Bangladesh & Sri Lanka Wildlife Exploration Tour
November 21, 2022 - February 8, 2023£1863 – £9310
Bangladesh & Sri Lanka Wildlife Exploration Tour
The Indian Subcontinent is well known as a safari destination and wildlife watching hotspot, but much of this focuses around India and tigers or Nepal and the cheap safaris which can be arranged to Chitwan National Park. But there are other countries in the vast Subcontinent region (sometimes known as South India) and this tour is unique in exploring a couple of these countries.
Starting in Bangladesh you will explore the forests to the east which are full of primates and the huge mangrove forest of the Sundarbans where you could possibly see some of the resident tigers before moving onto the amazing island of Sri Lanka where leopards, Asiatic elephants, sloth bears and blue whales are all waiting.
This special tour visits many wildlife watching locations and allows you to explore two very different countries as you go in search of wildlife.
Top Animals on Tour
Sri Lankan Blue Magpie
On arrival at Dhaka Zia International Airport you will be met by your your local guide/driver. From the airport we will be transferred in our private air conditioned vehicle to old Dhaka (30-40 mins). Once in old Dhaka we will check into our accommodation. Depending on the time we have arrived in Bangladesh we will either have our evening meal here and relax ready for tomorrow or if we have time we will have lunch at the accommodation and have a tour of the cities sites such as Ahsan Manjil, Lalbag Fort, Dhakeshweri Mandir, Curzon Hall and many more sites.
After our breakfast at our accommodation we will drive to Srimangal in our private vehicle (4 hours). We will then check into our accommodation and meet your zoologist guide for this section of the trip; then you will have a visit to Khasiapunji and local tribal villages.
Srimangal Forest Reserves
The next three days will be spent in the heart of rural and wild Bangladesh. We are in the east of the country and close to the border with the Indian state of Tripura. This region is full of wildlife hidden in its deep rainforests; however due to deforestation, poaching and a growing human population most if not all of these animals are in serious danger. We will aim to find some of the most impressive and rarest over the next three days and try to highlight their plight. Depending on the local conditions the order we visit the different parks here is changeable; but we will aim to visit Lowacherra National Park today. To get here we will use local vehicles as the road conditions are not very good and there is a chance they will not be air conditioned. Once in the park we will have guided walks into the forest to try and find the very rare western hoolock gibbon which are more regularly seen here than anywhere else (an estimate of 49 individuals living in the park was made in 2006). As well as the gibbons, orange-bellied Himalayan squirrels, Indian muntjac, pig-tailed macaques and rhesus macaques are commonly seen. If the local authorities permit us we will come back after dark for a short spotlighting walk to see if there are any fishing cats, slow loris, masked civets or other nocturnal animals around. We will have lunch at a local restaurant or back at our accommodation.
As well as Lowacherra you will also visit Satchari National Park, the format of the visit is similar to Lowacherra National Park but we will focus on finding Phayres leaf monkeys and capped langurs here. The capped langur is a beautiful golden monkey and are a treat to find whilst Phayres leaf monkeys are incredibly rare and difficult to find. There are also pig-tailed macaques, rhesus macaques, Indian muntjacs, wild boar, fishing cats and many more species of birds (pygmy woodpeckers, red-headed tragoons, red jungle fowl, puff-throated babblers and oriental pied hornbills), reptiles and amphibians.
The last place you will visit is Rema Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary and once again have guided walks around to find the rare and endangered primates in the park such as Phayres leaf monkey, capped langur, rhesus macaques, western hoolock gibbons and slow loris as well as fishing cats, wild boar, Indian muntjac and crab-eating mongooses. Here there is also an impressive 167 species of birds which we will have a go at finding as well.
