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Amazing Srimangal and Environs

London
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Amazing Srimangal and Environs

Back from 3 weeks in Bangladesh. Visited several places around the country and Traffic clogged, dusty Dhaka city.

Most memorable part of our trip was few days spent in Srimangal, Sylhet Division.

It seems a world away from Dhaka city. Clean fresh air in the tea gardens, rubber plantations and other sites. The Town of Srimangal is nothing much to write about but the surrounding countryside is worth visiting. It is still much less travelled by tourists.

We organised a microbus with driver @ 2500 Takas plus fuel/gas per day from Dhaka and travelled to Srimangal.

Managed to book a Govt. guest house, which was quite good. There are several guest houses bookable by tourists and mentioned elsewhere in this forum.

The best part for us was visiting the tribal people living in this area. Main one is the Khasia tribe and some small community of Manipuri community.

The small Manipuri community lives in Ramnagar Monipuri Bosti and they does beautiful hand weaved scarves, bags, clothing and worth buying as they are very cheap, and helps the local tribes to survive. A nice scarf made of wool cost 100 takas( just over a dollar).

A part of our visit was to go up in the hills to see the Khasia village(Poonji) and a new Quiet relaxiation centre in its infancy, called PROTASHA BON ASHRAM).

Started by an eccentric, called James Kiron. He can be contacted (Mob: 01745 696824), if anyone wishes to visit. This really woke us up. In a country like Bangladesh or any other western way of life it is very hard to get away from the daily turmoils and chaos.We really enjoyed our time there. It is situated about 10Km away from Srimangal Town and can only be reached by 4 wheel drive jeeps. These are readily available in Town and the Railway Station. To travel on one individually cost about 1100takas and the driver will drop you and collect you when called. Alternatively the regular service although once a hour or so( cost about 50 takas per person) will take you and drop close to the site and someone will be able to take you inside if arranged as above.

It is a humbling experience to be so close to Nature. The area has Pineapple plantation, fruit trees, mature trees and over 68 species of herbs and spices in this site.

They all have various animals and most of the things are used in a sustainable way. You can feed the cows, goats and chickens etc.. There is also a ECO TOILET! This has to be seen to appreciate.

The locality is called Julekha poonji. It is close to Julekha Nagar Tea Estate.

We also visited nearby Khasia Village where the tribal people live a very simple and frugal lifestyle. They have to go down 200ft ( not very safe in wet weather) to fetch water for their daily chores!!

Although James Kiron started this site back in 1997, the Relaxation Centre is very much in its infancy as he spent the last years dealing with new plantations and developing a self sustainable way of life. Any visitors he said will be very welcome and can spend the whole day there but at this time there are no places to stay there. They will be very hospitable and arrange simple meals. One can enjoy the fruits of the site as fresh as it can get. There are no costs but a donation would be welcome. We can thoroughly recommend this scenic and most beautiful site, hidden away from hustle and bustle.

In Dhaka city if anyone wants to get more information about this Srimangal Site can contact Dr Gomes (mob: 01711408356).

Royal Bengal Tours
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denmark
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1. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

Thanks for posting. Sound that you had a great time in Srimangal and I do agree - it´s a nice area with a lot to explore.

Kirsten

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2. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

Thanks for sharing. This account will be very helpful for travellers as such area aren't covered that much.

I never knew about the Khasia tribe until I came across a cooking episode of Rick Stien.

London
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3. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

The Khasia tribe around Srimangal live a very simple and healthy life. They grow mostly beetle leaves(Paan) a chewing leaf used widely in Bangladesh. This crop is now threatened by a microbial epidemic and the yeild and quality has gone down. In this area James Kiron(mentioned in my post above) is advising Khasia people to do other plants (eg Pineapples and Lycheeches), we saw these are establishing very well.

This area is worth visiting to appreciate fully.

Dhaka City...
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4. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

Wonderful trip report Anjuli Francis! Its very interesting and detailed.

You should post this report in Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum too. It will be very helpful for future visitors, travellers, and tourists in Bangladesh.

Cheers!

London
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5. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

Thanks for the compliment.

Although detailed it is nothing compared to see and be there to appreciate fully.

There are so many places and sights in Bangladesh away from the crowds and hustle and bustle of city life.

Bangladesh is a rural environment and the ecology and sights are in par with neighbouring India, Nepal and Sri Lanka where Tourism brings in a lot of visitors and foreign money.

Neighbouring Burma closed for decades has now opened it's door to visitors and people are starting to go there. Bangladesh is a lot similar with sights and environments similar.

Bangladesh is a good value destination for visitors and people need to know from Forums like Tripadvisor to select destinations to visit within Bangladesh to really get amazing holiday experiences.

Hobart, Australia
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6. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

We stayed for a week in Sreemangal and really enjoyed it. Full credit to our guides Tapas Dash and Roni (find them here on Trip Advisor through the Green Leaf Eco Tourism Guesthouse). Lots of steps in the Kashia village!!

Darwin australia
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7. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

We also spent nearly a week in Sreemangal- it is worlds away from the frenetic chaos of Dhaka. We can't speak highly enough of the friendliness and hospitality of Dip and the boys at Green Leaf Guesthouse and the pleasant competence of Tapas Dash as our guide to both the wetlands and the national park. He certainly gave us much more than what we could have gained doing it alone- which we normally prefer to do. There's much to see in Sreemangal. We cycled through tea plantations, rubber plantations and tribal villages. We were offered afternoon tea with delightful Mary and Charles in the Kashio tribal village and just loved walking and cycling around meeting people and letting the days take hold of us.

The current politics of Bagladesh is crippling the country with the unrelenting violence and regular hartals. As a foreigner, you witness the protests and may be inconvenienced by hartals (no buses, cars and most businesses closed- opening late afternoon if it is only a one day strike) but locals do an exceptional job of ensuring that you do not come in harm's way. What hurts most is the knowledge that the Bangladeshis must suffer this turmoil day in and out..Sreemangal was certainly the highlight of our trip (16days in Dhaka, Sreemangal and Sylhet)

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8. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

The strikes/hartaals are crippling the country in more than one way. However this is a regular scenario before general elections where the number of strikes and hartaals increase.

9. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

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10. Re: Amazing Srimangal and Environs

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