Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 57, Tuesday September 19, 2006














Samatata: A different experience

Bangladesh revels in its rich endowment of water bodies. Her rivers flow like the hair of Keshoboti, her lakes sparkle like a doe's eyes and her ponds are a source of afternoon fun for the village children. Water is the very seed of our being. And it is this water that we need to discover and rediscover…

Samatata, a package tour company, is set out to give you just the opportunity: to witness the enigma of the Riverine and to hold in store the memory for a lifetime.

It all started with a few friends bound by the common love for travel and outdoor adventure. They went around the country, only to realise that the beauty must be shared with the others. Initially, ETV helped them air a program called Adventure Bangladesh. Even then, that was not enough. By then they had already come up with a new idea…

One of these friends, Humayan Kabir said, "There was a time when rivers were used for almost everything, be it for commercial purpose or leisure. Now with the growth of air and road travel, demand for waterways has declined”. He points out “It is a common misconception that travel by boats is slower but mind you, you would not have to face any traffic jams! Moreover, people are missing out on the beauty of the river in an attempt to keep up with their fast-track lifestyles”. These enthusiastic friends wanted to do something to revive the popularity of river cruises and tours. So Samatata was conceived in late 2004.

As of now, there are three tour packages available. The first is the Padma tour (3 days, 2nights). Attractions include dolphin watch, the Bird Sanctuary, walk through a village and BBQ on Padma river bank. Also offered are swimming and leisure activities like fishing and enjoying the beautiful sunset.

The Haor (marshland) trip is the second package (3 days, 2nights). Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience: mystic Sufi and Vaishnava music performed by local village artists and relish the traditional village dinner in rural huts. If you are keen on historical monuments, the beauty of the 500 year old Vaishnava Ashram will bewitch you. Other activities include swimming, fishing and if you are bold enough, live shows by snake charmers.

Finally, of course, there is the Sundarban trip (3 days, 2 nights). The Kotka forest will amaze you with its abundance of deer and wildlife. Kotka beach will mesmerise you. Then there is the tranquil boat ride, with dinner onboard. Other major attractions include a forest trek through Kochikhali and an exciting wildlife watch. Their Sundarban package has just been launched this 14 September.

The most intriguing aspect of Samatata is yet to be mentioned- a traditional, intricately decorated and flamboyantly emblazoned wooden boat called ‘Andhar Manik’ is used for the cruises! The Padma and the Haor trips are available only during the off-season and the prices are negotiable. The prices for the off-season Sundarban trips are Tk.6500 for rooms with attached bath and Tk.4500 for bunks with common bath. Season prices are Tk.10,000 and Tk.8,000 respectively.

For further inquiries contact:
samatata.info@gmail.com or call 0171 2854730
By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky



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