NC 500 and Scottish Highlands

Back in 2013 I made a plan for myself to go on some of the most iconic road trips in the world in the next 10 years. As part of that plan I travelled to Melbourne in 2016 and went to the Great Ocean Road. In 2019 I got an opportunity to tick another iconic road trip off my bucket list and this was the Majestic North Coast 500 in Scotland. Based on my experience I will share the best way to do the NC 500 in the most convenient possible manner.

Car Rental:

One of the key part of any road trip is the selection of car, rental company and also the place of rental and drop off. During my first trip to the Great Ocean Road I picked one car from the airport but later found that it would have been much cheaper had I reserved one ahead. So, this time I did my research beforehand and looked at different options at least one month ahead.  I decided to book the car from Edinburgh Airport. I picked Edinburgh because the 8-hour drive from London to Edinburgh is unnecessary, I easily took a night bus from London, it saved both time and money. As for pick up location, I always pick Airport as you can take or drop off your car pretty much any time of the day. Also, there are more options at the Airport counters. 

Docs Required:

When renting a car in Europe you will need the following documents (Bangladeshi National):

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License (With Embedded Chip)
  • International Drivers Permit (Mandatory in Europe, not in UK)
  • Credit Card in Primary Drivers Name (Your card must cover the car rent as well as another $700 deposit)

Route Plan:

When doing my research, I realized that July is peak tourist season in Scotland and most hotels and hostels are fully booked. So, I decided to book all my accommodations as early as possible. So, it was very important for me to finalize the night stops. After reading a few blogs and spending stupendous amount of time in Google Maps I was finally able to make a concrete itinerary. 

Day 1: Edinburgh City Tour

Day 2: Edinburgh to Glen Coe

Day 3: Isle of Skye and night stay at Inverness

Day 4: Inverness to Lochinver

Day 5: Lochinver to John O Groats

Day 6: Back to Edinburgh

I will not say that this is the best possible itinerary. If I had more time, I would have added 2 more days, then the whole planning would have been perfect, and I could have covered everything that the Scotland North Coast has to offer.

Day 1: Edinburgh City Tour

Edinburgh is a fascinating city and it’s a pity I got to spend only one day here. Ideally you should spend minimum two days here to make the most of your stay in this marvelous city. I booked my hostel at Safe Stay Edinburgh and for $20 per night it was great value for money. The location was also next to the iconic Royal Mile, right at the heart of old town. Some of the must visit places in Edinburgh are Edinburgh Castle, Royal Mile, Calton Hill etc. My favorite part was the short trek to the top of Arthurs Seat, which is a small hill overlooking the city. The panoramic view of Edinburgh from the top of Arthur’s Seat was mind-blowing. Edinburgh also has a buzzing night life with some great bars and clubs with great live music and party keeps going till late at night. 

Day 2: Edinburgh to Glen Coe

One of the most important rules of any road trip is to have good companion and I was lucky to have four of my best buddies with me. So, we made our way to Edinburgh Airport Car Rental Centre to pick up our pre reserved BMW X1. Unfortunately, we were little late reaching the airport and our reserved car was gone by then. We had to contend with a sedan, a BMW 318, a decent upgrade and after some negotiations, Sixt manager gave us some discount. 

On the way to Glen Coe, we got our first taste of Scottish Highlands and it was love at first sight. The barren lands with twisting roads in between was a sight to behold and driving was pure pleasure. Our first stop on the road was Loch Lomond, one of the hundreds of Lochs in the area. Scottish Highlands is a vast area and although there are proper 2 lane roads covering most of the major tourist attractions, you will also find some single lane roads here and there. Feel free to take some detours and step away from the map. Don’t follow what the GPS is telling you and you will end up in some astounding places. On our first day, we took one such detour and after nearly 15 miles of driving without any directions we ended up in a remote lake called Loch Etive beside the Glen Etive Forest. It was a sight to behold! On the way we also found a wild deer which got really close to our car and even poked his nose inside! 

We stayed the night at a quaint little town called Kinlochleven. We booked our beds at Blackwater Hostel and it was a very well managed accommodation. There were also options for Glamping but all of them were already booked. The weather was not very good the entire day and we hardly saw sunshine, rather it was cold, gloomy and it rained a lot. Still the highland views kept our spirits up and we yearned for better weather in the upcoming days.

Day 3: Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye is one of the best places in Scotland Highlands and it also the most visited. So even before 1 month, I could not find a single budget accommodation. So, we planned to do a day trip in Skye and travel to Inverness at night and stay there, which meant a whole lot of driving on the day. We knew that one single day at Skye is never enough, so we decided to visit some shortlisted places only. First place we visited was near Glen Coe, it’s called Glenfinnan Viaduct. Although you may not have heard about this place, you have for sure seen it before. This is the actual location where Hogwarts Express was shot, and it was something all five of us really wanted to see. Also, our research showed us that a steam engine train similar to that of Hogwarts Expresses crosses the viaduct at 10:45 AM. So, we reached the place and made a short 15 mins trek up the mountains in treacherous rains and muddy conditions just to catch a glimpse and seeing the Hogwarts Express whistling past us was all worth it. 

Afterwards we headed to Skye, we had to cross a ferry on the way as well. After crossing the river, the scenario changed significantly. The sun was out for a few minutes and we were crossing some amazing landscapes. One of the memorable ones was a random roadside waterfall with waters as white as milk. Our target in Skye was to make it to the top of a hill called Old Man of Storr. As we reached Storr, the sky opened up again and it was treacherous. Nonetheless we put our raincoats on and headed to see the old man. The 700m trek was more difficult than I imagined, and the rain made it worse. But after nearly 90 minutes, we were able to reach the top. It was magical but we also wondered what it would have been had the weather been bright and sunny. Exhausted, we took a pitstop at a beautiful small village called Portree and had fish and chips for dinner. On the way to Inverness, we also stopped by a beautiful castle of Eilean Donan. The drive from Portree to Inverness is one of the best I have ever driven in my life. We understood why NC500 was called one of the top road trips in the world and officially we haven’t even started the NC500 route yet.

We stayed the night at Lochness Backpackers Lodge and it was very good. The rooms were clean and the hosts were also very friendly and attentive. The lodge had a very chill common place with a huge collections of board games. 

Day 4: Inverness to Lochinver

The NC500 is a 500-mile circular loop starting from Inverness and circle through the Northern villages of Scotland, including the Northernmost point of United Kingdom, John O’ Groats. We decided to do the trip clockwise and our first part of the day’s journey was from Inverness to Lochinver. Our first stop on the route was Urquhart Castle which supposedly has the best view of Loch Ness. Although we didn’t capture a glimpse of Nessie, we did get some fascinating views of the mystical Loch. Afterwards, we ended up in a beautiful seaside town called Cromarty where we had the best Seafood pizza ever at Café Sutor Creek. 

I got to know about a fascinating golden sunset at a beach in Achmelvich with white pristine sands and we set about looking for it. It is one of the hidden gems of this part of Scotland and the hours we spend on the beach and the surrounding hills were unforgettable. We stayed the night at a quaint B&B called Tarradh Guest House. I was pleasantly surprised to see wild deer roaming around the neighborhood and some even came to graze inside our hotel perimeter. The towns here get quiet by 7PM and most restaurants require reservations at least 24 hours ahead. Achmelvich was so beautiful that we stayed there for hours and didn’t mind skipping dinner for one night. It is definitely one of the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life. 

Day 5: Lochinver to John O Groats

The entire route from Lochinver to John O’ Groats is on the border of Northern Coastline with mind-blowing views of the North Sea. On the way to John O’ Groats there are two major towns, Durness and Thurso. While Durness is a small town with limited things to do, Thurso is the biggest town in the area, it even has a Tesco! There are hundreds of place on the route where you need to stop but with great self-restraint, we limited our stops to 4-5 places. We took a detour at the start of today’s trip and ended up at a majestic shoreline full of different species of birds. The ancient light-house of Stoer also stood above majestically with all its glory. 

The scenery of today’s route was just stunning and we wanted to stop and admire the place after every few miles. We once again got to realize today why NC500 is called one of the top road trips in the world and I was beginning to think whether we should have planned a couple of more days here. We had lunch at Smoo Cave Restaurant just beside Smoo Cave, which is a natural underground cave with multiple tunnels. Unfortunately, because of bad weather, it was closed.

