26 day tailor-made holiday to Bangladesh

Sally Jackson
Devon, United Kingdom
January 28, 2018

My husband and I booked a 26 day tailor made holiday to Bangladesh in Oct/Nov 2017 through Nijhoom Tours. From start to finish it was absolutely excellent and I would highly recommend this company and especially Arafat who was our guide throughout and who was excellent. There were somethings I would have done differently with hindsight but overall we had the most amazing time and meet the most amazing people. Apart from Arafat I would also like to make a special mention for Liton who was our driver for the majority of the trip and who also went out of his way to make every day enjoyable.

To start we had to take the remainder of our payment in cash to the airport to give to Hasan in person. I was very nervous about this as I never travel with that much cash but all went perfectly and I shouldn’t have worried. We were then taken to our hotel and given time to freshen up before hitting the streets of Dhaka with Arafat and Liton. The weather was atrocious but we didn’t let that spoil our fun and we visited all the sights of Dhaka.

At one point, whilst walking down the railway where we meet the loveliest people who all want to stop and chat and pose for photos, my husband slipped on a wet sleeper and although he wasn’t hurt his camera hit the ground and his lens was dented meaning the lens wouldn’t retract and expand properly. I was very upset as this was day one and I’m passionate about photography but I needn’t have panicked as Arafat took it back to his room and with his trusty knife managed to mend the dent enabling Jim to continue using the camera for the rest of the trip. It was little things like this that turned a wonderful trip into a truly unforgettable one.

At this point I would advise that when planning your trip you think carefully about where you want to go and where these places are geographically because as wonderful as Dhaka is the traffic is AWFUL and you can waste a lot of precious time sat in traffic not going anywhere. This is really frustrating and can ruin what in every other way has been a wonderful day. I would suggest doing everything around Dhaka in one go and then moving out trying not to return until you need to leave.

I won’t give a day by day account of our experience, it would be too wordy and not that useful, but suffice to say that we loved everywhere we went and everything we experienced. The people are amazing, they are friendly, chatty, photogenic and happy (in general, check first obviously) to be photographed. The young Bangladeshi people are absolutely obsessed with taking selfies and for some reason really wanted us in them so on occasions it could take 30 minutes to walk a distance you could walk in 5 minutes but it was all part of the fun.

The country is beautiful, the country side is lush and green with beautiful villages all built around ponds, the rivers are wonderful and are hosts to all sorts of human and wildlife activity. There are some of the most beautiful buildings I have seen.

Best of all is the food!!! We were so lucky to have Arafat as a guide for many reasons but not the least because he loves food and is very knowledgeable about the history of dishes, how they are cooked, and the specialties of each area. Knowing how much we loved trying new things he went out of his way to buy us the local food/snack and the four of us (as we always include our guide and driver) enjoyed many a lovely dinner, lunch and in between snacks which, be warned, are a meal in themselves!

We had so much fun which is impossible to convey in a review. We laughed until we cried, we chatted, we debated and most importantly of all we left with amazing memories of a stunning country but also we left with two new friends.

The things I would have done differently are: not going back to Dhaka so often; not arriving at two separate museums on the one day of the week they were shut; spending more quality time on the boat in the Sundarbans as we were really looking forward to this part but it felt a little bit rushed and the final day we returned to Mongla in the morning when we thought we would have spent more time in Kotka; and I’d think carefully about visiting the Kantajee temple in Dinajpur which is absolutely covered in the most beautiful stone carvings but which is a very long drive the way we did it. I believe there is the possibility of visiting this area by train which would have been much better.

We can highly recommend travelling by any sort of boat as every single trip we did was wonderful and gave you the time to really immerse yourself in the daily life that takes place along the riverbank. The train journeys were also great fun, especially watching Arafat trying to decide which chocolate bar to buy.

I would advise taking every opportunity to visit villages along the way as each has a very different character and all the people were so welcoming and happy to share their lives with you. The children and schools were wonderful too.

