Looking for Royal Bengal Tigers with Tiger
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Who flies on Friday 13th? That’d be me. We woke in the morning and took a taxi from Srimongol to Sylhet Airport for 3500 taka (£32) which took around 2 hours then a flight to Dhaka for around 3000 taka (£27). We also used the tiny lounge at Sylhet Airport which cost 900 taka (£8). We took an Uber from the domestic Dhaka airport to the Green Guest House where our room with shared bathroom was 3000 taka (£27). We then proceeded to have a whole day in Dhaka, picking up formula and having dinner in Nandos followed by desert in the Butlers Chocolate Café next door where an ice cream sundae was an extortionate 600 taka (only £5.40 but this is madness in Bangladesh!).
On Saturday 14 September we had a late check out and took another Uber to the launch ghat (port) at Sadarghat in Old Dhaka and a porter to carry our bags from the Uber to the ship. The Green Guest House had bought me my ticket for the boat to Hularhat. It wasn’t actually the rocket steamer but I had the most gorgeous room about the launch (ferry type boat). It did cost 4000 taka (£36) but was VIP luxury with double bed, private shower, dinner and very welcome AC! I’ve been on the rocket steamer before but this was something else!
We of course went on a good old wander around the boat and it literally felt like the we were on the Titanic with the “us and them” situation as everyone else was sleeping on the deck and paying maybe 100/200 taka versus our 4000. There are also double rooms with fans and some interesting private spaces a bit like capsules which were quite interesting.
Either way we slept fabulously and having departed around 6pm we arrived in Hularhat at 7.30am. It was all a bit difficult to establish exactly what time we would arrive so our guides from Beautiful Bangladesh Tours and Travels, Moonmoon Khan Mow and Russell Shams were a tad late meeting us but it was no problem.
Mo took us out to Baderghat where we visited a temple which had pilgrims singing outside – such a highlight as they started singing about Tiger!
We then took a boat to the Gol Kanon Eco Lodge where we stayed for two nights. It was very rural but beautiful but a tad hot there and with only fans which ran off solar power. Normally no problem for an adult but with a baby everything is a little harder. We managed to sleep ok at night – just – but I slept naked under a mosquito net and Tiger slept in just her nappy in her little bed with both fans directed onto her! There was actually no need for the mosquito nets but felt safer to sleep within them just in case.
We went out on a brief "country boat" trip but we had to leave as it was getting warmer thanks to the tide and by the time we left it was a bit too hot really for Tiger. The pictures belie the slightly warm and grumpy baby amongst our ranks!
In the evening Tiger and I went out walking nearby the lodge and met loads of the villagers, of course getting stopped at every turn. It was again just adorable when the little girls took Tiger on their hips as they would do with their own brothers and sisters and went off with her (with me keeping a watchful eye!). We again had the "Tiger Jinda Hai" thing and Tiger was again the mini celebrity taking it all in her stride.
On the last day we left by auto and boat and went to two nature reserves. Although tigers have been spotted here we didn’t see any Royal Bengal Tigers but we saw lots of monkeys and some crocodiles. I like to think we didn't see the Royal Bengal Tigers but they saw the British Tiger!
Back in Khulna we stayed in a central hotel organised by the travel agent. I am not sure I'd recommend it but for one night it was fine. But Khulna is definitely worth a mention. We only had one night there but it was a hip, happening place!
All in all we had two guides, all the transportation, permissions sorted, lots of boats, taxis and autos and a hotel room in Khulna with the tour company the cost was $375. I think it would be possible to do it without a company but honestly it was definitely the easier option and Mo and Russel really looked after us and come highly recommended.