As it was getting late, we skipped a few places like Tongue and Bettyhill beach and headed straight towards Thurso. We bought Chinese takeaway dinner and planned to eat in front of Dunnet Head lighthouse which is the 2nd most Northern part of mainland UK. Although the Chinese food was questionable, nobody can question the serenity of the atmosphere and scenic views on display. We reached John O’ Groats after sunset and so decided to call it night in Seaview hotel. I believe it was the only hotel there, but it had a good atmosphere with a few tourists to chill with till midnight. 

Day 6: John O Groats to Edinburgh

We headed to John O’ Groats first thing in the morning and reached the Northernmost part of United Kingdom. It was a triumphant moment and I also got somewhat sad realizing that our amazing trip is slowly coming to an end. There were a few souvenir shops and also a Starbucks! Having reached our target of the trip, we started the long journey back to Edinburgh. It was a long drive to Inverness without any stops, as we had to return our car in Edinburgh, we decided not to take any long stoppages, rather enjoy the sights while we drove. The Eastern shorelines were equally beautiful, and we had amazing views of the ocean all the way till Inverness. Inverness is the biggest town in the area with lots of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls etc. We had a quick lunch at Subway and headed for Edinburgh. Before returning the car at the airport rental station, we stopped at a service station, got the car refueled, vacuumed and also got a good old automatic wash. I always suggest returning the car in a decent condition so that there is no risk of additional charges. 

At the end of the it all, I ran out of adjectives to describe the road trip. If I ever have the chance to do the circuit again, I would happily do so, only this time I will plan for 2 extra days at least. This trip was special to me for a personal reason as I will be moving to USA next month to start my MBA. 

Route 66 : You are Next!! 

Trip Through Jammu and Kashmir

“A trip to Kashmir” always had a dangerous ring to it. We were always told to stay away from this heavenly place and only got glimpses of it in some Bollywood movies. Previously Indian government even banned most tourists to visit the area but things are changing now. Bangladeshi nationals are now allowed to visit the Jammu and Kashmir state and enjoy the surreal sights and sound of this amazing place. So, after a few months of planning few of my friends did manage to pull off a 10-day trip in the region and the entire experience was somewhat mind-blowing. I do plan to share a day by day itinerary soon but here I will try to share some basic information that I believe somebody interested to visit the area will find useful.


Major Areas to Visit:

The popular tourist areas in Kashmir can be divided in 3 zones:

  1. Srinagar
  2. Kargil
  3. Ladakh

Srinagar is Muslim majority area and the capital of the state. Here you will find many beautiful gardens dating back to the Mughal era and the enormous Dal Lake. Gulmurg and Sonmurg are some of the nearby attractions in Srinagar.

Ladakh is the biggest district and covers the never-ending mountain range. There are also a few Lakes at the foothills of the frozen peaks created by water melted from ice-glaciers. It’s a Buddhist populated area and most of the Ladakh region shares border with China Tibet. Popular tourist places here are Pangong Tso (Lake), Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar etc. Leh city is the main hub in this region.

Kargil sits between Srinagar and Ladakh. Although Kargil was the scene of bloody wars between India & Pakistan, this territory is controlled by the Indians now. Kargil War Memorial, Dras Valley, Zanskar Valley are some the places to visit here.


How to Reach?

From my research, there are 3 viable options to visit Kashmir:

Option A:

  • Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi Flight (Air India Flight, with night halt at Kolkata)
  • Delhi – Srinagar (Indigo)
  • Srinagar – Leh (Local Taxi- 2 Day trip, night halt at Kargil)
  • Leh – Delhi (Indigo or Go Air)
  • Delhi – Kolkata – Dhaka (Airfare)

Here the Airfare cost will be around 35,000 taka if booked 30 days in advance, and Local Taxi will be around 15,000 rupees for a 7-seater taxi. Hotel can be found near Kolkata airport for as low as 800-1000 rupees per person per night

Note that it possible to take direct flight to Delhi and avoid stayover at Kolkata, but that will increase the flight cost by minimum 20,000 taka.

Option B:

  • Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi Flight (Air India Flight, with night halt at Kolkata)
  • Delhi – Leh (Indigo)
  • Leh – Srinagar (Local Taxi- 2 Day trip, night halt at Kargil)
  • Srinagar – Delhi (Indigo or Go Air)
  • Delhi – Kolkata – Dhaka (Airfare)

The cost will be pretty much same as Option B, but I would suggest taking Option A, because Leh is at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level whereas Srinagar is at 1,600 meters. So, if you go to Srinagar first, you will give your body more chance to acclimatize with the extreme altitude and reduce the risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS).

Option C:

  • Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi Flight (Air India Flight, with night halt at Kolkata)
  • Delhi to Manalo by Bus
  • Manali to Leh by Local Taxi
  • Leh to Srinagar by Local Taxi
  • Srinagar – Delhi (Indigo or Go Air)
  • Delhi – Kolkata – Dhaka (Airfare)

I have not taken this route and also not studied it that much, but this is also a scenic route will take around 12-13 days to complete properly.


Where to Stay?

Accommodation greatly differs from one place to another. But all of them are very reasonable. You can either find a hotel or a guest house at a cost of 800-1000 taka per night in Kashmir and Ladakh region. Some notable pointers regarding accommodation is given below:


  • Srinagar: Book a boat-house in Dal Lake for night stay. It’s a beautiful experience. The boat houses are all well decorated. It is better to find a boat house with a good rating in online booking sites like
  • Kargil: There are a few hotels or guest houses in Kargil, good enough for a one night halt.


Rangyul Guest House, Kargil

  • Leh: There are hundreds of hotels and guest houses to choose from in Leh. You are better off to find a place on your own and bargain a good deal. Booking online would be a bit more expensive.


Glayson Guest House, Leh

  • Hunder: This is the place to stay in Nubra Valley. Again, you are better off to find a guest house rather than book online.


Dreamland Guest House, Hunder

  • Pangong Lake: Best deal would be to find a tent by the lake. Maybe a little more expensive than other places but definitely worth it.


Tent in Pangong Lake

  • Tso Moriri: Limited options, don’t expect a lot. Cost is similar to Pangong Lake.



Local Transport and Permits

Best way to roam around Jammu and Kashmir is definitely by renting bikes, the legendary Royal Enfield. It’s very easy to rent one in Leh and take it across the rugged terrain of Ladakh. If you are not into bikes then your best bet is hiring a local Taxi. Taxis are mostly 7 seaters and very comfortable if you are travelling in groups. Taxi drivers can also help out with sight-seeing and accommodations. One big negative is that self-driving rental cars are not allowed in Jammu and Kashmir because of a court order obtained by local taxi union, so it’s either the bikes or the taxi.


Our Taxi, 2016 Toyota Innova

I found the roads in Ladakh very safe and nothing like what its described in many blogs. Yes, the roads are twisty and some places are rugged, but that is common for most mountain regions. In order to visit places like Nubra, Pangong or Moriri you will need a permit which can easily be obtained in Leh through a Travel Agent. You should also ask the travel agent to arrange the taxi. The rates are fixed by Local Taxi Union but after bargaining, we were able to get 10% discount on the fixed rate. The Taxi Fare from Srinagar to Leh is around 14,000-15,000 Indian Rupees.


What to Eat?

 Srinagar is a Muslim populated area so you will find plenty of non-veg options. The area is renowned for its amazing kebabs and barbeques. Ladakh is more Buddhist area and people there prefer vegetarian meals. Most of the guest houses offer breakfast and dinner as a package deal and the owners take a lot of care to provide you the best possible meal. Expect to find, aloo parathas, omelets for breakfast and rice, dal, vegetables, paneer butter etc. for dinner.  On the road, most famous meal is Maggi noodles. Having a hot bowl of magi noodles while sitting on a road side terrace overlooking the mountain is some experience!


Some Other Pointers:


  • Be very wary of AMS, do not take it lightly. Drink lots of fluid especially on days when going through mountain passes like Khardung La.


  • Most accommodations come with decent toilet facilities, but the same cannot be said when on the road. So be mentally prepared to face some of the worst toilets in your life. Wet tissues and hand sanitizers might well end up being life savers.


  • It’s quite impossible to buy a SIM in Jammu and Kashmir region, and your regular SIM will not work if they are bought from another state. Also, don’t expect High Speed internet in this region. You will get Wi-Fi in Lehi, but not good enough to upload photos.


  • When renting taxis, push travel agent to book latest model cars. Normally Toyota Innova or Mahindra Xylo is available.


  • When booking hotels or renting cars, always bargain!


