A South Asian secret best revealed among its waterways and tea-clad hills
DOESN’T INDIA OFFER RICHER EXPERIENCES?
Bangladesh’s top experiences rival those of its neighbour to the west, especially when it comes to tea and tigers. The Sundarbans region supports as many as 400 rare Bengal tigers, the world’s largest single population, roaming the largest mangrove forest. Set over gently rolling hills, the tea plantations of Srimangal are a dream for hikers and cyclists. Plus there are historic treasures aplenty.
ISN’T IT FLAT AND WET?
Rainy it can be (visit during the October to March dry season), but all that water makes for wonderfully green, lush scenery – and feeds the web of over 700 rivers quintessential to life here.
A river journey is a highlight of any trip, whether floating along in a small rowboat or staying on one of the last Rockets, paddle-wheel steamers from the 1920s. The forested peaks of Chittagong and Sylhet meanwhile offer some height (and hikes).
WHAT SORT OF WELCOME CAN I EXPECT?
Travel in Bangladesh tends to be slow-paced but rich, with many opportunities to explore local culture. The few tourists to the country generally experience a warm, open reception and less of the hassle encountered in more high-profile tourist destinations within India. Even with a population of 150 million it’s possible, in quieter rural areas, to feel like you have the country all to yourself.
HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?
Bangladesh’s tourist facilities are still developing, so it’s best to go with an operator. Exodus’s 15-day Discover Bangladesh trip includes a cruise in the Sundarbans, Srimangal’s tea plantations, and Unesco-listed temples and mosques (from £1,949 inc flights). Explore offers trips combining Bangladesh with India (15 days from £1,819 inc flights;), as well as with Bhutan and Nepal.