Tangua Haor is probably my favourite place in Bangladesh, where I first visited in 2002 for a waterbird census with Bangladesh Bird Club.
Since then, whenever I get an opportunity, I try to revisit it and I still get mesmerised by the surreal beauty of this unique wetland at the foothills of Meghalaya.
Each winter, friends from different countries visit Tangua, friends who are mainly ornithologists; so far, they all agree that this is one of the finest places in the world to enjoy the perfect sunset and the sunrise.
More importantly, Tangua Haor is a Ramsar site, a protected wetland hotspot for biodiversity.
We mainly go there for the bird census, bird ringing and other research purposes; but for local people, this place is a natural fish tank.
Also, the flora of this area is unique and unbelievably diverse.
Tangua is a land that changes its shape in different seasons based on the changes in water level.
In the winter, one can enjoy the natural beauty of many beels, small islands and reed beds.
For the bird camp, we usually set up a tent beneath the tall Hijal and Koroch trees; but if you go there during the rainy season, all you find is a massive water body like an endless sea, and a few tips to anchor your boat if you want. All the villages become isolated islands.
There are almost 30 kinds of migratory wild ducks that stay in Tangua in winter. You can easily hire a dinghy from the local villages and go near the large flocks without disturbing them and enjoy the scenic feathery beauty who came all the way from China, Mongolia or even Siberia.
The wild duck count can reach up to even 1,00,000 in a single flock.
Another very important winter resident of this place is the endangered Pallas's Fish Eagle; these birds are called the king of this wetland.
They are born here, learn how to fly and fish, and in the rainy season, they fly all the way to Mongolia on the Himalayas and return here again in the winter, and usually use the same nest. This eagle in flight is one of the most majestic natural sights in Bangladesh.
When I first went to Tangua, it was a long journey. It took nearly two days from Dhaka to reach Golabari village, but now with all the construction of roads and bridges, you can go there in half a day.
Not only that, there you can stay at a few local boats, called Bajra, by paying rent, or even in the nearby village homestays in winter; in the rainy season you will see big boats full of tourists moving all over the Haor.
Sometimes, especially after the tourists' departure, plastic water bottles and nonbiodegradable packets of snacks can be seen scattered all around the place, which made us sad. Everyone should be reminded of responsible tourism as Tangua is a very sensitive natural place.
If you visit Tangua, please make sure to leave as little negative impact as possible and take good care of the place; only then can it sustain as a place of eternal beauty for the next generations. Also, poaching birds should be made illegal, and strict monitoring should be enforced.
How to go: You can go to Sunamganj directly from Dhaka, get a vehicle to reach Tahirpur or even Solemanpur and get a boat to Golabari or other villages. If you want to visit the famous Shimul Garden, which is in another direction, you have to make your route plan accordingly.
Where to stay: Many reliable tour companies for Bajra and floating vessels are available in the rainy season, where you can reserve the trip. You can reliably stay in Bajra or other rental boats and homestay at nearby villages.
Tk2,800 to Tk4,500 (For additional bus transport Tk550 (Non A/C bus) needs to be paid)
2 Days and 1 Night
Niladri, Hizon Forest, Jadu Kata river, Barek Tila, Shimul Bagan, Khorchar Haor
1 Night Accommodation on the boat
Boat Ride around Tanguar Haor
5 Food meals (2 Breakfast, 2 Lunch & 1 Dinner)
– Avijatrik Tourism Limited