Tour Duration: 6-Day, 5-Night
Location: Old Dhaka, Bagerhat, Mongla, and Khulna
Tour Attractions: Old Dhaka, Rocket, 60 Dome Mosque, Sundarbans
Best time to go: October – March
Tour Available: Year round starting with Sat, Sun, and Tue
Next Scheduled Tour: 23-28 Jul, 9-14 Aug, 20-25 Aug, 2019 | 24-29 Mar (3 Seats Available), 14-19 Apr, 26-31 May, 23-28 Jun, 2020
Overnight journey from Dhaka to Hularhat on the first-class cabin of century-old Rocket Paddle Steamer, including full-day sightseeing at Old Dhaka and Bagerhat to visit Lalbagh Fort, Ahsan Manzil, 60 Dome Mosque, and Kodla Moth. Three-day excursion on a small group to Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest on earth. You can visit 2 UNESCO world heritage site on this tour.
You’ll start by visiting Old Dhaka the whole day, and embarking Rocket paddle steamer in the evening. After a memorable overnight journey, visit 15th-century Muslim city Bagerhat the next day which is a UNESCO world heritage site and head toward Mongla. After that take a full 3-day excursion to Sundarbans which is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of Royal Bengal Tigers, monkeys, saltwater crocodiles, sweet water dolphins, and many species of birds. Best Sundarbans experience you can have in Bangladesh.
You can easily combine this tour with visiting India. After returning from Sundarbans to Khulna, instead of returning to Dhaka we can transfer you to Benapole/Petrapole border to cross over to Kolkata which is very close from Khulna. If you need airport transfers and accommodation in Dhaka before and after the tour, you can book our Sundarbans Safari Tour instead.
- Explore the largest mangrove forest on earth – Sundarbans, for full 3 day.
- Overnight journey on a century old paddle wheel steamer called Rocket.
- Visit historical sites at Bagerhat, a UNESCO world heritage city from 15th century, including 60 Dome Mosque.
- Full day tour of Old Dhaka including rickshaw ride on narrow streets and boat ride on Dhaka’s busy Buriganga river.
- Ride a Bangladeshi train – a unique experience.
Itinerary of Rocket & Sundarbans Tour
- Pick-up from your hotel and start at 08.00 H. Visit key tourist attractions in New and Old Dhaka the whole day, including Dhakeshwari Temple, Lalbagh Fort, Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque, Armenian Church, Star Mosque, Ahsan Manjil, and Sadarghat River Station.
- Ride rickshaw on the narrow streets of Old Dhaka where cars can’t reach. Pass through interesting Bazaars.
- Enjoy a short boat ride at river Buriganga in the evening on a wooden boat to feel the rhythm of the live and vibrant river and enjoy sunset.
- Embark Rocket Steamer at Sadarghat River Station at 18.00 H. A memorable overnight journey in Rocket Paddle Steamer to Hularhat.
- Overnight at Rocket (Sleeping Cabin)
- Enjoy the riverine beauty of Bangladesh from Rocket Steamer in the morning. Disembark from Rocket at Hularhat around 09.00 H.
- Drive towards Bagerhat (01 hr) in an air-conditioned car and visit the Mosque City of Bagerhat, a 15th century Muslim city once called Khalifatabad, which is the present day Bagerhat and is an UNESCO protected world heritage site.
- You’ll visit most of the remaining mosques from the 15th-century city Khalifatabad the whole day, including the 60 Dome Mosque, 09 Dome Mosque, Rono Bijoypur Mosque, and Singair Mosque. Also, we’ll take you to visit the shrine of Khan Jahan Ali, the saint general from the Turkish origin who came to spread Islam in this region and founded this great city; and Kodla Moth – a very beautiful Hindu temple from the 17th century. Drive to Khulna (01 hr).
