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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Dimmock

Gastronomy capital Sylhet

Thwarted by St Martin’s, and having watched the second boat leave and had a good cry, I thought “ok, moving on… what now” so I got a CNG back to Cox Bazaar airport for around 1500 taka (£14) which took about two hours. Once at the airport I booked onto the first flight to Dhaka at 2.30pm with Novoair for around 2800 taka (£26) with Tiger costing just 10% of the cost at 280 taka (£2.60).

Although the flight was delayed and didn’t leave until gone 4pm we made it to Dhaka, walked out of the Domestic Arrivals, to the ticket desk and bought the next flight to Sylhet for around 4000 taka (£38). Again this was delayed a bit but we were on the flight by 8pm, in a taxi for 1000 taka (£9.40) and in the lovely Hotel Noorjahan Grand by 9.30pm. Mission accomplished!

I had booked the hotel on and the price for two nights 9 and 10 September was £49 plus £12.93 taxes and charges so around £31 a night for an absolutely gorgeous room (a considerable relief after our night in Teknaf). There were cheaper, smaller rooms but we had the “deluxe double” which was a brilliant size for Tiger to crawl around on the floor on the duvet. I try not to be a snob, and really I don’t think I am, but sometimes you just need the AC and the white towels!

The next day (10 September) we went to see the mosque which was literally a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It was lovely to see, but very hot and we were pretty crowded by every man, woman and child wanting a selfie. We with the intention to come back later when it was cooler and quieter but didn’t return in the end.

We walked into the main town of Sylhet and past a baby shop where literally everything you could possibly want for a baby was imported from the UK (and double to triple the price). Still, it was amazing and is well worth knowing that you CAN actually get everything so long as you are willing to pay the price. Also worth noting that the “made in the UK” stuff carries a premium. We bought a teething toy and asked for the Chinese one as it was significantly cheaper and really just the same thing and some Sudocream as Tiger was starting to get nappy rash from the heat. We also bought tubes of locally made DeRash cream for 51 taka a tube but arguably the Sudocream is better. The alternative was to buy lots of the DeRash tubes but I was going through them very quickly.

On the subject of baby provisions, I am now buying Nestle Lactogen 2 (for ages 6 months to 12 months) which is 490 taka for a 350g box with a sealed packet inside. For some reason I can’t quite fathom out, the same Lactogen but in a tin is more expensive, possibly because this is a sturdy receptacle to store it in. That said, I just open the packet and pour it into a zip lock bag and it’s definitely lighter to buy the boxed version.

As we went further into Sylhet town, we also found shop after shop of baby clothes and were able to buy 3 very lightweight dresses for 450 taka. Some of their baby clothes simply wouldn’t be to a Western taste (and particularly some of the dresses have a lot of stuff – beads etc – stuck onto them which could very well be a choking hazard so be careful) but also if you look around enough you’ll find things you like.

Finally we got to the world famous Panshi restaurant and you’ve never seen anything quite like it. Packed to the rafters and absolutely amazing food (not sure what I ate but it was incredible!) and inexpensive. They popped me on a shared ladies table, I sat with two girls who were Indian medical students in Sylhet whilst the waiters held Tiger while I ate. Just brilliant.

A 100 taka (£1) helium balloon just about rounded our day off! Smiles all round!

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