A Good Vacation is Never Long Enough


Val and Lawrence, Planetwildlife Clients


Often at the end of a vacation, you are ready to come home, to the comfort of your house and your own bed. But a really great vacation leaves you wanting more. My partner and I recently travelled to Northeast India on a PlanetWildlife trip, and we already want to go back. This trip to Wild Assam and the Sundarbans was a journey unlike any other, especially since we visited a number of different wildlife parks. We have been lucky enough to travel to India a number of times to see the tigers, but we had not yet travelled to Assam or the Sundarbans. Before we could set out on this adventure, we spent about six months planning the trip with the help of a PlanetWildlife executive, who gave us some really good ideas about the itinerary.

After travelling from the UK, we started our journey in the Indian State of Assam by visiting Manas National Park, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and extending across the Manas River into Bhutan. A UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, this park is an important biosphere reserve home to tigers, and is well known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife. It is also the most beautiful jungle I have ever seen. The silk cotton trees were in full bloom during our visit, which only added to the natural beauty of the park. We had a brilliant guide, Pulak, who knew all the birds and animals, and really worked hard to ensure we had the best day possible and we did. We saw some incredible things including an Indian rock python, which had just had breakfast!

After Manas, we spent a fascinating three days on the Brahmaputra River visiting temples and villages where we observed the local life and culture. We enjoyed experiencing this local culture and interacting with local people who were especially friendly and welcoming.

Next, we went for a short visit to Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Though this is a small sanctuary, it boasts a high density of one-horned white rhinos. We spent a most enjoyable three hours here and saw a number of rhinos, as well as an osprey and other birds.

Kaziranga National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, was next on the itinerary. The park certainly lived up to its reputation of having 75% of the world’s one-horned white rhino population here. At one point we stood on a riverbank, and counted 23 adults and one baby rhino on the other side! There are swamp and hog deer here as well, which we had not seen in India before so that was a special thrill. We only had one day here, which is certainly NOT enough to see everything. We should very much like to return and spend more time here. Again our guide was brilliant and knew the answer to every question we asked him.

The highlight of this trip however was the three days we spent in Sundarbans National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site in the north-eastern reaches of India Ganges delta bordering Bangladesh. The world’s largest area of mangrove forests, the park is home to many rare or endangered animals, such as tigers, aquatic mammals, birds, and reptiles. Our expectations had been low prior to our visit, but we were greatly surprised! This region is beautiful with some of the most amazing birds I have ever seen. No, we didn’t see any of the swimming tigers, which we’d heard so much about, but there is so much more to this place than tigers. The other animals and birds are all so special and one day we even saw a fishing cat. It disappeared very quickly though, so we were not able to get a photograph but we heard the fish flapping its last breath in the dense jungle.

Our guide here was one of the best we have ever had, which made the trip even better for us and Sundarbans Jungle Camp, where we stayed had a wonderful garden surrounding it. We saw so many things without even leaving the property. We also took a boat cruise through the mangroves to enjoy the unique setting; we found the variations of birds and animals between high and low tides especially interesting. We also had a great boat crew and the wonderful chef managed to produce tasty breakfasts and lunches whilst on board cruising through the various channels made by the mangroves.

This was a great trip and PlanetWildlife had certainly put together an exceptional itinerary for us. I was so impressed with the punctuality of all our transfers too. Everywhere we went we were met by a guide and driver. This is a great trip for any wildlife and bird enthusiasts. There is only one complaint - it wasn’t long enough!

Click here to see more photos from Val's trip

Inspired to have a wildlife experience like Val’s?. Email us at travel@planetwildlife.com to set up a custom tour of your own.