Embarking on a tour of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, Phil Carp shared his firsthand experience, helpful insights, and recommendations for future travelers.
Phil Carp undertook a trip through Bangladesh, exploring various parts of the country. After seeking advice from the EPS community, he booked a tour with Jafar and Taabu tours. The price was fair and communication via email and WhatsApp was efficient, making it an excellent choice for Phil. The people he interacted with were friendly and approachable, making his journey a pleasant experience.
Arrival and Stay in Dhaka
Phil flew from Singapore to Dhaka via a direct Air Singapore flight. He arrived at Dhaka with a 30-day visa, having arranged it on arrival. For U.S. passport holders, Phil recommends having a Letter of Invitation (LOI), an onward flight ticket, and hotel booking confirmation ready as immigration may request these documents.
Staying at the 3-star Hotel 71, he found the accommodation adequate, with good water pressure and hot water availability. He mentioned that the hotel has a bar that serves alcohol – a rarity in Bangladesh, where alcohol is highly restricted. Despite being on a busy street, he recommends the hotel for its favorable exchange rates.
Phil highlighted the intense traffic congestion in Dhaka, pointing out the necessity of time budgeting for transportation. He hopes the new metro will alleviate some of this traffic congestion.
Traveling to Jossure and Khulna
Phil took a 30-minute flight from Dhaka to Jossure on Air Bangladesh to avoid traffic. Upon landing, an airline shuttle service transported him to Khulna, where he stayed at DS Palace, another 3-star hotel which he found superior to Hotel 71.
The tour took Phil from Mongla port to Jungle Cruise, his home for 2.5 days and 2 nights. Although the boat offered basic accommodation and no hot water for showers, it provided three meals per day with good food. The Sundarbans tour was the highlight of his trip, especially the thrilling encounter with a tiger, which he unfortunately missed.
Letter of Invitation (LOI) Requirement
There were mixed responses regarding the necessity of an LOI for entry into Bangladesh. Some travelers, like Jeremy Watts and Lim Gaik Kee, were not asked for an LOI, while others like Matti Anttila faced some challenges with their Airbnb booking acting as proof of stay. Phil reiterated the unpredictability of immigration officers, and advised always having more documentation than needed.
Sundarbans Tour Price
In response to Rowan Veale’s inquiry about the tour cost, Phil stated that the tour cost around $150 USD per day. Another traveler, Shyam Kodavarthi, shared that he went with ‘Mission Sundarban Tours Travels’ from Khulna and paid $75 per day, all-inclusive.
Shyam also recommended Hotel Jalico in Khulna, which is half the price of DS Palace, and mentioned that he received a free upgrade to an Executive Room at Hotel 71 in Dhaka, along with a 30% discount card for their bar.
Positive Experiences with Jafar and Taabu Tours
Sarah Steiner also recommended Jafar and Taabu Tours, having had a great tour experience with them.
In summary, Phil’s Bangladesh journey was an adventure of exploration and discovery, providing invaluable insights for other travelers. With contributions from the EPS community, potential visitors can make more informed decisions about their travel plans to Bangladesh.
This article is based on a post from Facebook group Every Passport Stamp.