Presenter: Holly Morris
Holly’s journey beings in the energetic and furious mega-city, the capital: Dhaka. With a reputation as one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Dhaka is a modern city with an ancient heart.
A first and last impression of Bangladesh is likely to be the rainbow colours of cycle rickshaws. Holly meets the rickshaw artists who decorate the capital’s fleet of 600,000-plus rickshaws. She samples the local cuisine and the myriad of markets before heading out to experience riverine Bangladesh, seeing this water world from the vantage point of a paddle steamer boat on a 30 hour journey south.
Passing by an ancient mosque, and being blessed by a crocodile, Holly reaches the largest mangrove swamp in the world – the Sundarbans National Park, home of the Royal Bengal Tiger. This is where Holly goes honey hunting for the nectar of the tiger forests, but… she has to watch her back as every 3 days someone is attacked by a tiger in these parts. She also learns how to fish with tame otters – man’s best friend in this wild part of Bangladesh.
From there Holly heads north, to remote Rajshahi Division. In this unknown corner of the country, a plethora of ruins and reminders here can take the traveller through a tour of Bangladesh’s history, right up to the continuing embrace of Islamic life. Holly comes across a village which exists on water. In a country where flooding is routine, a local organisation had the idea to bring school to the children when road ways are impassable. Teachers give lessons on a school boat, which also functions as the school bus, picking up the pupils en route to it’s final stop.
Holly heads westwards, skimming the capital, visiting a village of 100 snake charmers, and seeing a replica Taj Mahal. Here she becomes a Dhallywood movie star for the day! Continuing her journey to the lush tea plantations of the Sylhet
Division, she samples the delicious local tea and then takes the sleeper train south on an overnight journey to the southern corner of Bangladesh – the Chittagong Division. Here Holly sees the shipbreaking yards and their majestic ghost ships, all lined up for recycling on a colossal scale.
Finally Holly heads further south to Cox’s Bazaar, the world’s longest sandy beach. Here she takes a surf lesson with some Muslim surfer girls and their instructor. These surfers are changing the role of water in Bangladeshi society- making the beach a place to enjoy water sports and time with friends.
Holly wraps up her travels on a deserted paradise that is Sonadia Island. The isolation and tranquility is a complete contrast to the rest of the country and shows her a different side to beautiful Bangladesh.