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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Sundarbans (Bangladesh) Masked Finfoot 12th to 16th Apr 2023 (1 Viewer)

Glad to hear you enjoyed the trip, and also your health lets you.

Tell us more about other birds and animals!
 
Glad to hear you enjoyed the trip, and also your health lets you.

Tell us more about other birds and animals!
The flat fish was moribund on top of the water, the crew on our boat, grabbed it in a bucket and ate it.
 

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A few more bits including an ID for the fish
 

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Not been to Bangladesh, but of the 110 or so countries Ive done, Pakistan is the one I'd least like to go back to ...I think a common issue :)
What's bad about Pakistan? I would really like to go to Gilgit Baltistan (Deosai NP, valleys beneath Nanga Parbat and K2,...). Landscapes and culture look awesome.
 
What's bad about Pakistan? I would really like to go to Gilgit Baltistan (Deosai NP, valleys beneath Nanga Parbat and K2,...). Landscapes and culture look awesome.
I'd guess that the abject poverty, filth, noise and overcrowding might be an issue, the national parks are an escape from this so cannot be compared.
 
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What's bad about Pakistan?
Everything :)

Sure, every country has some amazing places (well, except Belgium maybe 😅) and Pakistan certainly has these, but my experience in the country has forever indelibly scarred me 🙂 Pretty safe to say I am not very likely to ever visit again.

Andy's list in the post above is a good starting point.
 
While I'm not negligent towards the struggles of travelling in places like India (haven't been in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but I can imagine it's sometimes worse), I always do my best (and succeed) to avoid those places that don't add to the beauty of the trip (e.g. bus stations, outskirts of big cities, horrible traffic jams inside big cities, slums)...
In this way, while having experienced some of the bad and ugly in e.g. India, I had mostly very pleasant experiences in countries like these, and I suppose you can have the same in Pakistan (but maybe less so in Bangladesh, which seems to lack iconic beauty in its landscapes).
 
I went on a trekking/climbing trip to Pakistan in the late 90s, in the Hushe valley in the Karakoram. OK Rawalpindi wasn't great - a subcontinental city, but Baltistan was scenically stunning and the people were very friendly. Decent western Hiamlayan birding too - Himalayan snowcock, white-tailed rubythroat, white-browed tit-warbler, red-fronted rosefinch etc. The Karakoram highway was interminable (though the views of Nanga Parbat were superb) and the people of Chilas unfriendly but I've travelled to far less pleasant places. Wouldn't go back though under present circumstances.

Rob
 
In this way, while having experienced some of the bad and ugly in e.g. India, I had mostly very pleasant experiences in countries like these, and I suppose you can have the same in Pakistan (but maybe less so in Bangladesh, which seems to lack iconic beauty in its landscapes).

I have had three trips to India, one to Nepal and another to Sri Lanka, all which were fantastic in their own ways (especially a winter trip to the Snow Leopards). Pakistan is just at another level - take the worst of what you know from India, multiple it by any number you like and then you still don't have Pakistan :) My imagination suggests Bangladesh is somewhat similar.

To give the country some credit, I didn't visit the Karakorum areas, etc, which clearly have to be stunning. And I visited pre-monsoon, quite probably the worst period to do so, hyper hyper humid and hot.
 
I remember how all the Pakistani passengers on the plane got out of their seats as we landed as soon as the wheels touched the runway, in spite of the obvious insistence of the air stewards not to. And how people would just stare at us wherever we went. But I also remember how charming and friendly our guides were. It felt as if, once you had a relationship with people, they were very warm, but until that, they were somewhat hostile. Also the striking absence of any women on the streets of towns we went through on the Karakorum Highway - they were all at home.

The difference between the lives of the wealthy and the poor in Islamabad looked just enormous.

Food was good, as long as you were no vegetarian.
 