Suffice to say we truly had the most amazing time in Bangladesh, we would love to return very soon, and if we did we would definitely ask for Arafat and Liton and we would try to see even more of this amazing, interesting, colourful country.

  1. Update: 28 April, 2018

    We now have re-arranged the itinerary of our Discover Bangladesh tour to visit Kantaji Temple and Tajhat Palace, as domestic airlines are now running regular flights from the airport close to that area.

    On the first day on that area, we’ll now drive from Bogra and stay overnight at Rangpur instead of returning to Bogra again, which will save 110 km / 3 hrs driving for that day.

    The next day after visiting Kantaji temple, we’ll now take a 50 minutes flight back to Dhaka from Saidpur Airport, which is just about one hour drive from Kantaji Temple. It will now save a whole day’s drive to return to Dhaka for our future clients, and make the experience more pleasant.

    Raw Hasan
    Founder & CEO, Nijhoom Tours

  2. Thank you for visiting Bangladesh with Nijhoom Tours!

    Dhaka is famous for its hectic traffic. Although there is nothing much to do regarding this, we plan to minimize the effect on our tours as much as possible. For example, we use a hotel in North Dhaka area very close from the airport and the railway station, so that we can enter and exit the city without facing the city traffic.

    Normally on all of our tours, guests arrive on the day one of the tour, we take them to the far south side of the city close to the river port without having anymore activities for the day, so that the next day they can leave the city quickly after the city tour. This is only one time guests need to face the city traffic.

    On your case, it was a customized tour, so traffic had a big effect on your experience. You booked an extra photography tour, so had to “hit the streets” just after your arrival, and had to face an extra day of traffic.

    Unfortunately it is not possible to organize a whole month’s tour without returning to Dhaka as you advised, because of the current infrastructure of the country. What we do is, we return to Dhaka twice with a short flight, and leave next morning by train or flight, facing about 10-15 minutes of traffic. Only once we drive back to Dhaka from Rajshahi region which takes some time. This is the best possible thing to do for the time being. On your case, you also customized one flight with a train ride back to Dhaka on the dark, which also had a negative effect on your experience.

    Regarding the boat at Sundarbans, I think you got a little bit confused, as you’ve written this review after some time returning home. We always return to Mongla in the late afternoon, not in the morning. This is also technically not possible, unless we drive the whole second night from Kotka, and miss everything on the itinerary for the 3rd day, e.g. visiting the fishing village and Koromjol Crocodile Breeding Center, on which case you’d also not be able to sleep the whole night. I do not see here any complain regarding these.

    As for the quality time on the boat at Sundarbans, you could simply tell your guide that you are not interested on doing any activities and would rather prefer to stay on the boat. The guide would be happy to follow this, as this was a completely private tour for you and there were no other guests on the boat.

    Visiting Kantaji Temple is only included on our 27 days Discover Bangladesh tour – nowhere else. On that day, starting from Bogra we used to return to Bogra for that night. It is a long drive, but used to take far less time, because the road condition on that area was the best in the country. Also our motivation to return to Bogra was to use the best hotel on that region located on Bogra for that night.

    But as we can see that road condition on that area is not as good as it was before and it is making the drive much longer, we are going to adjust the itinerary for that day now. Instead on returning to Bogra, we’ll now stay overnight at Rangpur, making the drive about 110 km short, which will now save at least 3 hours of driving. Not visiting Kantaji Temple as you advised means missing the most beautiful Hindu Temple in Bangladesh, which is not practical. Also using the train for that site alone is not practical for the time being.

    Thank you very much for your feedback on the tour! Constructive feedback like this gives us opportunity to learn and improve. That is why we always ask for feedback from our clients after each and every tour.

    Looking forward to see you again in Bangladesh with us soon! Our staffs will be always here to welcome you with a smiling face, no matter who they are!

    Raw Hasan
    Founder & CEO, Nijhoom Tours

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