  • ALWAYS carry extra camera batteries and power banks.






If you are visiting Australia and plan to stay in Melbourne for a few days, a must do is a road trip on the Great Ocean Road. It is by far one of the most scenic set of roads one will get a chance to drive on and if you like driving, this 300km long road edging the Pacific Ocean is the Holy Grail. Many travellers plan to go on this road trip, but then decide against it thinking about the treacherous road and hassle of driving in foreign conditions and then many think that they can drive in Australia without a local driver’s license and think that renting a car is very expensive and difficult. All are wrong assumptions and hopefully I can guide you to one of the best road trips of your lifetime.



The first thing you need to decide when planning a road trip is the duration of the trip. I have found during my trip is 2 days is the best allocation of time for the Great Ocean Road which a night stopover in one of the towns on the road. 2 days gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the full experience without facing any kind of rush. There are many things to see on the road, and even in 2 days it will not be possible to see all of them, but at least you will be able to cover about 80% of what the Great Ocean Road has to offer.


The Great Ocean Road starts from the town of Geelong and the road sign is B100. Geelong is around 1 hour drive from Melbourne City and there are many road signs that will lead you to B100. Once you are on B100, you simply follow the signs and coast along. The road stretches up to a town called Warranambool and on the way there will be towns like Torquay, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Peterborough etc. The main attractions of the Great Ocean Road are the 12 Apostles, which are basically rock formations on the sea floor which is a remarkable natural sight to behold. 12 Apostles is between the towns of Port Campbell and Peterborough.


Map of The Great Ocean Road B100


I will share my experience here and try to cover all the details of the trip so that you can get an idea about this trip and plan yours accordingly. I also had a lot of reservations and doubts whether I can do this trip on my own without any locals and it turned out great. My major goal in Melbourne was the Great Ocean Road and so I landed in Avalon Airport, rather the main Tullamarine International Airport. Flights to and from Avalon airport are rare and there are also very few car rental options there as the airport is no bigger than our Jessore Airport in Bangladesh. But the major advantage was that Avalon is closer to Geelong and I can avoid the hassle of driving in Melbourne. If anybody is staying in Melbourne, they can rent cars from the airport or any outlets from the cities. Major car rentals include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget etc. All of them have offices in the airports and also in the city. You will need a Driver’s License and an active credit card to rent a car, it’s that easy! The new driver’s license that BRTA is currently distributing is written in English and thus accepted by all car rentals in Australia. I picked a brand new Hyundai 4WD Santa Fe with GPS navigation and it cost me around $200 US for 2 days. My pick up and drop off location was different and so the cost was a little high. Fuel was my responsibility, I took a full tank and also had to return with a full tank. Once you sign the documents, they will give you the car key and car number and you pick it up from the parking lot and are good to go.

Driving in Australia is easier than in US or Canada as roads in Australia are similar to Bangladesh, they drive on the left hand side of the road and all cards are right hand drive. You just need to go through a basic driving instructions guide in YouTube and that should be good enough to get going. Once I got in my car I gave a quick glance on the controls and set my GPS to Torquay and was good to go.


My first destination was near the town of Angelsea, Split Point Lighthouse. Its 150 year old lighthouse with mesmerizing view from the bottom. They charge around AUD 30 to go up but I decided not to. The view from below was too good already.


From there I went back on the road drove for around 2 hours across some of the best landscapes in the world. The beauty of sea on my left and mountains on my right was a sight to behold. After every 10 minutes or so there are places where you can stop, get down from the car enjoy the scenic lookouts. The drive itself is also challenging, as it’s a 2 lane road similar to Bangladesh and it’s pretty busy especially on the weekends. And unlike Bangladesh, overtaking by going to the other lane is not well received here, you may have to drive behind a slower vehicles for miles before he gives you space to overtake in designated zones. You don’t have to maintain speed limit to the point, but they are a good pointers and you shouldn’t take too many risk on twisty hairpin bends and zig zag roads.

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Zig Zag Roads coupled with epic scenery!


I crossed, Lorne and drove to Apollo Bay where there are many restaurants on the side of the road. I had lunch at an Italian place and also ate a beef pie from a bakery store. You will not find halal food here, so if you want to have halal food, you will have to live on snacks and vegetable sandwiches.


Most travel blogs suggested to stay the night in Apollo Bay as there are many options of hotels and restaurants here but I decided to stay in port Campbell which is about 10 minutes from 12 Apostles. It was a very good decision as I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunset at 12 Apostles and drive only about 10-15 minutes in the dark to reach my hotel. Having dinner afterwards could be an issue, as there are only 2-3 restaurants and they close after sunset. Also you should book hotel there beforehand as there are only a handful of available rooms.


The 12 Apostles are actually spread across the coastline and I found 4 great spots to enjoy them:

1.       Gibson Steps (2 kms before 12 Apostles)

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Gibson Steps

2.       12 Apostles Observation Point

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12 Apostles

3.       Loch Ard and Gorge

4.       London Bridge

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London Bridge : 12 Apostles


I visited London Bridge the next day and then went to Peterborough to look around before starting back towards Melbourne. I am very fond of driving and so for me the Great Ocean Road Drive was a very immense experience. I loved every second of it and so I suggest everyone to go on this trip if they have the opportunity to do so.


Some Important Guidelines:

1.       Summer is the best time to visit (Nov-Feb) but beware of Australian flies. They are a menace outdoor, and you will be constantly disturbed by them. No matter what you do they will be all over you and it’s something you just have to put up with.


2.       The Entire B100 is 2 lane road and so take extreme caution when driving and avoid overtaking. If you are driving slowly, there are places where you can slow down and let the cars behind pass. Watch out for wildlife on the road!


3.       When renting cars, check the car properly first for dents and damages and find out how to open the fuel tank lid.


নাম দিতে পারলাম না

প্রতিষ্ঠানটির সাথে ছেলেটির সম্পর্ক দীর্ঘ ১০ বছরের, সেই ২০০০ থেকে শুরু করে ২০১০ পর্যন্ত। কিন্তু আজও ছেলেটি মনে করে সে এখনও ঐ প্রতিষ্ঠানের অংশ, সুযোগ পেলে শুধু মন চায় ছুটে যেতে, কিছুটা সময় প্রতিষ্ঠানটির বারান্দা দিয়ে হাঁটতে। এই বারান্দা গুলো দিয়েই যেন তার বড় হওয়া, কখনও ব্যাগ কাঁধে নিয়ে, কখনও ফাইল হাতে নিয়ে হাটা, কখনও টিফিন এর মাঝে দৌড়ানো আবার কখনও শাস্তি পেয়ে দাড়িয়ে থাকা, কিভাবে কেটে গেল ১০ টি বছর তা আজও ছেলেটি চিন্তা করে বুঝে উঠতে পারেনি।

২০০০ সালের জানুয়ারী মাসের প্রথম সপ্তাহে, একটি জ্যাকেট, সাদা শার্ট আর কালো প্যান্ট পরে ছেলেটি গুঁটি গুঁটি পায়ে প্রতিষ্ঠানে প্রবেশ করে। কি পরিশ্রমটাই না করতে হয়েছে এখানে আসার জন্য। বিগত ৬ মাস স্কুল এর পাশাপাশি মোহাম্মাদপুর পোস্ট অফিস এর পিছে এক জায়গায় কোচিং করতে হয়েছে ছেলেটিকে। বাংলায় বরাবর কাঁচা ছেলেটিকে অঙ্ক করতে হয়েছে বাংলায়, লিখতে হয়েছে কত অজস্র প্যারাগ্রাফ। কি কারনে তাকে এত পড়ালেখা করা লাগছে, তা ছেলেটি ঐ সময় বুঝেনি, শুধু মা কে খুশি করার জন্য পড়ে গিয়েছে এবং ভর্তি পরীক্ষা অতিক্রম করে সুযোগ ও পেয়ে গেল প্রতিষ্ঠানটিতে যাওয়ার। ফল প্রকাশের দিন, মায়ের আনন্দ দেখে ছেলেটি বুঝতে পারলো যে তার পরিশ্রম সার্থক এবং সে অনুভব করলো যে তার মনের ভিতরেও এক ধরনের প্রফুল্লতা যা সে আগে কখনও অনুভব করেনি।