- Overnight at Khulna (Hotel City Inn)
- Start at 6.00 H and drive to Mongla (1.5 hrs). Transfer to our waiting boat upon arrival, and head toward Sundarbans immediately. Breakfast will be served on the boat. You’ll be inside the forest within 15 minutes of starting the journey. Stop on a forest station on the way to complete formalities, and continue toward Kochikhali.
- We’ll go through many small canals and rivers with our small boat where big boats cannot go because of their size and the canals being shallow. Taking you through these rewarding narrow canals is the main point of this private tour on a small boat, where is your best chance to spot a tiger and many wildlife.
- Stop at Harbaria Eco Park and walk on its 30 mins trail for the first experience of Sundarbans. People on day tours at Sundarbans end up visiting up to this point, doing which we never recommend.
- Before sunset, explore a small canal on a noiseless wooden row-boat in search of wildlife. They come to drink water in the evening and morning on the creeks and canals. You’ll seat on the boat quietly and float by on a breath-taking environment listening to many birds singing, and the calls of many animals. We’ll reach Kochikhali in the evening and stop for the night hold.
- Stay overnight on the boat in a sleeping cabin, anchoring in the middle of the river in front of Kochikhali forest station.
- Today is going to be your busiest day at Sundarbans.
- Ride a noiseless wooden row-boat on a canal in the morning in search of wildlife.
- Back to the main boat, and have breakfast at 07.30 H. Start walking toward Jamtola beach, which is the quietest, nicest, and the cleanest beach in Bangladesh. Enjoy the beach for an hour, and walk toward Jamtola tourist spot. The total trail will be about 10 km. Transfer to our waiting boat which already arrived here from Kochikhali through an inside canal.
- Lunch on the boat and have an hour of rest.
- Visit Kotka Wildlife Sanctuary, and if high tide, have a rewarding boat ride on a canal near the sanctuary.
- Go to the observation-tower at Kotka before the sunset and seat quietly for half an hour. This is a feeding ground of animals. Lots of deer and other wild animals come here in the evening to eat grass and drink water. You never know what surprises can be waiting for you here!
- After sunset, start the boat for our onward location to another suitable forest station for the night hold, based on the tide.
- Stay overnight on the boat in a sleeping cabin, anchoring in the middle of the river in front of the forest station.
- Go for a boat ride on the noiseless wooden row-boat at 06.00 H and explore a canal near the forest station. Return to the main boat at 07.30 H and have breakfast. We’ll start our return journey toward Mongla from here through other small rivers and canals.
- Visit a fishing village and Koromjal Crocodile Breeding Center on the way, reach Mongla in the late afternoon, and drive to Khulna (1.5 hrs).
- Go for an evening walk on some busy points of the city if you are interested.
- Overnight at Khulna (Hotel City Inn)
- Classic Package:
After breakfast, transfer to Khulna Railway Station. Depart for Dhaka on 08.40 H Chitra Express. Arrive Dhaka around 18.00 H.
Drive toward Jessore at 09.00 H (2 hrs). Fly to Dhaka on 12.05 H flight (01 hr).
- Transfer to hotel from train station / airport at Dhaka.
- End of the tour.
Price of Rocket & Sundarbans Tour
|Group Size||Classic Package||Comfort Package|
|Facilities||Classic Package||Comfort Package|
|Dhaka - Hularhat Transfer||1st Class cabin on Rocket.||Same as Classic Package|
|Hotel at Khulna||City Inn Hotel||Same as Classic Package|
|Khulna - Dhaka Transfer||1st Class Chair on Train (Air-Conditioned, 10 hrs)||Khulna - Jessore by air-conditioned car (02 hrs), 12.20 H Flight from Jessore (01 hr)|
Inclusions and Exclusions
- Pick-up and drop-off from North Dhaka area (Uttara, Nikunja, Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara area only).
- 5 Night accommodation in hotels and boat cabins as mentioned in the itinerary with complementary breakfast on twin sharing basis.
- All meals, drinking water, tea, and coffee while on the boat at Sundarbans for three day on Day-3, 4, and 5.
