I learned about Sundarban in geography class during my school days. Since then, this destination has climbed up to the top of my wanderlust list and become one of my dream destinations. Mainly a game cruise and birding tour through the Sundarban’s narrow canals is one of the exciting ventures I have always wanted to do during my trip to the southern part of Bangladesh.

Finally, that moment has arrived. This is my first visit to Sundarbans, and I just spent a night on a launch (motorboat picture below). I have previous experience staying overnight on a junk boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Still, nothing could come close to the thrilling experience of spending a night in a launch anchored right on the delta and next to one the largest mangrove forest in the world.

sundarbans, bangladesh
A view from our launch (motor boat) – Still dark outside!

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sundarbans is one of the world’s most extensive mangrove forests and covers areas of India and Bangladesh. About 1400 sq km (500+ sq miles) and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A third of the forest is covered by water and marshes and is considered a wildlife sanctuary. There are about 400 Royal Bengal Tigers and more than 30,000 deer in this area, but that’s not all. Many species are found in Sundarbans, such as hawksbill turtles, saltwater crocodiles, river dolphins, and many more. 

deer in sundarbans
Monkeys from the top lower the branches so that deer can reach the leaves

Preparing for Sundarbans Canal Trip by Boat

I woke up very early; it was a cold winter morning could not see anything around but only heavy fog and the sound of waves. Our captain anchored the vessel near a safe and suitable place away from the jungle for safety. The crews were busy in the kitchen preparing our breakfast. When we finished our delicious Parata, omelet, alu bhaji, and local tea, we started seeing the fog shifting away, uncovering the surroundings.

Sundarban, Bangladessh
Early winter morning view of Sundarban, Bangladesh

Sundarban Canals

We boarded a small boat for a game cruise and birding tour through the narrow canals; the canals were so tight that our big boat could not cruise through, so we had to use one of the small boats. As we entered deep into the jungle, they shut down the propeller and cruised through by rowing to minimize the noise and not to scare away the wild animals. There are hundreds of small networks of canals going through the forest, so without a guide, I would be lost in no time. 

sundarbans, bangladesh
A canal deep inside the jungle

It was a tranquil environment, as I could hear nothing but the silence of the jungle. While our boat was cruising through the tall and tangling mangrove forest, we spotted a few beautiful species dwelling on the bank of the canal. Some part of the canal was really fearful dense forest, and the incredible silence and the bank on both sides so close to our boat made my nerve alerted for potential danger. Nevertheless, it was a tremendous thrilling game cruise experience of a lifetime. 

Boat trip in Sundarbans
Boat trip through the narrow canals

After a few hours of the game cruise, we returned to our launch for lunch and prepared a guided walk through the jungle (with an armed guide for protection) for our next event of the day. So now, I am back in New Jersey, USA, with the incredible memories of Sundarban. I am absolutely in love with it.

A view showing the roots of mangrove tree forming stilt roots in the mud.
We spotted few spotted deer suspiciously looking at me, Sundarbans

Best time to visit Sunderbans

In my opinion, winter is the most pleasant time to explore the Sundarbans. This is Because the winter months are between November and February, with very little rain and temperatures between 15 – 25 degrees Celsius. In comparison, Summer between May to August is hot, humid, and wet. Moreover, the monsoons carry heavy and prolonged rains, which makes traveling rather difficult.

Beautiful canal
Beautiful canal going through the Sundarbans forest in Bangladesh

My Observation And Tips

My short visit has made me appreciate the Bangladeshi people and their culture. They are very hospitable and helpful, and Bangladeshi cuisine is among the best in the world, particularly delicious fish dishes.

Game cruise and birding tour – Your Sundarbans trip would not be completed without a game cruise through the narrow canals. 

Sundarban, Bangladessh
A view of the launch (boat) we took for the Sundarbans trip

Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sadia

    Thank you for this beautiful post! Can you mention what tour company you used for this? How can you determine legitimate, safe tour companies and boats for this experience? Thank you!

  2. New Rajasthan Tours

    The thrilling boat trip in Sundarbans was a captivating journey through nature’s wonders. From navigating mangrove forests to spotting elusive wildlife, every moment was an adventure. An unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts!

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