After breakfast we will use our private air conditioned vehicle to travel back to Dhaka (4 hours). You will have the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Today we embark on our adventure into the heart of the largest mangrove forest in the world and a national park home to the largest population of wild tigers left in the world! Over 200-450 have been estimated to live in the park and we will try and track one down…on foot! But first we have to get there and this means a transfer in our vehicle from Dhaka to Mongla or Khulna (depending on where our boat is moored) (6-7 hours). You will also meet the zoologist escort for the Sundarbans here. If our boat is moored at Khulna we will have the added experience of crossing the Padma River (the life blood of this burgeoning country) at one of its busiest points. Once we are on our boat (M.L. Bonbibi / New Tourist Boat) we will unpack and start our journey towards the Bay of Bengal. Along the way we will see the hustle and bustle of Bangladesh begin to fade away as the towns turn to villages which in turn become shacks and then nothing but trees as far as the eye can see. There is a wealth of people who use the water ways here and its brilliant to see the local people using fishing and harvesting techniques many hundreds of years old. As well as the people and boats we will keep an eye out for brahminy kites and grey-headed fish eagles soaring above and best of all the highly endangered Gangetic river dolphins which briefly break the surface to blow. We will stop at the Dhangmari forest office to gain permission to enter and meet our armed escorts (which are mandatory for visiting the park).
Today we will continue our journey from Dhangmari to Kachikhali forest station (7-8 hours cruising). Here we will spend the night surrounded by mangrove forests, virgin sea beaches and a view out into the Bay of Bengal. Tigers are regularly spotted here and its not uncommon to see them prowling the beach at night or early morning as well as herds of spotted deer and family groups of wild boar.
This morning you will use small country boats to travel into the smaller creeks and streams of the mangrove forest and look for drinking animals like chital, tigers, wild boar, rhesus macaques as well as the local bird life such as white-throated kingfishers, black-capped kingfishers, green bee-eaters, little herons and the very rare masked fin-foot. This trip will last an hour or two and after we will have breakfast back on the boat. We then set off to Katka Game Sanctuary (1-2 hours) and on arrival will leave the boat and have a hike through the jungle where we usually find fresh tiger prints and hope to see on walking through the dense vegetation. We will spend some time on the beach here and relax in one of the most wild and remote areas in the world. Lunch will be served on the boat and in the afternoon we will explore some of the area around the local forest station and see if we can find more evidence of tigers here. We usually have a BBQ tonight for our evening meal with locally caught fish the main treat.
After breakfast we will begin our cruise back to Mongla / Khulna (7-8 hours) where we have a good chance of spotting large estuarine crocodiles basking if the sun is out. Along with the crocs we will look for dolphins, monkeys, birds and monitor lizards all the way back to civilisation. Our lunch will be served on-board before we disembark and head back to Dhaka for our last night in Bangladesh.
Fly from Dhaka to Colombo and night in a hotel in the town of Negombo a short journey from Colombo.
Wilpattu National Park
After breakfast leave for Anuradhapura for two nights. Afternoon, safari at Wilpattu National Park. Wilpattu was traditionally Sri Lanka’s top location for watching Leopard along with Yala in the South. Today, the country’s top cat still rules these forests and the park is also home to elephants, sloth bears, jackals and other mammals. The park also a bird watching haven with over 200 species of birds.
Wilpattu National Park
Morning and afternoon game drive into the park.
Sinharaja Forest National Park
After breakfast travel to Sinharaja and the rest of the day to rest and relax.
Sinharaja Forest National Park
Full day birding at Sinharaja Rainforest (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) for lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. According to a study of the mixed species bird on average 42 individual birds occur in the flocks, which makes this world’s largest mixed species bird flock. The mixed species Bird flock study of Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered as the World’s longest studied bird flock study. Birding highlights include Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush.
Yala National Park
After breakfast leave for Tissamaharama for two nights. Afternoon, safari at Yala National Park, in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and Elephant. The lack of other large carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator and adults and cubs are remarkably relaxed during the day, offering great opportunities for viewing and photography. Yala is also possibly the best place in Asia for sighting the shy and usually nocturnal Sloth Bear. Yala is also home to over 250 Asian Elephant with the highlight being the 10-12 large Tuskers that roam around the park.
Yala National Park
Morning and afternoon game drive into the park.
Morning, another safari at Yala National Park. Afternoon, leave for Calamander Unawatuna Beach, Unawatuna for two nights.