ফিরে আসি আবার জানুয়ারী মাসে, ছেলেটি এখন লাইন ধরে দাড়িয়ে আছে আরও অনেকজনের সাথে। তার মতই সবাই সাদা শার্ট আর বিভিন্ন রঙের প্যান্ট পরে আছে, সাথে জ্যাকেট অথবা সোয়েটার। বাম পাশে তাকিয়ে খেয়াল করল আরও অনেক গুলো লাইন, বড় ছোট মিলিয়ে এক হুলস্থূল ব্যাপার। এত বড় মাঠে এত ছাত্রের assembly ছেলেটি কখনও দেখে নি। আরও খেয়াল করে দেখল, সবার শার্ট এর পকেট এর উপরে একটি মনোগ্রাম, ছেলেটিও কয়েকদিন এর মধ্যে সেই মনোগ্রামটি পেল আর আগামি ১০ বছর তা ছিল ছেলেটির বুকে, গর্বের সাথে পরিচয় দিয়েছে যে সে এই প্রতিষ্ঠানটির ছাএ।

Prefect উপাধির এক বড় ভাইয়া যার নাম সোহেল, তাদেরকে লাইন ধরে ক্লাস এ নিয়ে গেল। Class 3 Hawks, Roll 36. ক্লাসরুম টা ছিল অন্য রকম, বিশাল একটা ব্ল্যাকবোর্ড, গোল গোল ৬ টি লাইট, অগনিত জানালা, এব্র-থেব্র ছাঁদ, একটি আলমারি, যার ভিতরে কি ছিল তা জানার কৌতূহল এর শেষ ছিল না ছেলেটার। আগে থেকেই class teacher উপস্থিত, Francis P. Rozario. যেমন পরিপাটি, তেমন স্মার্ট, কথা শুনে মনে হল উনি অনেক বছর বিদেশে ছিলেন। English Literature পরাবেন তিনি, প্রথম দিন বলে, স্কুল এর অনেক নিয়ম কানুন বুঝিয়ে দিলেন, Good Morning Sir/ Madam, Salute 1, Salute 2 Practice করালেন। স্যার কে বড্ড ভয় করত ছেলেটি, কিন্তু অনেক সম্মানও করত। উনার ইংল্যান্ড ভ্রমনের রোমাঞ্চকর গল্প উদগ্রীব হয়ে শুনত আবার বাসায় এসে মা কে বলত। স্যার কে খুশি করার জন্য বাবাকে অনেক বুঝিয়ে Yearly Magazine এর জন্য একটি বিজ্ঞাপন এর ব্যবস্থা ও করে। স্যার খুশি হয়ে ক্লাস এ সবার সামনে দাড় করিয়ে ধন্যবাদ জানান। কি এক মধুর স্মৃতি!

২য় পিরিয়ড এ ক্লাস নিতে আসলেন নারগিস ম্যাডাম। সামাজিক বিজ্ঞান ক্লাস নিবেন তিনি। আবার ইসলাম শিক্ষা ক্লাসটিও ঐ বছর উনি নিয়েছিলেন। ম্যাডাম এর কথা ছেলেটি কম বুঝতে পারত, কিন্তু অনেক যত্ন নিয়ে পরিয়েছিলেন তিনি। Detention Slip দেখিয়ে প্রায় ভয় দেখাতেন তিনি, কিন্তু কখনও ছেলেটি উনাকে detention দিতে দেখেনি। অঙ্ক ক্লাস নিতে আসলেন মধু স্যার। স্যার কে এখনও ভয় পায় ছেলেটি, প্রথম ক্লাস এ স্যার ২০ x  ২০ নামতা শিখিয়েছিলেন, প্রথম ক্লাস টেস্ট ও হয়েছিল নামতার উপর। ১০ এ ১০ পেয়ে ছেলেটির খুশি দেখে কে! স্যার বিশাল আকারের স্কেল, কম্পাস এনে বোর্ড এ জ্যামিতি আঁকতেন, কেও ক্লাস এ কোন নিয়ম ভাঙলে আবার ওইটা দিয়েই মারতেন!! স্যার কে সব চেয়ে বেশি মনে রাখে ছেলেটি কারন স্যার assembly করাতেন। BOYS COME TO ALERT! ATTENTION! SALUTE! ছেলেটির কানে এখনও ভাসে!

এরপর English Language ক্লাস নিতে আসেন রায়হান স্যার। উনাকে predict করা একেবারেই ছেলেটার সাধ্যের বাইরে ছিল। রেগে গিয়ে ছেলেটার এক সহপাঠীকে খুব মারধর করলেন একদিন, এমনকি তার বই খাতা ছিঁড়ে বাইরে ফেলে দিলেন। পর মুহুরতেই ক্লাস ক্যাপটেন কে পাঠালেন সেই খাতা নিয়ে আসতে আর ছেলেটার সহপাঠীকে কাছে ডাকলেন। সে তো ভয়ে আগায় না, পরে স্যার নিজেই কাছে টেনে নিলেন, জড়ায় ধরে আদর করে বললেন, “তুই এরকম হাগুর মত আচরণ করিস কেন?” এই বলে পকেট এ ১০ টাকার নোট গুজে দিয়ে বললেন টিফিন এ একটা কোক খেয়ে নিবি। ছেলেটাও একদিন রায়হান স্যার এর ঝড় এর শিকার হয়। ক্লাস এইট এর ছাএ তখন, নতুন নতুন ক্লাস ফাঁকি দিয়া শিখেছে। লাইব্রেরিতে কাজের অজুহাত দিয়ে ক্লাস এ ১৫ মিনিট পরে আসে, স্যার কে অনেক বুঝানোর চেষ্টা করে যে তার কাজ কতটা জরুরি ছিল, কিন্তু বরাররের মতন স্যার কে predict করতে পারে না ছেলেটা, হঠাৎ একটা মাংসল তালু তীব্র বেগে আঘাত হানে, ছেলেটার ডান গালে, চোখে সরষে ফুল দেখতে দেখতে ফিরে যায় নিজ আসনে। সেই থাপ্পর এর কথা চিন্তা এখনও মাথা ভন ভন করতে থাকে ছেলেটার। পরে বাকিদের কাছে শুনেছে স্যার নাকি কাছে এসে মাথায় হাত বুলায় দিয়ে গিয়েছিল, কিন্তু ঘটনার পরের কিছু মিনিটের সৃতি ওর আর মনে নেই।

 টিফিন মানেই ছিল কে কার আগে দৌড়ায় ক্যান্টিন এ যাবে। পিটার’স ক্যান্টিন এর সাথেও ছেলেটির কত সখ্য। ৯ টাকা দিয়ে বার্গার-চপ , কিংবা ২ টাকার সিঙ্গারা অথবা ১০ টাকার ভেজিটেবল রোল, চিন্তা করতে করতে মন খারাপ হয়ে যায় ছেলেটার। শুনা যায় পিটার এর ক্যান্টিন নাকি আজ আর নেই, টিফিন এ, স্কুল এর আগে পরে, প্র্যাকটিকাল এর শেষে, টার্ম পরিক্ষা শেষে কত সময়ই না কেটেছিল ক্যান্টিন এর সামনে।


টিফিন এর পরে ক্লাস নিতে আসলেন সাবেরা ম্যাডাম। বাংলা ১ম পত্র। ক্লাস টেন পর্যন্ত সাবেরা ম্যাডাম কে পেয়েছে ছেলেটা, ছোট বেলায় যে আদরটা করতেন, বড় হয়েও তার কোন কমতি চোখে পরেনি কখনও। বাংলা থেকে শুরু করে, বিজ্ঞান, সমাজ কত কিছুই না পরিয়েছেন ম্যাডাম, কত যত্ন করে, কত ধৈর্যের সাথে, চিন্তা করলেই মনে হয় ছেলেটি কত ঋণী উনার প্রতি। পরবর্তীতে জেসিএফ এ ম্যাডাম এর সাথে খুব কাছে থেকে কাজ করার সুযোগ হয় ছেলেটার, উনাদের হাতে গড়া ক্লাব গুলা আজকে কি অবস্থায় আছে জানতে খুব মন চায়।­­­

