking along the Keane's Bridge neighborhood and the old marketplace is interesting. In such a small place, so many things are happening simultaneously, which is fascinating to observe. Enjoy the sunset from Keane's bridge over the Shurma River. It is nice to walk around the worker's residential colony, just on the other side of the Shurma River. Meeting friendly people is always lovely, and learning their life stories can be a lesson for a lifetime. These are just ideas of what we think you will be interested in! Please discuss with your guide what exactly you are interested in seeing. He has the right to make necessary adjustments to the itinerary to make the trip nicer. Overnight at the hotel (Shuktara, Rose View, Metro, Nazimgarh Resort) in Sylhet.
Day 6: Enchanting hilly area and a beautiful cruise on Lalakhal
After breakfast, start for a full-day excursion around Jaflong and Tamabil. Located amidst a splendid panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on the Sylhet-Shillong Road (55 km from Sylhet City center). Sights of the waterfalls over the hilly zone across the border add to the charming views. Jaflong is a picturesque spot nearby, amidst tea estates and the beauty of rolling stones from hills. The hardship of primitive stone collectors is the darkness behind the beauty. We should probably meet these people and listen to their daily struggles before complaining about our lives.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Jaflong, drive to Lalakhal to enjoy a scenic and refreshing country boat cruise. Overnight at the hotel (Shuktara, Rose View, Metro, Nazimgarh Resort) in Sylhet
Day 7: Sylhet to Sreemangal
Check out of your hotel and drive (2.5 hours) to Sreemangal by reserved car. Upon arrival, check in at the Grand Sultan Hotel. Enjoy the natural surroundings and hotel amenities until late noon. Your guide will offer you some activities, such as visiting tribal villages in Bazar or hiking through the tea estates and fruit plantations. Overnight stay at Hotel Grand Sultan Tea Resort (you can also skip activities for this afternoon and just relax in the resort and enjoy nature.)
Day 8: Lawacharra National Park, Khashia Tribal village, bird watching trip to Baikka Beel
Your local guide will offer you a rewarding wildlife trek through the nearby Lawacharra National Park. Early morning is a good time to explore the abundant and diverse wildlife. Lawacharra Forest is one of the last remaining tropical rainforests in the country and home to many endangered and rare species; Hollock Gibbons is one of the most prominent. A few hour's tracts through the dense forests are heaven for birdwatchers, naturalists, and adventure seekers alike. After lunch, drive to Baikka Beel, a permanent wetland and bird sanctuary. Depending on the seasons, we offer either a boat trip (summertime: April to September) on this marshland or birdwatching (wintertime: October to March) and a nature-loving trip.
It is a beautiful marshland where thousands of lilies and lotus bloom. Birdwatchers and nature lovers have begun frequenting it. An observation tower promises visitors a good view of the Beel, its residents, and winter visitors. During the winter season, many migratory birds find their nesting grounds at this place. Among many migratory birds, some species have found their home here for living and nesting permanently.
Please note that around a 3km road just before the wetland is in lousy condition, difficult to access by sedan cars, but no problem for 4x4-driven vehicles (Jeeps) or even minivans. Either we have to walk three kilometers or drive by a 4x4 vehicle (rainy season).
Drive back to the resort for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 9: Sreemangal to Dhaka by Train
You will be transferred to the train station according to your train ETD. Have a pleasant train journey to Dhaka. Upon arrival at Dhaka Train Station, you will be transferred to Sadarghat to avail of your overnight Launch to Barisal.
Here is the Sreemangal to Dhaka train timetable:
Train Schedule between Sylhet (ZYL)-Dhaka Airport Train Station (ATS) and Dahak, Kamalapur Station (KRS):
|√ Kalni Express
Head towards Sadarghat River Port to embark on your overnight launch. Overlooking the Burigonga River’s evening activities is like watching an unlimited live television, which you can't stop looking at. Your launch will leave between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. You may have a wonderful dinner at the rooftop restaurant of the Sadarghat terminal building. They have a nice kitchen with some Asian fusions. Your guide will share the exact departure time of your boat, so you can manage your time accordingly. Have an adorable journey. Barisal is the last destination of your boat; therefore, you don’t have to rush to disembark right on arrival in Barisal. Your guide will advise you on the exact meeting and departure time after consulting with your captain.
Launch departure (Sadarghat) and arrival (Barisal) information:
Rocket/Paddle Steamer is no longer in operation; there is no idea of its return. The only river journeys a tourist may experience would be by a privately owned public launch route between Dhaka and Barisal, which leaves between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. from Sadarghat. It is a recommended trip to experience the beautiful and calm cruise and travel life on board. You are welcome to walk around your ship, meet people, make friends, and take pictures. In normal situations (of weather, tide, and fog), the launch arrives between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. at Barisal.
Cabins in the Launch:
There are various cabins in a launch: single, double, family, VIP AC, and non-AC cabins. Regular single and double cabins are the simplest and cheapest, with a few common bathrooms shared by 20–25 cabins. A sensitive person may find difficulties in using a common bathroom being used by a large traveling crowd. Even the cabins near the common bathroom would feel the strong bathroom smell. VIP cabins always offer the best facilities, including a big bed for two adults, a European bathroom attached, a private balcony, and some seating spaces. All VIP cabins are located in an isolated zone of the ship. The bed in the VIP cabins varies from queen/king to twins from ship to ship. Of course, this is the most expensive class on the ship. This trip includes VIP cabins for our guests’ comfortable journey. Good sleep, privacy, and hygiene are important. Our guests always deserve more; there is no compromise on comfort on the journey, as well as safety and privacy. A budget traveler should express their opinion regarding their cabin preference.
