Kolkata & Sunderbans

India

Culture

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Dates & Prices

Intro


Discover the hidden secrets of India's colonial gem on a fascinating walking tour of Kolkata, visit Kumartuli's master sculptors who craft thousands of Hindu deities, and stop off in one of the largest flower and fruit markets in India. Cruise through the Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, home to swimming Bengal tigers, reptiles and birdlife.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kolkata’s imperial monuments & markets
  • Discover the real Kolkata on our walking tour
  • Cruise the world’s largest mangrove forest

Places Visited

Kolkata - Sunderbans

What's Included

Airport transfers
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Breakfasts and some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Itinerary
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Day 1 : Kolkata

Pick up early evening from Kolkata airport and transfer to hotel. Rest of day free. Overnight in Kolkata.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Kolkata

After breakfast depart for city tour of Kolkata. Take in Kolkata's rich colonial past with visits to the impressive Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral and the High Court. Stop off at the bizarre Marble Palace and cross the famous Hoogly River, the city's main trading post. Pay respect and witness the fantastic work at Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity, then head into one of Kolkata's most artistic areas - Kumartuli - famous for sculptures of Hindu deities which are used in elaborate Hindu ceremonies. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants. Overnight in Kolkata.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Often labelled the  "Cultural City of India", Kolkata is India's second biggest city and one of its major ports, located on the east bank  of the Hooghly River. Previously named 'Calcutta', it was the former capital of the British Indian Empire until 1911 and originally designed in the style of a grand European capital. As a result, Western influences can be seen throughout the city within its colonial-era architecture: Raj Bhavan, the state governor's residence, imitates Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the Indian Museum is built in the Italian style, while the Victoria Memorial Hall attempts to combine classical Western and Mughal architecture. Kolkata was also the centre of the Indian independence movement, and to this day still plays an important role in contemporary state politics.

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Day 3 : Kolkata - Sunderbans

After breakfast transfer to the departure point for your boat ride into the Sunderbans. Snacks and drinks served on board the boat. Check in to your cottage at the Camp. Savour an excellent lunch in the open buffet area. Leave for your afternoon boat ride along the Sunderbans many waterways and visit the watch tower. Tea/coffee and snacks served onboard. Return to camp for evening buffet dinner, followed by traditional folk dance and music. Overnight in Sunderbans.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sunderbans is a National Park, a Tiger Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve. It is home to one of the world's largest areas of halophytic mangroves and is also a hotspot for Royal Bengal tigers, boasting one of the highest Bengal tiger populations in India. Situated in Bangledesh, two-thirds of the park fall into the district of West Bengal. The name 'Sunderbans' literally means 'beautiful forest', and the reserve is very scenic, intersected by a series of waterways, tidal islands and mudflats, and boasting a diverse range of endemic plant species. There is also a significant Watch Tower which offers panoramic views of the area.

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Day 4 : Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Early morning tea served at your cottage. Set off on boat ride through mangroves and creeks in search of tigers. It's usually the best time to catch glimpses of these majestic predators. Breakfast served on-board. Stop off by bank, and take a canopy walk above the forest. Return to buffet lunch at camp. After a rest, take a walk to the local village, where you will see children walking home from school, beautiful thatched huts, open fields and a vibrant market place. Return to camp for tea and snacks, followed by a short film on the Sunderbans. Buffet dinner at camp. Overnight in Sunderbans.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 5 : Sunderbans - Kolkata

Morning tea served at cottage. Boat ride with breakfast on-board. as you cruise through more mangroves and creeks admiring the scenery as well as looking out for more of the Sunderbans wildlife. Return to camp for buffet lunch and then transfer to Kolkata by boat and minibus. Transfer to guesthouse for dinner. Overnight in Kolkata.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

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Day 6 : Departure

After breakfast embark on a fascinating half-day walking tour of hidden Kolkata. You will take in some of the lesser-known streets of Kolkata famous for carpentry and metalwork. Visit the colourful flower and fruit markets, one of the largest in India. Stop off for chai at one of the foodstalls. Hop on board the water taxi that ferries passengers along the Hooghly. Visit the area first colonised in Kolkata and also the house of Rabindranath Tagore, Bengal's most famous literary genius. Lunch en-route or back at hotel. Transfer to airport for return flight to Delhi/UK.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Extensions

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Spirit of South India (14 days)

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Reviews

This trip was very well put together and ticked all the boxes that we had requested. The accommodation throughout the tour was of a high standard and our experiences in the national parks was wonderful spotting many different animals including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, lions, jungle cat plus countless number of birds. Thank you Rahul for tailoring this trip to our requirements.

Nigel & Margaret Turner , Tailormade India Wildlife & Birding tour

Kolkata is a real eye-opener. The walking tour was a real highlight and our guide was great at showing me places I`d never have found otherwise. The Sunderbans was just beautiful. The guide was very friendly and the boat cruises were relaxing. My cottage was delightful and the food at the Tiger Camp was delicious. A great way to end the trip!

Jennifer , Raj, Tigers & Mangroves, India

I thought I missed the name of this tour when I was looking for wildlife trips, lions in India! Not only was I lucky to see a tigress and her cubs in Kanha, Satpura was also magical, particularly the walking safari. I saw a leopard dragging its kill away. Gir was so different, and yes, I can confirm lions do live in India! Thank you Travel The Unknown for a very different wildlife trip.

Danny , Tigers, Lions & Rhinos of India, India

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

Another fantastic trip with this company. WE really managed to get off the beaten track and have seen some amazing sights. Well put together. We will travel again with Travel the Unknown

Hazel & James Frost , Tailormade India

Wow, India is incredible and Travel The Unknown put together a trip that really showed the diverse nature of the country and cultures, from the busy capital Delhi to the splendour of the Taj Mahal and then off the main tourist trek with an overnight sleeper train to Varanasi on the Ganges, the Hindu religious capital with bathing , washing and cremations alongside the river - an astonishing experience. We then moved to the forgotten North East corner where there is a tribal culture in an area seemingly cut off from the rest of India. Our destination was the Living Root Bridges which are unique and remote. Just want to go back to India for more...

Ken Sankey , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Travel the Unknown put together an Itinerary in North East India - Living Root Bridges for me and a travelling companion. The accommodations, transportation, promptness of drivers, and knowledge of our guide was excellent. Easy booking from office and good pre trip information. Thanks TTU!

Christina Taft , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

I thoroughly enjoyed my tailor made tour of northwestern and central India. Guides and accommodations were excellent and we saw as much of the area as could be packed into two weeks. I look forward to another tour with Travel the Unknown.

Mary Trubek (USA) , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

This trip was my first time travelling with Travel The Unknown, but definitely not my last!

Lori Martin , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

I had been studying the Apatani Tribe for quite some time… I’m talking roughly 7 years! Travel The Unknown made my dreams come entirely true. They organized every aspect of my experience in the most minute detail. I have never felt such confidence in an agency nor worked with one more knowledgeable about their destination. Because of them and their kind efforts, I will continue to travel with Travel The Unknown for all future expeditions to this or similar regions. Thanks, Travel The Unknown, for everything!

Christian Noni , Tailormade North East India

Gotta say thanks to Travel The Unknown for organising my fascinating trip to a little-known area of the world. The scenery was fantastic, food was amazing, the guide was great and the living bridges were inspiring. An India not many get to see. Thanks again.

Stephen , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India
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