- 1st class cabin on Rocket Paddle Steamer to Hularhat on twin sharing basis.
- All train and boat rides.
- All site entrance tickets.
- Air-conditioned car, driver, and English speaking guide.
- 5,500 BDT per person forest permission fee for Sundarbans.
- Khulna-Jessore Airport transfer with air-conditioned car (Comfort Package only).
- Jessore-Dhaka economy class flight ticket (Comfort Package only).
- All tips except our guide, driver, and boat crew.
Does not include:
- Pick-up and drop-off from South Dhaka area (Hotel 71, FARS Hotel, Asia Hotel & Resort, Ambrosia Guest House, White House Hotel, Hotel Sky City, Suktara Hotel, and the nearby area).
- Any food or drinks other than mentioned above.
- 1,200 BDT fee for video camera in Sundarbans (if any).
- Any personal item.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Because your best chance to spot wildlife on a Sundarbans tour is when you go on a tour with a very small group. This will increase your chance to spot wildlife many times.
- All the traditional tour operators in Bangladesh run tours in Sundarbans on a 30-40 people group. Going on a Sundarbans tour with a big group like these, people end up seeing very little or no wildlife at all. We organize only small group tours of a maximum of 6 people to give you the best experience of Sundarbans for your time and money.
- 60% of Sundarbans is in Bangladesh part which is more diverse with its wildlife, flora, and fauna.
- You visit a wild forest in Bangladesh, not a national park. Everything you see in Bangladesh part of Sundarbans is wild.
- You spend full 3-day inside the forest while doing the Sundarbans tour with us in Bangladesh. You can spend just 1 day inside the forest while doing Sundarbans tour from India.
- On a Sundarbans tour in India, you stay at a hut on a village outside the forest. In Bangladesh, you stay on our comfortable houseboat with western style toilet deep inside the forest anchoring in different places each day. There will be armed forest guards on board for security.
- In India, you visit the forest with an engine boat starting from the village. In Bangladesh, we’ll take you to explore the creeks and canals deep inside the forest with a noiseless wooden row-boat. You float on the canals quietly in the tranquilizing environment and get the best chance to spot wildlife while they do not flee hearing disturbing noise of the engine.
- Sundarbans tour in Bangladesh with us offers more activities, e.g. walking deep inside the forest, spending time on a beautiful sandy beach at Bay of Bengal inside the forest while you hardly see any people, watching wildlife from an observation-tower in a dense raw forest, explore creeks and canals with noiseless row-boat to increase your chance to spot wildlife, visit wildlife sanctuaries, etc.
- Because you reach the forest within 10 minutes of starting from Mongla. If you start from Khulna, half of your day is wasted just to reach the forest, and another half day to come back. All the traditional tour operators in Bangladesh run their tour from Khulna, while we run our tours from Mongla.
- Never do a day tour of Sundarbans! You might want to quick sample Sundarbans to save time and money, but it will be a full waste of your time and money as you will end up visiting just an Eco Park and a zoo which will be very disappointing, no matter who you book with! It will be simply a bad taste of the forest. Either do a 3-day tour or save it for a future trip. There is nothing in between!
- Yes, you can do the tour in 5 days by booking the Comfort package. On that case, after returning from the forest on day-5, we will directly transfer you to Jessore airport, from where you’ll fly to Dhaka on the 19.20 H flight and reach Dhaka airport at 20.00 H. This will not affect the itinerary or activities in Sundarbans. Price for the last night’s accommodation in Khulna will be deducted on that case.
Important Notes on Rocket & Sundarbans Tour
- Pick-up and drop-off for this tour will be available from North Dhaka area only (Uttara, Nikunja, Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara area).
- This tour is available to start on any Saturday, Sunday, or Tuesday – round the year.
- Only Comfort Package will be available to start on Wednesday.
- Booking this tour at least 3 weeks in advance is advised.