শেষ পিরিয়ডে ক্লাস নিতে আসতেন ফারিদ স্যার। হাতের লেখা ও ড্রয়িং! স্যার যে কতটা বস পাবলিক, ছেলেটা ঐ সময় ধারনাই করতে পারেনি। ক্লাস টেন এ এসে শেষ পর্যন্ত স্যার এর ধর্ম ক্লাস পায় সে, কিন্তু ততদিনে স্যার এর সাথে অনেক সময় কাটিয়ে ফেলে। পড়া না পারলে ডায়েরি তে কমেন্ট লিখা এই স্যারকে খেলার মাঠে দেখলে কেও চিন্তে পারবে না। কি ক্রিকেট কি ফুটবল কি ভলিবল, যে কোন খেলায় তিনি সবার আগে। ফারিদ স্যার ছাড়াও ছেলেটি পেয়েছে বারী স্যার, আজিজ স্যার ও মাসুম স্যার কে। মাসুম স্যার এর প্রতি তার কৃতজ্ঞতার শেষ নেই। এসএসসি এর ২ মাস আগে বড্ড বিপদে পরে গিয়েছিল ইসলাম শিক্ষা নিয়ে। স্যার অনেক সময় দিয়ে সাহায্য করেছিলেন যা ছেলেটি কোনদিন ভুলবে না।

এছাড়াও ক্লাস নিতেন ব্রাদার চন্দন ও নিশাত ম্যাডাম। ব্রাদার চন্দনের সাদা রোব নিয়ে কৌতূহল এর শেষ ছিল না ছেলেটার। সাবজেক্ট এর বাইরেও অনেক কিছু নিয়ে জ্ঞান দিতেন ক্লাস এ। কিছু দিন এর মধ্যেই অবশ্য উনি চলে যান অন্য এক প্রতিষ্ঠানে।

দেখতে দেখতে ১ বছর পার হয়ে যায় ছেলেটির। পড়ালেখায় ও খারাপ করে না। উঠে পরে ক্লাস ফোর এ, 4 Lions, Roll 09. প্রথম ক্লাস নিতে আসলেন রেহানা ম্যাডাম। ম্যাডামের ব্যাপারে ছেলেটি প্রথম পড়ে স্কুল ম্যাগাজিনে। এক বড় ভাই ম্যাডামের হাসি কে হাসনাহেনা ফুলের বাগানের সাথে তুলনা করেন, ছেলেটা এই তুলনার মর্ম খুব একটা বুঝতে না পারলেও ম্যাডামের হাসি তার কাছে অনেক ভাল লাগতো। বাংলা ভাষা ও সাহিত্যের মত কঠিন বিষয় গুলো উনি অনেক সহজ করে ছাত্রদের পড়াতেন। কিন্তু ছেলে বরাবরি বাংলায় দুর্বল, শেষ দিন পর্যন্ত কোনরকম পাস করতে পারলেই খুশি ছিল। ম্যাডামের কাছেও ছেলে অনেক ঋণী একটি ছোট ঘটনার কারনে। ক্লাস নাইনে পড়ে তখন। বিভিন্ন ক্লাবের কাজে মহা ব্যস্ত সে। বলা বাহুল্য প্রথম টার্ম পরীক্ষায় রেজাল্ট পুরা গোল্লা, এতগুলো ছাত্রের মাঝেও ম্যাডাম ঠিকই খুজে বের করলেন ছেলেটিকে, “কি বাবা? তোমার রেজাল্ট এর এই হাল কেন? ক্লাস নাইনে উঠে কি পাখা গজায় গেল নাকি?” এইটুকু কথায় কাজ হল, ছেলে আবার মনোযোগ দিল পড়ালেখায়।

বাংলার তিন জাহাজ ছিল স্কুলে। রেহানা ম্যাডাম ছাড়া ছিলেন হরষিত স্যার ও বণিক স্যার। ছেলেটি তার জীবনের প্রথম detention পায় এই হরষিত স্যার এর কল্যাণে। আপরাধঃ ক্লাস টেস্ট এর খাতা বাসা থেকে সাইন করে আনার ব্যর্থতা, ছেলেটারও বা দোষ কি? ১০ এ ৩ পাওয়া খাতা বাসায় দেখাতে যে বুকের পাটা লাগে, সেটা তো তার নেই। যে কোন পরীক্ষাতে গার্ড দিতে স্যার এর প্রস্তুতি ছিল অন্য সবার থেকে আলাদা। উনি একদিন পরীক্ষার আগে, একটা সানগ্লাস পরে, একটা বেঞ্চের উপর এক পা তুলে দাড়িয়ে ঘোষণা দিলেন, “আমি এখন সর্বোচ্চ সতর্ক অবস্থায় আছি!” ক্লাস টেন এ হাজার বছর ধরে উপন্যাস এর উপর objective পরীক্ষা। গণ্যমান্য ছাত্ররা সেই পড়া দিয়ে আসছে, যে কোন প্রশ্নের উত্তর তাদের জানা আছে। পরীক্ষার প্রথম প্রশ্ন, কার চোখের কোণে জল? পুরা উপন্যাস ১০ বার পরেও উত্তর বের করতে পারে নাই 10 Stars এর বাঘা বাঘা ছাএরা। পরে স্যারই উত্তর দিলেন, “ছাগল ছানাটির চোখের কোণে জল।“


বাংলার আরেক জাহাজ যার কথা না বললেই নয়, বণিক স্যার। ছেলেটি উনার কথা অনেক শুনেছে কিন্তু কোন ক্লাস পায় নি। শেষে ক্লাস টেনে এসে পেল স্যার কে, বাংলা ব্যকরণ পড়ালেন ছেলেটির ক্লাস এ। ছেলেটির একটি কথাই শুধু মনে হত, এই স্যার অন্য সকলের থেকে আলাদা, আর জ্ঞানের দিক থেকে যেন এক অথৈ সাগর। তিনি নিজেই দুঃখ করে বলতেন, তোমাদের ক্লাস আসলে আমার আরও আগে নিয়া উচিত ছিল। স্যার এর কথা শুনে ছেলেটি আসলেই মনে করতো, শিক্ষকতা যেন একটি পেশা নয়, নেশা!

ক্লাস ৫, ৬ আর ৭ এ ছেলেটি চমৎকার ধারাবাহিকতা অর্জন করে। তিন বছরই রোল ১২। 5 Hornets-Roll 12, 6 Wildcats-Roll 12 and 7 Jaguars-Roll 12.  এই সময় ছেলেটির মনে থাকা বহু দিনের একটি প্রশ্নের উত্তর পেল। প্রতিটি ক্লাস এ থাকা আলমারিটির ভিতরে কি থাকে? সেটার উত্তর দিলেন মাথিউস স্যার। উনি 5 Hornets এর ক্লাস টিচার, প্রথম দিনই বললেন সপ্তাহে একদিন গল্পের বই এর ক্লাস হবে, কিন্তু এত বই কই পাওয়া? স্যার তখন আলমারিটির দিকে তাকায় বললেন বই তো সব এইটার ভিতরে। অবশেষে আলমারির রহস্যের সমাধান হল। স্যার নিয়ম করে দিলেন, প্রত্যেক টার্মে সকলকে কম পক্ষে ২ টি করে বই donate করতে হবে। এর ফলে খুব অল্প সময়ের মধ্যেই ক্লাস এর ভিতরেই একটা চমৎকার বই এর সম্ভার হয়ে গেল আর সবাই নিয়মিত গল্পের বই পড়ত আবার donate ও করত। একই সুযোগ দিয়েছিলেন পাল স্যার ক্লাস ৭ এ। তাই 7 Jaguars এও একটা চমৎকার বই এর collection হয়েছিল। প্রায় ৪৫ বছর আগে যখন এই স্কুল বিল্ডিং এর পরিকল্পনা করা হয়, তখন কত কিছু চিন্তা করে করা হয়েছিল তা ভাবতেই অবাক লাগে। আর সেই চিন্তাধারাকে বাস্তবায়িত করার প্রয়াস এর জন্য অভিনন্দন মাথিউস ও পাল স্যারকে। ক্লাস দুইটির পাশ দিয়ে হেটে যাওয়ার সময় চিন্তা করে ছেলেটি, সেই বই গুলো কি এখনও আছে? আজকে তো মাথিউস ও পাল স্যার নেই, কিন্তু তাদের সেই বই পড়ানর উদ্যোগ অন্য কেউ কি নিয়েছে?

