Choosing to travel in luxury is just another way to make sure that your time off in the wild, at a nature retreat or a just a different urban space runs as smoothly as possible. You can definitely experience the wonderful lightness that comes with taking a trip without the burdens of uncertainties. The option to take a luxury trip anywhere is likely a treat to oneself, and after hard hours of working and stressing over achieving the best possible outcomes at work, it is more than legitimate to “Treat Yo Self” in the same way Tom and Donna would prefer to in the show Parks and Rec! Loosening up knots on your trips can be your top priority when travelling, so do not hold back on that extra bit of expenses to attain your goal here.
Let's take a look on how different travelling to the same destination can be. Depending on the way your expenditures are planned, the experience of a luxury trip or a trip on a budget would be amazing in their own manners.
One of the locations most frequented by myself is Sylhet, Srimangal, and I have usually driven past the resorts which become especially visible right after sunset. If I were on a luxurious trip however, I would likely enter The Grand Sultan Tea Resort and Golf- it being one of the top choices owing to its five-star rating, besides the variety of views and room accommodation, with extra facilities such as access to pool and in-house dining services.
Other options include The Bangladesh Tea Resort and museum, the Nazimgarh Resorts and others, which offer a variety of accommodations with tour packages so that the guests may visit the tea gardens and other attractions of the region.
All of these, simply entail that the worries of executing certain plans or activities during the vacation have already been taken care of for you by the staff, who will make sure your stay is above and beyond pleasurable.
Relaxing with your friends, family or even by yourself, with scenic views that are omnipresent in the region, thanks to mother nature, will cost you a minimum of Tk 15,000; changing with variables such as where you would want to dine, visit, and how long you would stay or how big of a group you are travelling with.
On the other hand, for those who would like to max out on the adventurous side of travelling and roll with the dice, the luxury trip would not be the correct choice. In fact, it would be the furthest from it, especially if 'unplanning' is something on the agenda.
This I write because the unplanning really does lead to some hilarious memories. I recall that one time my friends and I had walked into a tea garden and found a stream by a hillside and enjoyed the sunset from there. Then we realised that we did not have a ride to the city and would have to wait on the highway for at least two three-wheelers (CNG's), to fit in the eight of us there.
Ultimately, and I still do not know how we managed it-- all eight of us had to take one three-wheeler, with myself sitting on top of the engine. All our towels piled together and acted as my seat and essentially protected me from the heat it would radiate, since we could not find any transport to the Bazar where we would dine at a cheap roadside shop.
There are a number of resorts offering relatively cheap accommodations. At places like Shanti Bari Eco Resort, development organisation based resorts such a Heed Bangladesh, or even a number of student dormitories.
You can eat at local places and even carry a range of dry food, especially energy bars and mixed nuts to curb hunger at those odd hours of the day, and save up on food expenses. On a budget, a trip to Srimangal can be arranged at a minimum cost of Tk 3,500 per person, especially when travelling in a big group.
With my favourite destination covered, simply because of the ease of access and it being an extremely tourist friendly place, (and writing from the perspective of a Dhaka dwelling young adult at that!) most places and destinations allow one to opt for either a luxury retreat or a boost on a budget.
Take Bandarban for example. You can choose to stay in one of the many hotels and resorts in the town or interspersed among the hills and woods, with rates as low as Tk 400 for the dormitory at Hotel River View. Or you can sit back and take in the beauty of the surrounding nature at Tk 16,000 in the Premium room at Sairu Hill Resort. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, there are also some tribal villages where visitors can find accommodation at the locals' houses for about Tk 600-1000, food inclusive. Getting around too depends on how much you choose to spend. You can hire private transportation to get around the tourist spots in Bandarban such as the Golden Temple, Chimbuk Hill, or Nilgiri etc. or you could use the local bus and three wheelers to reach whichever location you would like to visit. At Bandarban, there are endless choices with a number of lakes and waterfalls with Boga lake, Shoilo-Propat and Nafakhum being popular places to spend one's time during the tour.
Another beautiful location to spend time is in the North of Bangladesh, with Rangpur providing the perfect place to visit. With the rich history and heritage that occupies the majority of this region, travelers are sure to get a chill as they take in the scenic remnants of bygone eras and a past that claims its regal status to this day with the presence of an astounding architecture. The village of Puthia allows you to bask in the glorious temples while the Mahasthanghar in Bogra indulges the archeologist within. Besides this, Rangpur proudly boasts being the 'Mango Capital' of Bangladesh, and the surrounding regions of Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Domar etc, are must visits during the stay just to pay homage to some of nature's most astonishing creations. You can choose to stay at the Momo Inn during the visit for a lavish experience or reside in one of the guest houses provided by RDRS. The trip to Rangpur would cost a minimum of Tk 3,000 for a lower budget trip, and a minimum of Tk 10,000 for a more luxurious stay, with cost variations depending on where you visit during your stay.
Even as you travel abroad, there is this dichotomous manner in which you can plan your stay. Be it the beaches in Bali, the Annapurna Ranges in Nepal, or the Tiger's Nest in Bhutan that your heart craves during the hols, (though some of it is dictated by the capitalist structure we are inherently situated in) you can choose the style of your stay and the impact on your pocket based on your individual autonomous decision. A bare minimum that absolutely has to be spent in order to visit these places start at Tk 25,000 for Nepal or Bhutan, and Tk 40,000 for Indonesia. These could increase up to and beyond Tk 1 lac, due to the shopping sprees that have a spa-like effect on many people!
The perks of travelling in either style is endless and it really is up to you how you may want to travel. In the end, you will come out with priceless memories, given that you listen to your heart and choose to do what you would appreciate. You can bring in some luxury to your adventures or you might want to tend to some wild craziness to your bliss. Either way, the wanderlust within should be satiated!
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed