Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lowacherra National Park

Srimangal & Around

This wonderful patch of tropical semi-evergreen forest, around 8km east of Srimangal, provides some lovely forest walks and also your best chance of seeing the endangered hoolock gibbons in the wild. These are the only apes in Bangladesh and there are only around 200 left in the country, some 60 of which live here. Protected as part of the government-run Nishorgo Network, the park now has walking trails as well as knowledgeable eco-guides who charge Tk 400 an hour.

Apart from the hoolocks, a further 19 mammal species have been identified here including capped langur, macaques, the delightful slow loris, orange-bellied Himalayan squirrel and barking deer. There are also some 246 bird species and 20 varieties of orchid.

Remember this is a dense forest, so sightings are not guaranteed and are completely contingent on luck. One thing you won’t miss, though, are the enormous orb spiders – black, red and yellow monsters that hang from Spiderman-sized webs between trees and are supposedly completely harmless.

There are three walking trails (30 minutes, one hour and three hours), with maps on wooden signboards marking the way. A guide will be able to take you off-track without getting lost. These days, an armed guard will also likely accompany you into the forest ostensibly for your security.

Mind the railway line that runs right through the jungle; trains have a tendency to creep up on unsuspecting humans while they're immersed in photo-ops. There’s a tea-and-snack stall by the visitor centre.

You can get here from Srimangal by bus (Tk 20) or CNG (Tk 100). Note there are two gates to the park. The first one, as you come from Srimangal, is on the right-hand side of the road and is mostly unmanned and unused. The main gate is about 2km beyond this (on the left-hand side of the road).