Class 6 Wildcats, Roll 12: এই ক্লাস এ এসে ছেলেটি তার প্রিয় তিন টিচার কে পায়। স্কুল এ এইসময় নতুন আসেন হেনা ম্যাডাম এবং ঐ বছর উনি ছিলেন ছেলেটির ক্লাস টিচার। এরপরে 10 Stars এও উনি ক্লাস টিচার ছিলেন। উনাকে ক্লাস এ সবাই অনেক জ্বালিয়েছে কিন্তু তারপরেও হাসি মুখে পরিয়ে গিয়েছেন। এখনও দেখা হলে ম্যাডাম সবার খোজ-খবর নেন, ছেলেটির মনে হয় যেহেতু তারা প্রথম ব্যাচ ছিল, এই কারনে ম্যাডামও তাদের পছন্দ করতেন। ক্লাস ১০ এ যেকোনো বিষয়ে যেকোনো বিপদে পরলে, উনার কাছে চলে যেত ছেলেরা, উনিও সাধ্যমত চেষ্টা করেছেন সকল সমস্যার সমাধান দিতে।

টিফিন এর বেল বাজার সাথে সাথে ছেলেটি দৌড় দেয় ক্লাস এর দিকে, সাথে তার সব বন্ধুরা কারন একটাই, মল্লিক স্যার এর ক্লাস। দেরি হলেই সর্বনাশ, কেন আর কিভাবে সেটা না হয় এখানে নাই বলি।

ছেলেটি শেষ বেঞ্চে বসে অন্যমনস্ক হয়ে বাইরে তাকিয়ে কাঁকদের বিচরণ দেখছিল আর জীবন নিয়ে চিন্তায় মগ্ন ছিল। হঠাৎ কোথা থেকে একটা বিশালাকার চক তীব্র গতিতে উড়ে আসে, ক্লাস এ পিন-ড্রপ নীরবতা, টুক করে একটা শব্দে শুনে কেপে উঠল ছেলেটা আর মাথায় হাত দিল, স্যার ক্লাস এর আরেক কোনায় দাড়িয়ে ডাক দিল, “চক নিয়ে সামনে আসো দেখি!” আজ পর্যন্ত স্যার এর টার্গেট খুব একটা মিস হতে দেখে নাই কেউ, মাঝে মাঝে মনে হত, স্যার কে বাংলাদেশ টিম এর ফিল্ডিং কোচ বানিয়ে দিলে হয়ত তারা আরও অনেক direct hit করতে পারত।

ছেলেটি আজকে অংকে বেশ ভালো, এই অংকের উপর ভর করে অনেক জায়গায় সুযোগ পেয়েছে। তার জন্য সম্পূর্ণ ক্রেডিট মল্লিক স্যার এর। উনি যেভাবে যত্ন নিয়ে, সময় দিয়ে বুঝিয়েছেন, পরিয়েছেন, তার জন্য ছেলেটি চিরকৃতজ্ঞ। সম্পাদ্য, উপপাদ্য গুলো যেভাবে পড়িয়েছিলেন, তা আজও ভুলে নাই ছেলেটা।

একটা সময় ছিল যখন ছেলেটা তার যেকোনো বিষয়ে মাহমুদ স্যার এর কাছে চলে যেত, আর স্যার ও সব সময় সাহায্য করতেন, পড়ালেখায় মনোযোগ দিতে উথসাহিত করতেন। 9 Jets and 10 Stars, ছেলেটির স্কুল জীবনের সব চেয়ে আনন্দময় ও ঘটনাময় দুটি বছর। ছেলে তখন বিভিন্ন ক্লাব এর জন্য নিবেদিত প্রাণ। Scintilla Science Club, JDC, JCF সব জায়গায় ছেলেটি আছে, কিন্তু পড়া লেখা যে উচ্ছন্নে যাচ্ছে এইটা একমাএ মাহমুদ স্যারই ধরতে পেরেছিলেন। উনি এই দুই বছরই ছেলেদের Biology পড়াতেন তাই খুব কাছে থেকে বুঝতে পারতেন কে কেমন করছে। ক্লাস এর টেন এর প্রথম টার্ম পরীক্ষার পর parents-teachers meeting! ছেলেটির রেজাল্ট নিয়ে মা খুব চিন্তিত, তাই জীবনের প্রথম বারের মত ছেলে তার মাকে নিয়ে আসলো মিটিং এ। পরিকল্পনা করে প্রথমেই মাহমুদ স্যার এর কাছে নিয়ে গেল, কেননা biology এর রেজাল্ট বেশ ভালো। কিন্তু স্যার যে ভিতরের পুরো ঘটনা জানে, এইটা ছেলে ঘুণাক্ষরেও চিন্তা করে নি! মিটিং থেকে বের হয়েই মা রওনা দিল বাড়ির উদ্দেশে, আর কোন টিচার এর কাছেও যাননি। সেই প্রথম এবং সেই শেষ!

ঘটনার প্রায় দুই বছর পর ছেলেটি আবার স্কুল এ যায়। এসএসসির বৃত্তির একটি লিস্ট আসছে স্কুল এ। ঢাকা বোর্ড এর সেরা ১০০ ছাএ এর একটা লিস্ট ও আছে। স্কুলের যারা ঐ লিস্টে আছে, তাদের নাম হাইলাইট করে রাখা, অবাক হয়ে দেখে ছেলেটি, হাইলাইট করা নাম গুলোর মধ্যে সবার উপরের নামটি তার। সিঁড়িতে মাহমুদ স্যার এর সাথে দেখা! স্যার বেশ খুশি হয়ে বললেন, “তোমার একটা রেজাল্টের কথা শুনলাম! অভিনন্দন!” ঐ দিন স্যার না ছেলেটি, কে বেশি গর্বিত ছিল তা বলা মুশকিল!

ইন্ডিয়ার ক্রিকেট টীমকে ছেলেটা খুব একটা পছন্দ করতো না, কিন্তু ক্লাস ১০ এ যখন পরে তখন ইন্ডিয়া কোন ম্যাচ জিতলে, খুশি হয়ে যেত। ইন্ডিয়া জিতা মানেই আজকে অঙ্ক ক্লাস এ কোন পড়া লেখা না হওয়ার সম্ভাবনা! কেশব স্যার যতই বকা দিয়ে অঙ্ক করাতেন, স্যার যে কি খুশি হত ইন্ডিয়া জিতলে, সেটা বলার অপেক্ষা রাখে না। ২০১১ সালে ইন্ডিয়া যখন বিশ্বকাপ জিতে, তখন ছেলেটার কত মনে হয়েছিল, “আজকে যদি ১০ Stars এ থাকতাম!”

Scintilla Science Club এর সাথে ছেলেটির এক অবিচ্ছেদ্য সম্পর্ক। ক্লাস নাইন থেকে শুরু করে কলেজ পর্যন্ত, বহু সময় কেটেছে এই ক্লাব এর সাথে। সুযোগ পেয়েছে ক্লাব প্রেসিডেন্ট হওয়ার গৌরবের। আজকে সে প্রায় ২০০০ কর্মচারীর একটি কোম্পানি চালাচ্ছে, কিন্তু দল নেতা হয়ে কাজ করা, সময় মত সমগ্র resource এর পরিপূর্ণ ব্যবহার, কোন কঠিন কাজ এর পূর্বে উৎসাহ প্রদান, এগুলো সবই তো ছেলেটি শিখল chemistry lab এর ঐ কোণার রুমে বসে।

 ছেলেটির জীবনে দুটি মানুষের প্রভাব সব চেয়ে বেশি পরেছে। এক জন ছিলেন দত্ত স্যার। তিনি শুধু শিক্ষক ছিলেন না, ছিলেন একজন অভিভাবক। প্রতিটি টাকার মূল্য ছেলেটি শিখেছে স্যার এর কাছ থেকে। Chemistry lab এর প্রতিটি apparatus কে উনি নিজের সন্তান এর মত করে ভালবাসেন বলেছিলেন, ঐ দিন সবাই স্যার কে কিছুটা পাগল মনে করেছিল, কিন্তু আজকে ছেলেটি তার নিজের প্রতিটি প্রোডাক্ট গুলো একইরকম মনে করে, বুঝতে পারে স্যার এর কথা গুলো। Science Fair চলাকালীন সময়ে কোন একদিন ছেলেটিকে ভোর ৬ টায় স্কুলে যাওয়া লাগে একটি কাজ তত্তাবধায়নের জন্য। আশ্চর্য ব্যাপার, ছেলেটি আসার কিছুক্ষণ পরেই দত্ত স্যার চলে আসেন আর দুই জন মিলে কাজের তদারকি করে।  স্যার আজকে আর স্কুল এ নেই, মনে হয় ইন্ডিয়া চলে গিয়েছেন, তবে প্রতি বছর science fair এ ছেলেটি যখন বারান্দা দিয়ে হেটে যায়, বার বার স্যার এর কথা কানে ভাসে, “এই যে স্যার! যে কাজটির কথা কালকে বলেছিলাম ওইটা কি হয়েছে নাকি ওইটাও আমার করতে হবে?”

আরেক জন ছিলেন সুদেব স্যার। ছেলেটির ছাত্র জীবনের শ্রেষ্ঠ শিক্ষক ছিলেন এই সুদেব স্যার। ২ টি বছর কলেজে  স্যার কে যেভাবে পেয়েছে, তা মনে হয় না আর কোনদিন কারও কাছ থেকে পাবে না। ছেলেরা সবাই বসে থাকতো অধীর আগ্রহে যে স্যার কখন ক্লাস নিতে আসবে পদার্থ বিজ্ঞান এর। স্যার এর বদলে অন্য কেউ আসলে শোনা যেত একটা চাপা ক্ষোভের অনুভূতি। Scintilla Club এর কাজের সময় স্যার কে আরও কাছ থেকে দেখার সুযোগ পায় ছেলেটি এবং বলা বাহুল্য আরও চমৎকৃত হয়। প্রতিটি বিষয়ে, বিপদে আপদে, সময়ে অসময়ে স্যার ছিল পাশে, কখনও সাপোর্ট দিয়েছেন, কখনও অভয় দিয়েছেন, আসলেই উনার মত মানুষ হয় না! কলেজ এর শেষ এর দিন, স্যার এর কাছে গিয়ে ধন্যবাদ চেয়েছিল, উনার কাছে এরপরেও অনেক বার গিয়েছে, কিন্তু কেন জানি ধন্যবাদ কথাটা মুখ দিয়ে বের হয় নাই। ধন্যবাদ স্যার!

ছেলেটি তার স্কুল জীবনের অধিকাংশ সময় ব্রাদার জন কে পেয়েছে অধ্যক্ষ হিসাবে। দূর থেকে দেখতে হয়েছে ব্রাদারকে, অনেকটা ভয় ও পেত। মাঝে মাঝে উনি assembly তে কিছু কথা বলতেন, তবে উনি যেদিন মারা যান, সেদিন কেঁদেছিল ছেলেটির ভিতরটা। কোন দিন বুঝতেও পারে নাই, এই অচেনা মানুষটা আসলে কত আপন। ব্রাদার লিও এর ব্যাপারটা আবার সম্পূর্ণ আলাদা, উনার কথা বার্তা বরাবরি straight forward এবং discipline এর ব্যাপারে অনেক কঠোর। তাই ছাত্ররা উনাকে খুব একটা পছন্দ করে নাই। গুটি কয়েকজন এর ক্ষেত্রে ব্যাপারটা ছিল আলাদা, তারা ব্রাদার লিও কেই পায় প্রকৃত অবিভাবক হিসাবে, ছেলেটিও তাদের মধ্যে একজন। ব্রাদার সব সময় co-curricular activities কে উৎসাহ দিতেন আর যে কোন বিপদে উনার কাছে direct চলে যাওয়া যেত। “সারাদিন তো দেখি ঘুরে ঘুরে বেরান। পড়া লেখা কিছু করছেন নাকি? সুদেব স্যার আপনার এই ছেলে পরীক্ষায় খারাপ করলে দায় দায়িত্ব কে নিবে?” রাখতে পেরেছিল ছেলেটি ব্রাদার এবং স্যার উভয়ের নাম, ১ম হয়েই কলেজ থেকে বের হয়। কোন এক রেজাল্টের দিন, uniform ঠিক ছিল না বলে, ব্রাদার ছেলেটিকে ক্লাস থেকে বের করে দেয়, ঐ দিন উনি বলেছিলেন, “এক দিন বুঝবেন এই uniform এর মর্ম।“ আজকে ছেলেটি বুঝে, এখনও ২ সেট রাখা আছে ড্রয়ারের নিচে।

১০ বছরের কথা লিখে বলা অসম্ভব, কত জন আরও ছিলেন যাদের কথা বলা হল না। কৃষ্ণ স্যার, মিস্ত্রী স্যার, নির্মল স্যার, পলাশ স্যার, বিশ্বাস ম্যাডাম, মাহতাব স্যার সহ আরও অনেকে। প্রতি মাসে ছেলেটি অফিসে গিয়ে বেতন দিয়ে আসত বারনার্ড স্যারকে, registration এর যেকোনো কাজে যাওয়া লাগতো বেনেডিকট স্যার এর কাছে। মনে পরে কাশেম ভাই, জলিল ভাই, ইব্রাহিম ভাই, ভিনসেন্ট দা দের কথা!

ছেলেটির খুব শখ ছিল স্কুল ম্যাগাজিনে এইসব লিখবে, কিন্তু ঐ বয়সে এক যেমন সাহস হয় নাই, আবার না লিখে খুব একটা দুঃখ ও পায় নাই। কিন্তু আজ এই সময়ে এসে আর না লিখে পারলো না। দীর্ঘ ৫ মাস ধরে লিখে চলেছে ছেলেটি, যখন সময় পেয়েছে, ইচ্ছে হয়েছে, অল্প অল্প করে লিখেছে। লিখেছে শুধু প্রতিষ্ঠানটির কথা, লিখে নাই তার বন্ধুদের কথা, লিখে নাই একসাথে ১১০ জন এর বেড়ে উঠার কথা! সে আরেক গল্প, যা কোনদিন হয়ত লিখে শেষ করা যাবে না।



New Restaurant in Dhaka!

Dhaka used to be a city of mosques, today it can be called a city of restaurants. You can now find any cuisines in Dhaka, from Authentic Chinese to Hakka Chinese to traditional Bangla Chinese, Lebanese, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Sri Lankan, Indian and many many more. So I decided to start writing some reviews on these restaurants.

Recently I visited this new restaurant at Satmasjid Road named PAPRIKA with a friend.It is opposite to American Burger and on the 1st floor of the building which houses Bengal Meat downstairs. It’s a neat location and should get a lot of university crowd. The interior is very neat with very well decorated walls and ceilings and also the tables are chairs are very comfortably spread with ample space to walk around. The kitchen is behind a glass barrier and you can see the chefs at work which is again a neat touch.


The most important aspect is of course the taste of the food. We ordered a Chicken Cashew Nut Salad and Grilled Prawns with 2 separate drinks. Food was served within 15 minutes but oddly drinks were served after the food. For me it is not much of an issue, but it can be for others.

The cashew nut salad had pretty generous portions and for 250 a plate I would be happy to have it again. There were plenty of chicken and cashew nuts for both of us and the flavor was also okay. Given the price, it is the probably the best I had in Dhaka. Although they used sliced cucumbers inside the salad which I found a little odd.546829426897636353

The prawns were also served in a beautiful plate and they looked very appetizing. The sauce that came with the grilled prawns was strong but it tasted great. The flavors were spot on and it did not overpower the freshness of the prawns which I thought is very rare in Dhaka. As for the drinks I am not sure what they were called but they were pretty refreshing and tasted good.

Overall I liked the place because of its ambiance and the presentation of the food. The restaurant also scores very high in Value for Money segment. Food and Drinks cost us 950 taka with VAT, so I am very happy with the deal. It will be interesting to see whether they can continue giving these kind of portions at this price. I will be more than happy to return again to check out other items.

Best Pad Thai at Bangkok!

I had a night to burn in Bangkok and was wondering what to do, normally you would think Khaosan Road or a walk around Central World, but I decided to find a good place for Pad Thai. With a little help from Google, I found a place called Thip Samai, which apparently sells the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. So I took a screenshot of the address and hopped on a Tuk Tuk. I wasn’t sure whether Tuk Tuk guy would know the place, but as soon as I said Maha Chai Road, he asked, “Pad Thai?”


It took around 20 minutes from Sukhumbhit Road and as soon as I got there, I saw this huge queue outside. I was maybe 20th in line and outside the restaurant it was like a production line of Pad Thai. They are making nearly 20 plates every 5 minutes!

Within 10 minutes I was able to enter and after asking for a table for 1, they asked whether I wanted Air-Conditioned room for 10 Baht fee! With queues like that I could not blame them either.


I am glad I agreed, because the inside part was beautifully decorated. The tables were laid out in a neat way and the ceiling was decorated. The walls were also full of different framed pictures of News Paper Articles or Awards for the apparent amazing Pad Thai they sell.