Launch and cabin for you:
The name of your launch is [TBA], and we will reserve a nice VIP double cabin for you. And the boat will leave Sadarghat around 8:30 p.m.
They serve Bangla food (plain rice, mixed vegetables, chicken, and fish). Curries and daal) according to your order, in the dining area of the ship, located inside the VIP Zone. They require pre-orders to get the food on time. It is better to settle the bill at night to avoid a rush in the morning.
Restaurants in Sadarghat:
There is a nice restaurant on the terrace of the Sadarghat River terminal building, overlooking the busy river ‘Buriganga’. The food is nice, and the view is charming. The menu has a selection of local and European-style food with Bangla influences, mild and spicy.
Barisal is the last stop of the boat you are riding on, so it doesn’t matter how early the boat arrives in Barisal. We can wait inside the launch until daylight is up, and then we can disembark. It is best to leave the launch by 6 AM; otherwise, the floating markets won't be there when we get there.
Day 10: Backwater tripl floating market- endless impression about the nature, riverine life
Leave the hotel at 6 AM for Banaripara (40 km, 1 hour) by reserved vehicle. Here we embark on a country boat for a daylong backwater trip. Exploring life, people, and their daily activities while watching from the boat is charming. We will get off at some interesting village marketplaces and schools in the rural area. There are some weekly floating vegetable, fruit, and timber markets on our route. It's spectacular to see how the manual laborers load and unload all the giants' logs just by hand. The cruise is for 5–6 hours, but the impression is endless. There will be sufficient drinking water, light snacks, local fruits, and tea or coffee on the boat, and you can enjoy a lovely lunch with a local family in a nearby village. Walk around the village and explore the local craftsmanship and rural life. Otherwise, you can also visit some modern and ancient architecture before driving back to your hotel in Barisal. We will take a short walk through an interesting fish market. Dinner and overnight stay in Barisal.
Day 11: Bagerhat – the city of past glory and magical mangrove forest Sundarbans
Leave Barisal after breakfast at your hotel for Bagerhat by reserved vehicle (1.5 hours). The Historic Mosque The City of Bagerhat is an ancient city, formerly known as Khalifatabad, founded by the Turkish general Ulugh Khan Jahan in the 15th century. This city contains some of the most significant Muslim architecture of the initial period. Welcome to the marvelous sixty-domed mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the mausoleum of Khan Jahan Ali. Continue a scenic drive to Mongla by reserved vehicle and embark on the houseboat for the Sundarban trip ( or spend the night at the Pashur Motel, Mongla)
Pashur is a very basic category hotel, owned and maintained by the government, with better security, and the rooms are cleaned with air conditioning and attached bath facilities.
A houseboat is not a luxury but has enough space, delicious local foods, rooms, a bathroom (dining area on the upper deck), and some crew and guards' rooms on the backside of the boat. The boat has been nice and clean for a couple of days.
Day 12 - Sundarbans – Forest between Land and Sea
The boat shall start its cruise towards the south for a couple of hours. The boat will anchor at a forest station to complete the necessary forest permission and pick up some forest-armed guards to accompany us during our stay in Sundarban. Depending on the tides and weather, the ship will be cruising through the mangrove forest. Reach Kotka/Kochikhali Forest Range station (southeast) late in the afternoon. If we are allowed daylight, your guide will offer you an exploratory rowboat cruise through a narrow mangrove to catch a glimpse of the unique flora and fauna.
All meals and overnight stays are on board.
Day 13 - Sundarbans – The Beautiful Forest
After an early morning excursion on the small boat, you are invited to join an easy hike along the sea-facing beach. With the mangrove forest on one side and the Bay of Bengal on the other, how seasonal and climate-induced changes shape this ever-changing forest becomes apparent. The boat will meet you on the other end of the walk, near Kotka Forest Station. This is the ranger station in the Eastern Sanctuary, one of the three Sundarbans sanctuaries with UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition. A silent evening boat ride will allow you to get a closer look at some of the wildlife inhabiting the biologically most diverse mangrove forest in the world.
All meals and overnight stays are on board.
Day 14 - Living with Tides and Tigers – People of the Sundarbans Forest
After the early morning exploratory boat trip, the ship will start cruising north through the mangrove forest. You will have the opportunity to observe fisherfolk at work in the channels, using various fish, crab, and shrimp-catching gear. If you are interested, we may have an opportunity to visit one of the communities along the forest fringes highly dependent on the Sundarbans' resources. Having an early lunch on board, disembark in Mongla and avail the awaiting transport to Khulna (1-hour drive) bus or train station or to Jessore (4 hours drive) to avail a flight to Dhaka. Upon arrival at Dhaka airport, you will be received and transferred to your hotel by a reserved vehicle.
[If your flight is in this evening, we will make our whole-day plan accordingly.]
Day 15: Leaving Bangladesh for coming back
You will be transferred to the Dhaka international airport, according to your flight time.
At this point, we will say goodbye to each other and meet again.