After a month of fasting, prayers and penance during Ramadan, what do you most look forward to? Relaxing along the pristine white beaches and lush natural beauty while scuba-diving and bringing the adventurist out of you? Engaging in some fun and entertaining activities in a tiny island nation that nevertheless packs a punch? Or touring a country that offers a plethora of cultural sights and sounds for tourists, including one of the seven wonders of the world?
As thousands of Bangladeshis catch flights to travel for happiness during Eid, here are some of the destinations that could make perfect itineraries as you pack-up, unwind and fly-off…
Thailand: Where the world holidays
Thailand isn’t referred to as a global holiday destination for nothing. The country offers almost everything in terms of what a tourist desires. So here’s what an itinerary could look like as you celebrate and make merry during Eid.
You could take a flight to Bangkok and catch an onward connection straight to Phuket with the intent of coming back to the capital and spending a few days on the last leg of your trip. Phuket is relatively more under-explored than its more popular cousin, Pattaya and offers the flexibility to tourists to make their day action-packed or one filled with rest and relaxation. Phuket is 1.5 hours of flying distance from Bangkok and flights are available at regular intervals.
In Phuket, one must visit Phang Nga Bay for an unforgettable experience. A distinctive feature of the bay is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald green waters. These islands are home to sheltered fauna that are possible to observe on certain tours. James Bond Island and Koh Panyee are two of the most famous spots in this bay. Patong is the most popular and happening area among tourists visiting Phuket and is replete with a number of hospitality, dining and shopping options and is, of course, home to a large number of spas and massage parlours.
The allure of the beaches in Phuket is hard to resist. With more than 30 to choose from, the island offers a lot of variety in terms of beaches that are sheltered and secluded coves to those that comprise long and lively shores. Most of the best beaches in Phuket are along the west coast and offer picturesque sunsets along with their soft white sands and clear blue seas with cool and inviting waters.
A visit to Phuket remains incomplete without a tour to Phi Phi Island, Thailand's star island. Phi Phi's beauty, when approached by boat, rises from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungles. On Phi Phi, there are some popular outfits that offer guests a professional scuba-diving experience to explore the rich biodiversity of the oceans.
Once back in Bangkok, get ready to be dazed by the sheer energy buzzing through the city. To get a pulse of this vibrant metropolis, you could head to the Chatuchak Market, which is one the largest markets in the world with over 8,000 stalls covering an expansive 27 acres. Open every Saturday and Sunday, you can locate almost everything you could ever imagine and that too at bargain prices. For the high-end shoppers who want their fix of global brands, there’s no better place to shop that Siam Paragon. With over 250 shops, this market will keep the well-heeled on their heels for hours on end!
For those who wish to laze around and soak in the sun, at over 500,000 sq. m, the Lumpini Park provides relief from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. It is not unusual to see the older Thai generation practicing Thai Chi or a romantic couple relaxing by the side of the lake. During the weekends, the park is full of people taking part in all sorts of activities.
Finally, to round-off your trip, visit Bangkok’s Chinatown. Packed full of street stalls and restaurants, the choice of places to eat are endless and nowhere else in Bangkok you will be able to get to sample different varieties of Chinese food.
Bangkok is about 2.5 hours of flying time from Dhaka and convenient flights are available from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Flights are also available from the Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong. The Baht is the currency of Thailand. Make sure you apply for a Thai visa at least 3-4 weeks in advance before your trip.
Singapore: Small is ‘big’
Quick, which is one of the three city-states in the world? Ok, let’s try another one. Though this place is dubbed as the ‘Lion City’, there are no lions here. If you have got the answers (well, even if you haven’t), welcome to Singapore!
You can start your trip to Singapore by visiting the ‘State of Fun’, Sentosa, which is guaranteed to be a huge playground for the whole family. Begin with a visit to 1 Universal Studios. The movie-themed entertainment park is filled with thrilling rides based on blockbuster movies. You can also wander around the seven different zones and get a family portrait taken with some familiar film characters.
