SYLHET – TOURING THE NORTH OF BANGLADESH

Sylhet was without a shadow of a doubt the most exciting time I had during my two weeks spent in Bangladesh.

Not only was I finally able to explore around on my very own, but Sylhet had the absolute best sceneries I got to see in all of Bangladesh. Not only that, but there were so many things to do in Sylhet, that I wish I had spent a few more days exploring the region.

Up to that point, Bangladesh had been an absolutely fantastic discovery. The people had been great, the food had been amazing, and the natural sceneries had been gorgeous.

And even though the monsoon weather had been absolute shit, I was still having a blast.

But I still had to discover a little bit of the country on my own.

Bholaganj - Bangladesh India border

Hay farmers in Bholaganj, in northern Sylhet

As I just mentioned, part of what made Bangladesh so great was its people. Especially, the host family I was staying with, who provided for me and made sure I had everything I needed to have a comfortable stay.

On the other hand, as an independent solo traveller, I’m not used to that level of attention and catering of me.

So after a few days of always being surrounded by people, I started to feel the itch to go and discover part of the country on my own.

So I booked a bus ticket to Sylhet.

SIGHTS OF SYLHET

Sylhet was without a doubt the greatest surprise I had in Bangladesh.

Even though the city of Sylhet itself does not have much of anything that could be called a sight, it is in the surroundings of Sylhet where the best sights are located.

Not only was it in Sylhet that I had the most exciting adventures during my time in Bangladesh (if you can call crossing illegally into India without realizing it an adventure…), but also Sylhet was home to some of the best natural scenes I saw during my entire time in the country.

Lake Lalakhal - Sylhet, Bangladesh

Lalakhal Lake in Sylhet

 

Here are some of the best things to do in Sylhet:

LALAKHAL LAKE

By far, my favorite place in all of Sylhet and the most beautiful sight in all of Bangladesh was Lalakhal Lake.

Lalakhal Lake is about 40 kilometers north of Sylhet, and it takes about an hour and a half to get to the pier where boats can be rented for one of the most spectacular views in the region.

The lake is of a beautiful crystal clear green water, with lush green hills on both sides of the river. Along the way it is possible to see a few fishermen boats as well as the children and families who live near the lake going about their day.

Even though Lalakhal lake is the most beautiful place in Sylhet, it was not overcrowded with people. During the entire three hours I spent on the lake, I only came across a handful of other boats carrying local tourists.

A boat can be rented for 1500 BDT ($17 USD) for the full ride.

Lalakhal Lake - things to do in Sylhet Lalakhal Lake - things to do in Sylhet Lalakhal Lake - things to do in Sylhet

BISNAKANDI

As with many other places around Sylhet, Bisnakandi abounds with natural beauty. 

A gorgeous lake stream surrounded by green mountains are what’s on show at Bisnakandi, but it isn’t its main draw.

Bisnakandi happens to be one of the many border points between Bangladesh and India, and local tourists seem to prefer coming here to get a glimpse of the Indian mountains.

Indeed, of all the places I visited around Sylhet, it is Bisnakandi that had the largest crowd of tourists. There were also many armed guards along the lake stream whose only job is to make sure that no one from the Bangladesh side crosses illegally into India.

Even though Bisnakandi was a nice place to look at, it got old really quick.

The number of people robbed the place from much of its potential calm and natural beauty, with crowds loudly screaming and moving around to take the worst possible selfies and group photos on the planet. On top of that, crossing the river to get from one side to the other wasn’t easy, as the river was filled with small rocks, making it nearly impossible to walk without falling.

And, getting to Bisnakandi was no piece of cake.

From Sylhet, a long hour-and-a-half CNG ride through some of the worst roads in Bangladesh is needed to get to a port where boats leave for Bisnakandi. Boats only leave when full, and charge about 400 BDT for the approximately 30 minute ride.

Boat to Bisnakandi - things to do in Sylhet

Boat to Bisnakandi

Bangladesh - India border - Bisnakandi, Sylhet

Can you see the border line? 🙂

Indian mountains at Bisnakandi

Indian mountains at Bisnakandi

Bisnakandi - Sylhet

Bisnakandi – Sylhet

BHOLAGANJ

Bholaganj was where my biggest misadventure in Bangladesh happened.

In fact, I wrote a complete article on how I ended up getting yelled up by guards for inadvertently crossing into India, twice.

But even though this wasn’t my best day, I still enjoyed the sights of Bholaganj. 

Bholaganj is another site where many Bangladeshis go to take a peek into India. In fact, it is even possible to step foot into India at various points without anyone saying anything about it.

Getting to Bholaganj is actually easier than going to Bisnakandi, albeit it is just as much of an uncomfortable ride.

Bholaganj - Bangladesh India border Boats in Bholaganj

OTHER SIGHTS OF SYLHET

As I mentioned earlier, Sylhet is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Bangladesh. There are plenty of other things to do in Sylhet, in addition to the ones mentioned above. Here are some other sights which, unfortunately, I did not get to visit:

  •  Ratargul Swamp Forest
  • Tanguar Haor
  • Panthumai
  • Luvachora
  • Jaflong
  • Jadukata
  • Dolura
  • Lawachera

A good website I found to coordinate my trips was http://visitsylhet.com/places-to-visit. It is a local website which has all the necessary information about the sites above, and many more.

What did you think of Sylhet?

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