Four to five hours from Dhaka, depending on how busy the ferry crossing is at Manikganj, lies what seems to be the only genuinely natural leisure facility in Bangladesh.
Still a work in progress to improve both accommodation and the services that will make it a world class eco destination, the 60+ acres make an unbelievable contrast to the Dhaka left behind.
Awaking to bird song, throwing open the shutters or emerging onto the narrow verandah of your chalet that is built of natural, renewable materials, above the soft swishing sound of the fan, the morning chorus of a wide diversity of bird species, many of them rare, you feel you are in a different, far friendlier country.
This peice does not aim to be a revue of the accommodation and services, but rather of the extraordinary environment. It is, however, fair to say that the accommodation may be a little unrefined, but the home grown food, from fish to dairy products (catch you own fish for barbequing or steaming in Arunima’s unique fashion), is fresh, direct from fish pond or home farm, to the table.
And there is no shortage of water around you here. The sixty acres comprises ponds, grasslands, including a very challenging 9 hole golf links and tennis court, but woodland walks, lakeside retreats and lawns. No need, in fact, ever the take the ferry away from the secure premises.
But not to leave whilst there would also be a pity, with boat racing in the sleek, spectacular black racing boats of the region, an inheritance from the days of Nawabs whose boats were pirate hunters and rapid message bearers, easily arranged on the nearby rivers. Otter fishing at nearby Narail, where a mid 18th Century pavilion on the river bank, where the Zaminder landed for the palace that no longer stands, pefect for picnics, or the Stone Temple, and another from Mughal period are easy to find, all add to the incentives to look around.
Or Bagerhat itself, with its 60 Dome Mosque, and fascinating souvenir shops by the Crocodile Lake and Shrine, all appeal.
Not just a great location to stay. But a great base for exploring the colourful culture and heritage of Bangladesh!