Hidden Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Culture | Tribal

Bustling cities, remote villages & cruise rural backwaters

13 days £2,595 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Take the path less travelled on a voyage through Bangladesh. Begin your journey in the vibrant capital of Dhaka and experience a night on the iconic Rocket Steamer. Take in the ancient Muslim city of Bagerhat, home of the Sixty Pillar Mosque. Glide among the mangrove trees of the Sundarbans on the lookout for tigers, and barter at the floating markets on the Backwaters of Barisal. Browse traditional indigenous handmade wares and experience the way of life of local tribes first hand.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • The bustling city of Dhaka
  • Iconic Rocket Steamer
  • UNESCO Sixty Pillar Mosque
  • Sundarbans canal cruise
  • Floating markets on the Backwaters of Barisal
  • Buddha's relics at The Golden Temple

Places Visited

Dhaka - Bagerhat - Khulna - Sundarbans - Barisal - Sonargaon - Chittagong - Bandarban

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights (if relevant - refer to itinerary)
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrival

Arrive into Dhaka airport where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Dhaka.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh. With a population of 18 million, it is one of the most populated cities in the world. Filled with national monuments, Dhaka became known as the 'City of Mosques' during the rule of the Mughals in the 17th century. It contains more rickshaws than any other city on earth.

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Day 2 : Old Dhaka - Rocket Steamer

After breakfast, spend the whole day exploring the city. Enjoy a ride on a rowing boat, or rickshaw through the Old Town. Towards the end of the day travel to Sadarghat port to board a Rocket Steamer. Overnight on the boat.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Founded in 1608 as Jahangir Nagar, Old Dhaka is a term used to refer to the historic old city of Dhaka. Located on the banks of the Buringanga River, this city was once the centre of the world’s muslin trade. Old Dhaka is famous for its variety of food and culture, with many religions living in harmony celebrating festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Muharram, and the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja together.

The Sadarghat, meaning City Wharf, is located in the south of Dhaka. Set on the Buringanga River, it's the busiest port in the country in terms of passengers despite no longer being used by larger boats due to shoaling and the downsizing of inland waterways. Small boats, barges and steamers still utilise the port. The Sadarghat is also known for its floating fruit and vegetable market.

The Rocket Steamers of Bangladesh have been transporting locals and tourists since the early 20th century. Now powered by diesel, these paddle steamers were once the fastest vessels on the river. Both local and Western cuisine is served on board as you coast along the Buringanga river.

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Day 3 : Hularhat - Bagerhat - Khulna

After breakfast on board the Rocket, drive to Bagerhat UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore the ancient Muslim city. En-route, stop at the local village market to peruse the handmade goods. Drive from Bagerhat to Khulna. Overnight in Khulna. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Bagerhat is home to a medieval Muslim city built in 15th century BC. Bagerhat was recognised by UNESCO in 1983 for its unique Khan-e-Jahan architecture, the only example of this in the world. The most famous and oldest mosque on the site is Shat Gombuj Masjid – the Sixty Pillar Mosque. Bagerhat contains over 360 baked brick buildings, mausoleums, mosques and bridges.

Khulna is the third largest city in Bangladesh. It has a population of 650,000 and is an old river port serving the Rupsha river. It became a part of Bengal in the 12th Century, and has been ruled by both Muslim and Hindu sovereigns. The architecture reflects this, with many ancient mosques, temples and other religious buildings evident throughout the city. The city is considered the gateway to the Sundarbans.

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Day 4 : Khulna - Sundarbans

After breakfast, visit Grameen Bank Micro Credit Program and explore the rural markets. Then proceed to Mongla to board a boat. Cruise through the Sundarbans and enjoy bird spotting on a trek through the jungle. Overnight onboard boat inside forest. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Sundarbans forest is a vast forest located in the Bay of Bengal. It covers 10,000 square km, split between Bangladesh and India, and is the largest coastal mangrove forest in the world, despite being one third of its original size. It was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997 following the 1992 designation as a Ramsar Site of Ecological Importance. The forest is packed with flora and fauna, including Bengal tigers. Sundarban literally translates to “beautiful forest”.

The Grameen Bank is a microfinance organisation and community development bank, opened in 1976 by Professor Muhammed Yusuf. The famine of 1974 in Bangladesh inspired him to open a bank that issues small loans to the impoverished with no collateral to stimulate businesses and reduce widespread poverty. In 1983 Grameen was declared an independent bank, and shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Professor Yusuf.