Next, you can pop by the 6 Singapore Flyer to enjoy 360-degree views of the city skyline from 165-m above the ground. The sight of the Lion City in the morning is stunning from this giant ferris wheel. Thereafter, you can make your way across the bay to the Marina Bay Sands for its large number of celebrity restaurants.
If you are travelling with kids, you should definitely visit the three wildlife parks, the River Safari, Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.
Start your day at the River Safari. This is the region's first river-themed zoo with creatures like manatees and jaguar. Of course, a must-see is the giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia. You must also try the Amazon River Quest, a breezy 10-minute boat ride where you'll see animals like the Brazilian tapir and the giant anteater. Thereafter, you can move over to the nearby Singapore Zoo for more fun. An award-winning 28-hectare park, the zoo is divided into 11 zones. Enter the Fragile Forest for an intriguing rainforest experience, roam the Primate Kingdom, or pay a visit to the Land Down Under in the Australian Zone. At the Night Safari, the world’s first, you can spot nocturnal animals like wallabies and spotted hyenas.
Your visit to Singapore will be incomplete without shopping! So set the ball in motion by taking an excursion to Orchard Road, Singapore’s most famous shopping district. From international fashion brands at 17 Robinsons and local labels at Tangs to value shopping at 19Scape, one can find everything here. If you love a good deal, hit other areas like 20 Bugis and Haji Lane. Finally, you can wrap up your trip with a visit to the sprawling duty-free shopping area at Changi Airport. You can pick last-minute stuff for yourself or souvenirs for family and friends back home.
Singapore is about 4 hours of flying time from Dhaka and convenient flights are available from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The Singapore Dollar is the currency of Singapore. Make sure you apply for a visa at least 3-4 weeks in advance before your trip.
India: The cultural melting pot
India is famous for Bangladeshi tourists and what better reason to visit the immediate neighbour, that too during the Eid festivities!
Though India is a large and diverse country with many avenues and options for tourists, among the popular itineraries is the ‘golden triangle’ tour. You can start your trip from Delhi and visit historical monuments like the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate and Parliament House. In the evening, you can attend the light-and-sound show at the Red Fort, another important Mughal monument. While in Delhi, you can sample some mouth-watering kebabs and Mughlai dishes in Matia Mahal bazaar or visit Karim’s restaurant in the Chandni Chowk area. The chefs of Karim’s are descendants of those who manned the kitchens of the greats Mughals.
After absorbing the sights and sounds of Delhi, you must ready yourself to get into the pages of history by visiting the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra. Agra is a racy 200-km from Delhi via the Yamuna Expressway. En-route to Agra, you can visit Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra. Once in Agra, get ready to be amazed. You might have seen the Taj Mahal countless number of times in magazines but there’s nothing that will prepare you when you make eye contact with this magnificent marble mausoleum. For those interested in history, you must hire an ASI-certified guide (Archaeological Society of India) who will reveal nuggets of interesting information as you walk through the complex. While in Agra, you can visit the Agra Fort which was designed as a military base by Akbar.
The next day after a night’s stay in Agra, you can make your way to Jaipur, about 250-km away, via the imposing monument of Fatehpur Sikri. In Jaipur, or the pink city, you should visit the Jantar Mantar, Hawa-Mahal, City Palace and the bazaars of Jaipur for some excellent shopping. You can also make a visit to the old Rajput capital, the Amber Fort, with an ASI-certified guide, taking an elephant ride to the ramparts of the fort. You can spend your day exploring the vast complex. Towards the evening, you can catch up with shopping and sightseeing while ending your day with dinner at Chokhi Dhani, an open-air ethnic restaurant with folk dancers and authentic Rajasthani cuisine. If you are not ‘time-pressed’, you can extend your stay in Rajasthan by taking a trip to the wildlife sanctuaries at Sariska or Ranthambore.
Delhi is about 2.5 hours of flying time from Dhaka and a direct flight is available from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The Indian Rupee is the currency of India. Make sure you apply for an Indian visa at least 4-5 weeks in advance before your trip.
So if you want to plan your trip and travel for happiness during Eid, give a call to GD Assist. The company’s full-fledged travel concierge services will not only help you pick the right destination but will also match your budget with the large number of packages on offer.
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