Day 1: I arrived in Sylhet at about 4:30am from a bus from Dhaka. I went and found a hotel and took a bit of a rest.
Later I arranged for a car to take me to a nearby wetland. It took about 1 hour to get there on a mostly dirt road. Hopped on a boat for a leisurely cruise into the freshwater swamp. Saw a few interesting animals including an eagle, a snake and a small monkey troop.The boat guide took me around a bit on dry land as well. Back in town I went out for what was the best restaurant I had on my entire Bangladesh trip. Sylhet is full of families that have connections to London, and apparently many of the famous Indian chefs in London are actually from this area.
Day 2: I tried to go to another large wetland suggested by Lonely Planet, and made it to the town after a 3 hour bus ride. Little did I realize it was another 4 hour ride to the wetland, and with little to no public transport (and thus a costly and difficult proposition with at least 11 more hours of transport. I decided
to cut my losses and headed back to the town for another delicious dinner.
Day 3: I got on a bus to Sreemangal in the morning and arrived in the late morning. I got a hotel for a few nights and decided to wander around. I was met by a local boy who worked as an independent tour guide. He showed me around Sreemangal town, the train station, the good restaurants, etc on the first day.
Day 4: I went with my guide and a CNG driver to see the tea plantations. We made a few stops around the tea plantations and walked around for a bit. We also stopped at a nice serene little artificial lake and finished off the day with the famed 8 layer tea. The tea was pre-prepared and not overly tasty but fun to see.
Day 5: We started the morning off in the local national park, and went hunting for gibbons, elusive and skittish creatures. The park requires a park guide and we made a few attempts to find them, but they were out of sight. The easiest way to find them is to listen for them and then go towards
the sounds. After about 1.5 hours going through we finally did spot some and I got some good shots.
We kept going through, along the train tracks for a bit. A train did barrel by at one point. We also saw some monkeys feeding and took a quick stroll through a small village in the forest. On the way out we saw a few big groups of locals wandering in - quite loud. No animals for them!
After lunch we headed out to a wetlands and did lots of bird-watching. It was quite densely populated. I spotted over a dozen species of birds, and even got to witness a hawk hunt and catch some prey off in the distance.
Day 6-7: I spent it mostly relaxing but went out with my new guide who was to be the guide for the Chittagong Hill Tract section to a wedding.
On the evening I took a overnight train to Chittagong, and it was a sleepless night as there were no sleeper tickets left so I was in the regular seats area for an 11 hour train.
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