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Day 5 : Sundarbans - Mongla

Rise early for a cruise down the river in a country boat. After breakfast, explore more of the jungle by foot. Return to the boat and head towards Chandpai forest office, where you will visit a fishing village. Return to the boat and proceed to Mongla. Overnight in Mongla.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Mongla - Barisal

In the morning, experience rural life on the river via a boat ride through paddy lands. Once finished, continue on to Barisal. Overnight in Barisal 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Barisal is a city situated in the bank of the Kirtankhola river. Known for its paddy growing, this town is Bangladesh’s biggest rice producer. Large and small rivers dominate the area, leading some to dub it “Venice of the East”.

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Day 7 : Barisal - Backwaters - Barisal

After breakfast, drive to Banaripara and spend the whole day on the Barisal Backwaters. Enjoy the floating markets and learn the cultures of the local people. Overnight in Barisal.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Backwaters of Barisal are full of the winding rivers and canals of the Ganges Delta. The traditional mode of transport across the water is the country boat. Floating markets selling guava, rice and vegetables operate on the water. For the residents of Barisal, this is a way of life.

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Day 8 : Barisal - Dhaka

After an early breakfast, enjoy a short sightseeing trip of Barisal's lakes and churches. Then continue towards Dhaka to board a ferry along the River Padma, which will take you along the main channel of the Ganges. Once in Dhaka, arrive at your accommodation. Overnight in Dhaka.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 9 : Dhaka - Chittagong

After breakfast, proceed to Chittagong. Along the way you will stop at the city of Sonargaon and the Maynamati War Cemetery in Comilla. Once in Chittagong you will be transferred to your accommodation. Overnight in Chittagong.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Sonargaon, or the 'City of Gold', was the ancient capital of Bengal. Home to the administrative seats of medieval Muslim rulers and governors, Sonargaon was a bustling city of trade and commerce. It contains some of the oldest buildings in the whole of Bangladesh.

The Maynamati War Cemetery in Comilla commemorates allied soldiers from both world wars. Totalling 736 Commonwealth burials, including soldiers from Burma and other areas, the cemetery is separated into Christian and Muslim graves.

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Day 10 : Chittagong - Bandarban

After some early sightseeing of the shrines of Chittagong, you will arrive in Bandarban. The rest of the day is free for you to explore or spend at your leisure. Overnight in Bandarban.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Chittagong is the second largest city in Bangladesh, with a population of 6.5 million. It’s a coastal seaport. The history of the city dates back to the 4th century BC, and the old quarter contains ancient mosques, sufi shrines and churches. Cleaner than a lot of cities in the country, the roads are filled with rickshaws. Chittagonians are known for hosting huge feasts called mezbani which mainly consist of very hot curries.

Bandarban is a remote district within the Chittagong Hill Tracts with a population of under 300,000. There are fifteen known tribes within the area, including the Marma, Tripuri and Chakma people. The three tallest peaks in Bangladesh are located here - Tahjinding (1280 metres), Mowdok Mual (1052 metres) and Keokradong (883 metres).

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Day 11 : Bandarban

After breakfast, enjoy the whole day exploring Bandarban and its many sites. Visit the Golden Temple and discover the Marma tribal villages and markets. Overnight in Bandarban.
 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Golden Temple or 'Buddha Dhatu Jadi' is a Buddhist temple in Bandarban. Dhatu, meaning material remains of a holy person, in this case refers to the relics of Buddha which are kept within the temple. The Buddhists believe these items bring peace of mind and happiness. The temple sits atop a 60 metre high hill and is the largest Theravada Buddhist Temple in Bangladesh.

The Marma tribe are the largest group of Theravada Buddhists and make up the majority of the Bandarban population. Other tribes that inhabit Bandarban include the Chakma people - the largest ethnic group in Bangladesh, the Tripura tribe, which has over 36 sub-groups, and the Tanchangya tribe, one of the first in the area to take up wet rice cultivation. There are over fifteen separate tribes within Bandarban.

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Day 12 : Bandarban - Chittagong - Dhaka

After an early breakfast, proceed to Chittagong to explore Foy's lake, shrines and museums. Then catch a flight to Dhaka. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Dhaka. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 13 : Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Extensions

Hidden Bangladesh (13 days)

Bustling cities, remote villages & cruise rural backwaters

Essential Bangladesh (14 days)

Mangroves, rural villages & ancient temples