Our trip to Bangladesh June/July 2012
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Mar 2, 2013 10:48 AM Last Post By: soloirishtravel...
Dec 11, 2012 12:16 PM
Our trip to Bangladesh June/July 2012In the summer of 2012 a friend and I travelled to Bangladesh for two weeks. We spent some days in Dhaka visiting a friend there for her wedding, but in-between we had enough spare time for a small road trip. We decided to rent a car with driver since this would be the most time-efficient option and would offer a lot of flexibility. We were recommended Hasan from Nijhoom travels (also called Bangladesh Travel Assistance) and we quite quickly decided to hire him for our road trip and also for taking us around the first days in Dhaka.
Before go to Bangladesh we had made a preliminary itinerary for our road trip. Hasan was really helpful in giving input on our plans and suggesting the optimal travel route based on our wishes. Thanks to Hasan we ended up covering everything and more than we had initially planned to see!
Our road trip:
Day 1: Dhaka – Rangpur. We started off the day early and left before breakfast so as to beat the worst traffic in Dhaka.
The northwestern part of Bangladesh in which Rangpur is located in is rich in agriculture, impressive historical sites as well as beautiful scenery. Our first stop in Rangpur was RDRS Guesthouse where we were checked in. We would definitely recommend staying here. It was clean, quiet and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We then visited the Tajhat Palace and the Kali Temple in Rangpur before it was time for dinner and an early night!
Day 2: Rangpur – around Dinajpur – Rangpur. We spent this day in the surroundings of Dinajpur. First we visited the Kantajees temple and we then took a walk in the surroundings and visited the village of Kantanagar. The people in the village were very friendly and curious – which is our overall experience with the people in Bangladesh, especially in the rural areas! We then continued our trip to an ancient mosque that Hasan had heard about that was located at the edge of another small village. Then after a short tea-break we decided to stop at one of the many brick factories that we had seen along the road. In the evening we headed out for dinner in Rangpur. Word of warning: the Rangpur map in Lonely Planet (6th edition, from 2008) is incorrect, we ended up getting lost, but with the help of some friendly locals we were put on a rickshaw in the right direction!
Day 3: Rangpur – Bogra – Paharpur – Mahastangarh – Mahastan. Yet again we were on the road early and reached Bogra just in time for breakfast at Bogra’s best breakfast place (according to Hasan). The next stop on our journey was the UNESCO world heritage site Paharpur. Although it’s largely a ruin, the sheer size of it is really impressive. We were very fortunate to be guided around Paharpur by a man called Hasan who works for the archaeology department at Paharpur. He really went out of his way, showing us around in the blazing mid-day sun and even invited us to his house afterwards to meet his family! Next we made a stop at Mahasthangarh. Sometime throughout the day our driver Hasan had found out that there were several other historical ruins in the area that we could visit and we then proceeded to visit these until sunset! Through our driver Hasan we were also able to arrange so that we could spend the night at the Archaeology Department Rest House in Mahasthan.
Day 4: Mahastan – Puthia – Rajshahi. This day we visited several sites in Puthia. Our first stop was the Shiva temple. Soon we were joined by the caretaker “Mr. Bishwana” who gave us an excellent walking tour of all the sites in Puthia, including the Govinda temple. We would have loved to linger around longer, but we had to move on to our next stop – Rajshahi. In Rajshahi we checked in at the Parjatan hotel. Before checking in we had to negotiate the price since it’s quite over-priced. It’s a good idea to arrive early!
In the evening we went to the Padma river which is a very cozy place with lots of people either going for an evening stroll or spending time with friends while sitting along the river bank. We decided to take a boat ride in the sunset on the Padma river (again Hasan helped us organize this) and it was a great and very special experience. We even got to try to paddle the boat ourselves, which must have been quite a sight!
Day 5: Rajshahi – around Chapai Nawabganj– Rajshahi. One of the benefits of going to Bangladesh when we did was that it was mango season! We had seen on maps that there were large mango gardens around Chapai Nawabganj which is right next to Rajshahi. With no specific mango garden in mind, Hasan drove us to a village situated in one of the mango gardens and we then spent the rest of the day walking around in the shade of the mango trees, watching mangoes being picked and sat under mango trees and ate mangoes that were given to us by the mango farmers. We were as close to mango heaven as one could be!
During the day we met several people who worked in the mango garden and lived in the village. And word eventually spread of the presence of the mysterious visitors and when we came back to our car we were greeted by the whole village who invited us for dinner. Apparently the children had to run home from school so that they wouldn’t miss this event! Two chairs were brought out for us and we were then given mangoes that we had to eat in front of everyone. We then visited one of the houses in the village for the dinner, again with a curious group of onlookers watching our every move! The amount of hospitality they showed us was just amazing! It will forever be a very special memory for us.
Day 6: Rajshahi – Natore – Dhaka. It was time to go back to Dhaka, but we made sure to make the most of our trip home by making a stop along the way to visit the Palace in Natore. This is another fascinating site which features a Hindu temple and various buildings amongst which one was probably used for parties during the colonial era, or so we imagine. Like the other historical sites we visited throughout our journey, we found ourselves equally fascinated by the old buildings as with the daily life of the people that were living amongst them!
To sum up, we could easily have spent a lot more time exploring this amazing country. With the help of Hasan we were able to make to most of the few days that we spent in Bangladesh. Hasan navigated us safely through the Bangladeshi traffic, but didn’t stop there. Through his open and proactive way Hasan quickly also became our translator, guide and friend. We would definitely recommend Hasan! Also see our reviews on: http://www.bangladesh-travel-assistance.com/reviews/ and http://nijhoom.com/reviews/
Dec 11, 2012 1:20 PM
Dec 19, 2012 9:36 AM
2Hi Margie & Yen!
This is Hasan. Glad to see that you could manage time to write this wonderful post! It was a really great tour in North-Bengal, and it was really a pleasure meeting you! You two are heartily welcome to our home if you ever come to Bangladesh.
Some things to correct in the post:
- The name of my company is NIJHOOM TOURS which is doing great now because of good reputation from our clients, although it is a very new and tiny company.
- The name of the man with great enthusiasm at Puthia is BISHWANATH.
- The name of the mosque we visited near Kantajew Temple at Dinajpur is NAYABAD MOSQUE, which I later found was a very famous mosque from the Mughal Period. It was made by the Muslim workers who came from Arab countries to construct the infamous Kantajew Temple.
Thanks a lot for the nice review in my site. Hope to see you again in Bangladesh!
@Kirsten - Thanks a lot! How is your health now? You left with high fever and back pain. Are you OK now?
Edited by: Bengaliana
Mar 2, 2013 10:48 AM
Just wondering how the weather was for your trip?? I am thinking of a trip in August (end of july/early aug) but am worried that it is moonsoon season (I will be wanting to go to the Chittagong region for trekking).
I think June/July are also moonsoon season so would be great to hear how you got on with travels and weather?
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