Each year I try to head somewhere interesting – I am a confirmed cheapskate, so normally it is an impulse trip determined by where I can go without selling the kids. At least not until I can get a really good offer for them!!
Sitting at home (Christchurch, New Zealand) one day late 2015 I got an email from Air Asia (who I travel with frequently), letting me know about their upcoming sale. There and then I decided to go somewhere I hadn’t been before and that I knew nothing about – Bangladesh.
I then got busy doing other stuff and didn’t think any more about the trip until it was only a couple of weeks away.
I then sat down and tried to figure out where to go and what to do – because not that many people go there I struggled to get good solid information, so I decided to come up with a rough plan which I would amend (if needed) as I went. I was a well traveled, fit, solo travelling white male aged 54 – I figured I could smile when needed and improvise if required.
There had been some westerners murdered just before my departure and I had some friends try to counsel me not to go, so to be completely honest I boarded my flights with an equal mix of anticipation and nervousness.
In the end I was really happy with the way it all worked out – I had no dramas and everywhere I was met by the friendliest people I have met in my travels – because they don’t get many Tourists they are really inquisitive (in a nice way), and you will need to answer lots of questions. It is a densely populated country, and the majority don’t speak English (in my experience), but there are enough people that do to make it easy to find what you are after.
The map shows two things – firstly how bad my computer skill are, and secondly my rough route.
I decided to travel from Dhaka in a clockwise circle as follows:
Sylhet to Dhaka by plane.
Prior to going to Sylhet I flew from Dhaka to Kolkata and met an Indian friend who traveled with me to Nagaland and Manipur in remote eastern India for 7 days. After that I returned to Dhaka to carry on to Sylhet.
My trip commenced on 12 April and ended one month later, I didn’t go to the Sunderbans because I have seen plenty of mudflats, and have been lucky enough to see tigers in India – I didn’t want to drift for a few days through endless mangroves to see what I have already seen, and I also didn’t get time to go to the Chittagong Hill Tracts either.
I know that there is lots more to see, but I felt I got a good look with my itinerary.
The true highlight was the people, unfortunately they are also what can make travel dangerous in some countries, I was vigilant, and always aware of my surroundings – I only had good experiences – maybe some good luck also, but I will remember my month in Bangladesh with fondness.
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