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Darius4522 May 12th, 2007 06:21

Manas in Assam and Brahmaputra cruise
 
3 Attachment(s)
I have just returned from Assam, where I stayed at Bansbari Lodge near the border of India and Bhutan prior to cruising the Brahmaputra and staying in Dibrugarh.

Bansbari Lodge is basic but comfortable, and situated next door to Manas National Park - one of India's designated tiger breeding parks.

Bansbari overlooks a magnificent tea graden, and within a radius of about 2-3 km there are many lovely villages to wander through, plus walks along the banks of the Manas River.

Time has almost stopped still in this area, and it is charming. With the exception of the occasional motor bike, and limited electricity, litle appears to have changed for 50 or so years.

Mind you, reaching Bansbari involves a 4 hour drive from Guwahati, with the last 20 or so kilometres taking about 90 minutes to cover, such is the poor condition of the first road.

Bansbari offers guided walks and jeep safaris, including one to the border, arriving at sunset and looking over the river into Bhutan. The border actually enters on your side of the river at one point, so you can step into Bhutan without going through passport control and immigration!

During the safari you will see wild elephants, monkey, Indian bison, water buffalo, many bird species including giant Indian storks - and maybe even a tiger or two if you are lucky.

The cruise, operated by the Assam Bengal Navigation Company (it also operates Bansbari Lodge) was brilliant and took us through very remote areas of Assam, well away from roads. We went through many villages where, again, timne has stood still for many years. Europeans remain a novelty to the villagers, especially those from the Mishing tribe. In fact, apart from the 7 other Europeans on the voyage, we never saw a white face for 14 days (including our time in Bansbari and Dibrugarh).

The cruise covers come 350 kilometres and includes Majuli Island, reputedly the world's largest river island.

In Dibrugarh we stayed at Mancotta Bungalow, which was heaven on earth.

I have some initial photos in the India section of my photographic site (http://jmpr.photium.com/), while information about Bansbari and the cruise can be found at http://www.assambengalnavigation.com/index.htm .

Barkha May 30th, 2007 17:15

Thanks a ton for the detailed info...I am so tempted to undertake the 10-14 nights cruise but I know i'l have to wait for it (no time and no money)....

But yeh the links provided are now saved on my Laptop and I shall take the trip ASAP

Diane-PDX Aug 3rd, 2007 11:19

Brahmaputra Cruises-cheaper alternatives to ABN?
 
I just checked the Assam Bengal Navigation web site. They charge $275/person/night for Oct 07-Apr 08 with the shortest cruise being 4 nights ($1,150pp with tax).

Do other companies offer less luxurious and less expensive river trips in Assam? Thanks.

Diane

Darius4522 Oct 26th, 2007 06:36

ABN Navigation Company
 
Diane, not that I know of.

But in looking at the cost, you have to remember that it covers accommodation in a comfortable self contained cabin with your own bathroom/toilet; all meals (the food is excellent); and very gooid well guided on-shore excursions (generally two per day).

You are also well off the beaten track, so costs to the company are expensive in terms of transportation for food supplies etc. You won't see another white face apart from those of your fellow passengers. It's very remote, and not really for the faint-hearted who prefer their creature comforts.

I did a similar cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia with www.pandaw.com which was less expensive but just as good - probably better, because it also includes all soft drinks, local beers and bottled water. They also operate excellent cruises in Burma.

You can always email me on johnm@adam.com.au and my photos are at http://jmprphotography.com

julesa Oct 26th, 2007 09:59

wow i'm jealous. sounds like a fantastic tour and i love the photo of the elephants.

however i'm a tight a** and there's no way i'm spending $200 a day in india :)

we considered Manas but decided on Kaziranga due to the lack of rebels.

sald Oct 26th, 2007 11:28

How safe is it to cruise in assam, particularly on off-beat routes?

@julesa
Did Kaziranga pose any security issues? I would believe not seeing you've lived to tell the tale!! :) But a brief account of your experience would help.

julesa Oct 26th, 2007 11:42

kaziranga is considered perfectly safe. in fact while we were in kaziranga, the ULFA were setting off bombs in guwahati.

assam supposedly has rebel groups using it for cover. although they don't target tourists as far as i'm aware.


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