- Hotels used on this tour are tourist standard hotels of mostly 2* and 3* standard, with standard facilities for the foreigners e.g. clean room, air-conditioning, hot water, western style toilet, and complimentary breakfast.
- Govt. run Parjatan Hotels have all the standard facilities, but the hotels are poorly maintained. These are the best hotels in those areas, so we are sticking with them until better hotels develop there.
- Bangladesh is full of mosquito. You may find some on your hotels too. Hotels will normally spray aerosol at your room to keep them away. But if they don’t, give a call to the reception instead of spending a sleepless night. They will come and spray as many times as you need. You can also bring a mosquito spray or buy one upon arrival on the beginning of your trip, which will cost less than $5 US and will cover your whole trip.
- Hotels in Bangladesh try to provide their best possible service to the foreigners. If there is an issue with your room on any of the hotels, simply let them know while you are there. They will try their best to resolve the issue.
- Nijhoom Tours reserves the rights to change any hotel listed in the itinerary to a similar standard one if the actual hotel is not available to book.
- 1st class tickets of Rocket depends on availability. You might have to travel in the 2nd class if the 1st class is not available. The only difference between the 1st and 2nd class on the Rocket is, 2nd class is located in the back side, and have no air-conditioning. Other facilities are the same. Passengers of the 2nd class can use all the facilities of 1st class, e.g. dining area, toilets, and the sitting area on the front side.
- On Monday and Thursday, a traditional ferry comes in service instead of the paddle steamers. If you book for these days, you have to travel on the traditional ferry instead of a paddle wheel steamer.
- If for some unexpected reason Rocket ticket is not available at all, we’ll take you up to Barisal by a traditional ferry (overnight part), and from Barisal to Hularhat on the Rocket (daytime journey part) or by car.
- Even on the first class cabins of Rocket, sometimes air-conditioning might be broken. We will try to move you in a cabin with working air-conditioning if available. If that is not possible, Nijhoom Tours will not have any responsibility regarding this, as this boat is not owned by us.
- There is no shower on the Rocket paddle steamers.
- First class train tickets depending on availability. Sometimes they mysteriously disappear even before coming to the counter. We will try our best to get the first class for you. But if that is not possible, second class tickets will be provided, which is without air-conditioning. Killing the guide or blaming Nijhoom Tours taking all of your money and not providing first-class tickets will not resolve the issue.
- In case of traveling on the 2nd class of train, you’ll have a reserved seat.
- It is common for the trains in Bangladesh to be 01-02 hours late. But no matter when they arrive, our drivers will always be waiting for you at the station to take you to your hotel.
- We use car only while it is not possible to avoid, e.g. no train, boat, or flight. Roads in Bangladesh are broken and with heavy traffic. Be patient while traveling on car.
- Distance mentioned in the itinerary is taken from Google Maps.
- Travel time mentioned in the itinerary is our best judgement. It could be delayed or earlier depending on traffic and road conditions.
- Itinerary of Sundarbans Tour is just a general outline, and not fixed. It could be changed depending on the season, moon phase, tide, daylight hours, and fog. But we’ll try to include all the activities mentioned in the itinerary as much as possible.
- The boat for Sundarbans is a very basic boat without air-conditioning, electricity, and running hot water (we will supply them on bucket). It has accommodation facilities for 8 people in the max and one western style toilet. But we have a larger boat too to arrange a tour for bigger groups.
- The cabins in the boat at Sundarbans are lit by small lights running on battery. We’ll run the generator in the evening for a couple of hours every day to charge your devices.
- You’ll get the mobile-phone signal of GrameenPhone on the first half of day-03. In Kotka, a new mobile phone tower of Teletalk opened recently, so you’ll get full network coverage of the only Teletalk in Kotka with 2G internet facilities which is very slow. No other SIM card will work inside other parts of the forest.