Morning, drive to Mirissa Fisheries Harbour and get on the boat in search of Whales. Blue Whales and Sperm Whales are both seen regularly in these waters. It is the best place in the world for seeing Blue Whale and almost certainly the best place in the world for sighting both Blue Whales and Sperm Whales. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Morning, leave for another whale watching. Afternoon, leave for Beacon Beach Hotel, Negombo for one night.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
During the northern hemisphere winter the weather in Bangladesh is dry and warm with an average temperature of 24 degrees. The skies are typically clear blue and the humidity is low.
The weather during the northern hemisphere winter is usually mild with an average temperature of 26 degrees C and highs of 30 degrees C. There is little rain but it can be relatively humid (around 75%). At night the temperature can get a little chilly, but it is never truly cold.
Everything mentioned in the above itinerary is included. Airport pick up and drop off, three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), accommodation, private vehicles for transfers, a zoologist guide and local guides/drivers, entrance fees to the national parks etc and the chartering of our own boat and crew. There is also at least 1lt of water available per person per day whilst we are here as well.
All our excursions including treks, guided walks, jeep safaris, whale watching and park entrance fees are also included.
We recommend that you bring your own binoculars or scope as well as suitable clothing which would be cool, light clothing which covers most of your skin (as Bangladesh is a Muslim country it is frowned upon to show lots of flesh), men can get away with shorts and t-shirt but woman are typically asked to have their legs and arms covered, at least when in the major city of Dhaka. Bring a scarf to wrap around your head for visits to Mosques. Comfortable walking shoes are a must as there is a lot of hiking involved in this holiday. A sunhat, sun cream and insect repellent are also recommended. Cameras, film and memory cards are a must along with any other items of a personal nature which you will require whilst away.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4-6 people these do not stretch too far. We also provide a spot light for nocturnal viewing (this is subject to local condition when we arrive). Camera Traps will also be used to try and capture hard to see wildlife in the dead of night.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not inlcuded are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, any drinks other than the bottled water provided and of course any tips, souveniers or other items of a personal nature. Any applicable departure taxes and not inlcuded (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Etihad Airways as a good airline for flights to Dhaka and back from Colombo. One of the best websites to search for the best fares is www.holidaygenie.com. They are an ATOL bonded company and this provide all the securities related to ATOL protection. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Bangladesh. These are only obtainable in advance from your local embassy or high commission. The easiest way to find information is by visiting http://www.bhclondon.org.uk/consular2.htm (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Bangladesh, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A and B as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. For people spending more time in Bangladesh before or after the tour it may be agood idea to also protect yourself against Japanese encephalitis, rabies and yellow fever if you travelling between infected countries in Africa and the Americas. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Bangladesh as soon as you have decided on this trip.
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are required to have a visa for Sri Lanka. However these are usually given out free of charge for 30 days on arrival at the airport. The easiest way to find information is by visiting http://www.slhclondon.org/ (be aware that this link leaves our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for information on the site).
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Sri Lanka, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Sri Lanka as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Mr. Stocker, France
M. Philipp Stocker, France
Bob & Heather - Luton, UK
Amanda & Peter Weedon - Staffordshire
Mr & Mrs. Weedon - Staffordshire, UK
Ms & Ms. Burgess - Lancashire
Eleni Liakou & Christos Smagados - Thessaloniki, Greece
We were well catered for, and couldn’t possibly be hungry.
Yasmin Surani - UK
The Whale watching crew was excellent! They did everything they could to make sure the whale was right in front of us but were very responsible in the way they approached it. They didn’t race around like some of the other boats.
Marie & Tom King - Kent
The Francis's, Malvern
Susan Francis, Malvern
Andrew Sneddon, Scotland
Ms. C. Antonucci, USA
Sarah, Austin TX
Mr & Mrs. King, Kent
Tom & Marie King, Kent
Ms. Elisabeth Battagel, Austria
Theresa & Roger Dillworth, Wolverhampton
Patrick Stolz, Switzerland
Robert Sherrin, Canada
Mr. Depinda, Delhi