While I'm not negligent towards the struggles of travelling in places like India (haven't been in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but I can imagine it's sometimes worse), I always do my best (and succeed) to avoid those places that don't add to the beauty of the trip (e.g. bus stations, outskirts of big cities, horrible traffic jams inside big cities, slums)...
In this way, while having experienced some of the bad and ugly in e.g. India, I had mostly very pleasant experiences in countries like these, and I suppose you can have the same in Pakistan (but maybe less so in Bangladesh, which seems to lack iconic beauty in its landscapes).
How do yo achieve this?
I have had three trips to India, one to Nepal and another to Sri Lanka, all which were fantastic in their own ways (especially a winter trip to the Snow Leopards). Pakistan is just at another level - take the worst of what you know from India, multiple it by any number you like and then you still don't have Pakistan :) My imagination suggests Bangladesh is somewhat similar.

To give the country some credit, I didn't visit the Karakorum areas, etc, which clearly have to be stunning. And I visited pre-monsoon, quite probably the worst period to do so, hyper hyper humid and hot.

Mirrors my experience but Bangladesh is, I'm sory to say, a s*** hole, the people unfriendly and aggressive to foreigners. The tour guides are wonderful though and extremely helpful but outside of this, beware! I bought some tea at the airport and was then 'asked' for money by the person who had served me.

When I arrived in Dhaka, I had to buy local currency and the guy who served me, asked if would I sponsor him for a UK visa.

On the last day, I went for a haircut and shave, when it came to paying, a large argument broke out between the barber, my tuk-tuk driver and our guide. It turns out that the barber and tuk-tuk driver thought I should be ripped off but the guide, tried to explain that tourists were the future. I'm still fairly physically capable and not easily intimidated but this situation really unnerved me.

Wouldn't go back again.
 
How do yo achieve this?
I try (and I want to stress I try, I don't always succeed...!) to achieve this by:
1. preparing as much as possible;
2. private transport where there is a bigger risk for ending up at the wrong place, wrong time (.e.g. taxis for some stretches);
3. taking the subway in Delhi;
4. avoiding rush hours / driving at night;
5. anticipating, e.g. (and easy to say in hindsight with regards to what you experienced) I try to always ask the price before I agree on something. In this way, I have the power to either say no, pay the agreed amount or give some more (tipping).

long gone are the days when I randomly took a bus to just see where I would end up, find a cheap-looking hotel to end up in a cockroach / rat / fungus infested place, eat for 1 euro / meal while paying 2 (or 3 or 5) would have greatly reduced the chance to catch a stomach bug, etc.

But reading about the Bangladesh experience, I feel it's not really a welcoming place and one I wouldn't enjoy too much either!
 
To each their own but my experience in BD was not so negative. Yes there is bad traffic in Dhaka (and abysmal air quality) but the people and food in BD were lovely and I quite enjoyed. I doubt I will ever return but it was actually a quite nice experience all around and I have nearly all positive memories. shrug
 
long gone are the days when I randomly took a bus to just see where I would end up, find a cheap-looking hotel to end up in a cockroach / rat / fungus infested place
Internet. After Asia got in many ways more online than Europe and the USA, you don't need to search hotels at random or travel to one of these three restaurants mentioned in the Lonely Planet guidebook... :)
 
Unlike all the other "big time 10,000k species world listers" on this, this was effectively "Baby's First Asia Trip" for me, and I could hear the groans every time I asked what this common bird and what that common bird was at a rate of every few seconds. Oops! Nah, I do appreciate the patience of everyone involved in that regard, especially our organizer here for working hard to ensure I wasn't missing out on too much "old hat" content... ;)

Picking up 294 life birds sure made things that much more memorable though! Great experience too, I've always wondered what the foreign birding experience was like after reading so many trip reports over the years.
 
;)Unlike all the other "big time 10,000k species world listers" on this, this was effectively "Baby's First Asia Trip" for me, and I could hear the groans every time I asked what this common bird and what that common bird was at a rate of every few seconds. Oops! Nah, I do appreciate the patience of everyone
I don't recall that you did that bad, apart from not knowing what a Pied Thrush looked like that is ;)
 

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