- For trekking in the forest on day-4, the land is flat and we will not go through a very dense forest, so it will be easy for most of the people, as long as you can walk about 10 km. The trail is dry, not muddy. Bring covered shoes which are suitable for trekking and can protect you from small grass and trees with spikes.
- If you do not want to walk, you can remain on the boat which will be still enjoyable, as it will go from Kochikhali to Kotka through small canals, which will be a ride of about 03 hours.
- No binocular will be provided at Sundarbans. Bring your own.
- Single supplement is applicable for the hotels only. You might not be provided separate cabins on Rocket and on the boat at Sundarbans, even if you pay for the single supplement, based on the availability.
- All the breakfasts, 03 lunches, and 02 dinners are included on the trip. You need to pay for the rest of the lunches and dinners during your trip. A meal on a decent local restaurant will cost about $2-$5 US.
- Options for vegetarian food on the local restaurants are very limited. You need to go to a more expensive Western restaurant to find good vegetarian food.
- Options for food on the trains are very limited. Vegetarian food is non-existent. Bring your own food for the train if you are vegetarian, especially for the long ride to Dhaka from Khulna.
- Vegetarian food will not be an issue on our boat at Sundarbans.
- Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. Mineral water is widely available.
- Bangladesh is a secular Muslim country, and whilst the people are very liberal and friendly, alcohol is not widely available. There are only a couple of hotels on the trip which has a bar, and even at these establishments, you cannot usually drink in the restaurant. Local beer, when available, costs approx. $3 US for a 300ml can, and a measure of spirits is similarly priced. Wine is not available. It may sometimes be possible to purchase alcohol outside the hotels, but it is prohibited to consume in public places. There is a duty-free shop on arrival in Dhaka airport (before immigration) and you are permitted to buy two bottles of spirits per person.
- In Dhaka, there are some wirehouses from where you can buy alcohol showing your foreign passport. But they only sell whole cartons of usually 24 bottles/cans.
- Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage/rucksack is acceptable.
- You should bear in mind that Bangladesh tends to have a conservative attitude towards dress. Women, and also to a certain extent men, will find that the way they dress will often determine the degree of respect they receive from both men and women.
- Mosques, temples, churches and synagogue are places of worship and visitors should be modestly dressed. Admission might be denied to men and women wearing short pants/skirts, sleeveless t-shirts/blouses. Bare shoulders and midriffs are not permitted and should be covered with shawls. You also need to remove shoes while entering one of these places.
- It will not be appropriate in Bangladesh for women to hide behind bushes for pee. Any time you need to use the toilet, ask your guide. He will arrange a nearby toilet for you in someone’s house or in a public place.
- Wi-Fi internet is widely available in Bangladesh. You’ll find free Wi-Fi on most of the hotels on this tour. Upscale restaurants will also have free Wi-Fi.
- Mobile phone operators have 3G coverage on most of the places in the country. 4G Service started in February 2018 and is supposed to be available on all the big cities shortly. Mobile internet speed is not satisfactory however on any of them.
- Tipping is common practice in Asia. In Bangladesh, most workers will expect a small tip, anything from 50 Taka upwards depending on the service provided. At the end of the tour, if your principle guide, together with the driver and the boat crew have been helpful then you could think about tipping them. The amount can obviously be left to you.
- Bangladesh is a third world country with poor infrastructure. Nothing works here perfectly and as planned. Organizing a long tour in Bangladesh may bring some inconvenience occasionally. Be patient and flexible while traveling Bangladesh.
- While traveling on a group, be co-operative and tolerant with the interests and difficulties of your co-travelers.
- Your guide is not your enemy. He is with you to protect you and assist you on every way possible. In case of any issue with anything, simply let him know instead of trying to kill him. He will try his best to resolve the issue.
- Bangladesh is not for every regular tourist. Do enough research about Bangladesh, the tour, hotels on the tour, and everything else possible before booking this tour, so that you do not have unrealistic expectations and end up disappointed after the tour.
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