My sleepy quartet of friends met in the backpacker’s paradise of Sudder Street in Kolkata a warm Friday morning, coming from separate corners of the city for our Heritage Travellers Sunderbans tour. We were quickly introduced to our guides for the day, and given a tasty breakfast of sandwiches and chai as we piled in to a big van, making small talk with our other travel-buddies. The drive took as through the length of the EM Bypass which skirts by the east of this chaotic city, picking up more travelers from a stop in the south. Then we sped along by factories, fish farms, and towering brick kilns. The air became cleaner, sticky with the promise of the sea. Finally, after a pair of hours, we approached the end of the road and boarded a colorful, beautiful boat with benches and carpets on which we lounged for the last leg of our trip to the Eco Lodge where we would stay. We passed around cookies from one of the best bakeries in Kolkata, swapped introductions, and settled in to home for the weekend.
Our Sunderbuns trip was full of relaxing on the boat, spotting all kinds of birds, wild boar, crocodiles, and more. We went on a peaceful sunset cruise, in smaller row boats, and got to wiggle in to the narrower sections of mangroves. The lodging was basic, clean, comfortable, and calm. All of the food was delicious, and the evening entertainment – a small musical group playing traditional instruments – was excellent. All in all, our Sunderbans trip was a welcome break from the relative chaos of Kolkata, and I would recommend the weekend trip to anyone in the area!