The waiter was quick to handle me the menu and it was the most helpful menu I have ever seen. They sell very few items here and ones which are the most popular are also clearly marked. So I ordered one Egg Wrapped Pad Thai with Large Fresh Prawns, one Orange Juice and one coconut ice drink type something. I was a little worried about the items being halal or not, but it turns out they cook in shrimp oil and I didn’t find pork on the menu either. So for folks who are serious about halal food, can try out this too. (Still check before you eat, I am not giving guarantees.)

I simply loved the inner atmosphere. There also 4-5 types of condiments on the table, dried chili, fish sauce, salt, pepper, etc. The food also came within 5 mins, first they served the coconut dessert for a weird reason, and very soon was followed by orange juice. It came in a sealed bottle, as soon I took a sip I was taken aback. I have never drank orange juice that had so much flavour in it, it tasted better than an actual orange!  My Pad Thai also came arrived very quickly, it looked beautiful with red capsicum and parsley on top. I dug in quickly with my chopsticks and my first reaction was that it was a little sweet, but luckily there were the condiments, a little pinch of chili, splash of fish sauce and a squabble of lime and all of a sudden I am eating the best Pad Thai ever!

It wasn’t only the taste of the food, I found what was making my meal so special was the whole atmosphere. The waiting outside, beautiful decoration inside, the orange juice, the condiments, the buzz of so many tourists, it was just a perfect dinner. The Pad Thai itself had plenty of flavours which unfortunately I am not an expert of. I found 2 big sized prawns and that’s all I cared about. I was quick to finish my dish and was wondering whether to reorder but after looking at my ice coconut dessert, I decided against it. It was a simple yet tasty dessert and I was chewing the crushed iced coconut with glee.


The total bill of the dinner was 225 Baht! Although it cost me 400 baht to go and return from this place, I am not one to complain. If anyone is planning to taste authentic Pad Thai in Bangkok, Thip Samai is definitely the place to go!

Address: 313 Th Maha Chai Road, Banglamphu.

Mode of Transport: Tuk Tuk

Time: 5PM to 2 AM

Shanghai Disneyland: Magic Comes to China!

Ever since I heard Shanghai Disneyland has opened up in Shanghai, I was eagerly waiting to get a chance to visit the magical kingdom and it wasn’t a long wait as I was soon able to find some time to visit this place where supposedly magic happens with my family.



Shanghai Disneyland is situated in the outskirts of Pudong District and is fairly far from the City Centre. It takes about an hour or more from city centre to the park, given there is no traffic.


How to Get There:

I found two good options to visit Shanghai Disneyland if you’re staying in Shanghai City Centre. One option is taking a taxi, it takes a little more than hour if there is no traffic. I started at 7.45 from my hotel in downtown and reached Disneyland just before 9. It cost me 190RMB though which is nearly $30. On my way back we took the Metro. There is a new Metro station purposefully built for Disneyland visitors at the end of Line 11 and it’s very convenient to take subway to the park provided you have a metro station nearby your staying place.



There are 2 tiers of tickets, as the price on weekends and special holidays are higher than that on weekdays. You can find ticket prices on the following link:

I suggest purchasing the tickets online because the queue to buy tickets is pretty big. When buying tickets online you need to give your passport number and when collecting the tickets from the resort entrance you just need to show your passport and they will give you the tickets.



The atmosphere and level of detail is fantastic as you will expect for a Disneyland. They have gone all out here. The area is pretty big and the Disney castle here I believe is bigger than the ones in USA. There are 4 signature rides, Tron: The big Roller-coaster, Roaring Rapids, Soaring Over the Horizon and Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. There are also some other cool rides that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. There are also some very cool shows, I visited the Tarzan show which was a 30 minutes rendition of the movie with many acrobats giving a vibrant performance. There are 2 other shows, one by Captain Jack Sparrow and the other is 2.5 hours show of The Lion King Musical for which you have to buy separate tickets. The Disney parade here starts at 3.30 PM and it’s a pretty neat parade with many characters bringing alive the very best of Disney. The laser light show at the end is probably the best part of the whole Disneyland experience, it’s by far the best laser/fireworks/water show you will get to see in Asia.



Technology has changed the experience of amusement park rides to a whole new level and Shanghai Disneyland is no exception. They use the very best of modern visual technology to take you through a thrilling adventure across many beloved Disney platform. The detailed decoration makes you feel like you are actually on board the Flying Dutchman or visiting Pooh Bear in the Hundred Acre Wood.


The Chinese community is new to the Disney exposure and they are still not very fascinated or cannot relate that much with the Disney characters. So do not need to stand in a long queue to take pictures with the characters.  In fact there was not a single person in line to Meet Darth Vader or R2D2 when I visited the Star Wars Galaxy Pod which is unthinkable in other Disneyland. Also you can easily take pictures with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daffy and the others without much hassle.



The park has opened in June, 2016 and so the crowd at the moment is huge no matter what day it is. I visited on a very hot and sunny Friday hoping the crown would be thin, yet it was full of people of which 99% were Chinese. So the queues for the rides were huge. For our first ride, we had to wait 80 mins in queue which saps the morale. If you don’t dig Chinese girls, you are sure to be bored after all the waiting. But as the day went past, queue time became a little less, still it was more than 40 mins for all major rides. We couldn’t visit Roaring Rapid because the queue was more than 2.5 hours! The price of Food is also very steep inside the park and the taste is average, but there are many options for food and drinks across the park. Another big let-down was Chinese behaviour. They litter a lot leaving empty bottles, plastic bags everywhere and they let their kids pee on the streets!!


Tips to Improve your Disneyland Experience:

1.       Plan your journey ahead. Download the map from the internet and point out the rides you want to visit first. It’s always better if you move from area to area. That way are sure to cover most of the rides. There is an app as well, it shows the present waiting time of different rides and also shows all attractions and food joints.


2.       Start Early. I started at 7.45 and reached at 9 which is official park opening time. But it turns out, they open the gates at 8. You can beat a lot of queue if you can go there before 8.


3.       Disneyland provides Fast Passes for some of its attractions. You will find the fast passes inside the park. Once you get a fast pass for a particular ride, you will be able to visit that ride at an exact time without any queue. Fast Pass is free but it runs out pretty quickly, so better get in queue for that too!


4.       After every ride, they will guide you to the souvenir store. Don’t but anything then, as you will need to carry the shopping bag for the rest of the day. In the main souvenir store in Mickey Avenue you will be able to buy all those souvenirs from under one single roof.


5.       The parade starts at 3.30 PM and follows a designated route. Make sure to get a good space on that route before 3:15 as soon there won’t be a single inch to stand on.


6.       Wait till the 8:30 Laser Show. Believe me it is worth it!!



It’s Disneyland! Any chance you get to visit one just go for it!






St. Martins: Should you go?

Person X: Let’s take a beach holiday!

Person Y: Sure! What’s on your mind? Phuket? Langkawi? Bali?

Person X: What about St. Martins?

Person Y: St. Martins? Are you sure it’s safe? Is the beach any good there?

Person X: I am not sure actually. Maybe not.


Sadly that is how far a trip to St. Martins goes for most people and truth be told I also was one of them until 2014. But after that I have gone there twice in 2 years and I firmly plan to make St. Martins a mandatory yearly trip. Without a doubt, it is one of the most beautiful and serene places to be in Bangladesh and so I feel it’s my duty to write and share about our only coral island.


On our way to St. Martins

Getting There:

One of the most pre conceived notion about St. Martins is that it’s not safe to travel there. I disagree 100%. Trip to St. Martins is no less safe than any other trip inside Bangladesh. Of course there is no direct route to St. Martins, you will have to go to Teknaf first and take a ship from there.


There are a number of busses with direct service between Dhaka and Teknaf. Normally they start at night and reach Teknaf at around 7-8 AM in the morning. The journey takes around 10-12 hours depending on the highway traffic. Another option is to take local bus from Cox’s Bazar. It takes a little over 90 mins to reach Teknaf from Cox’s Bazar but the road condition is not the best. GreenLine, St. Martins Paribahan etc. operates good AC busses in Dhaka-Teknaf route and tickets cost around 1500 taka one way.


The bus drops off right at the jetty. There are 3-4 ships which operates Teknaf-St. Martins ferry service. Keari Sindbad, Keari Cruise & Dine and Kutubdia are the bigger ships which takes around 3 hours. There is a smaller ship of GreenLine Waterways which is much faster and a bit more luxurious, but there is no deck in that ship. Deck Chairs cost around 600 taka one way and they are a real treat when the ship is in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. During winter you will get to see numerous seagulls who flies alongside the ships.


Now to answer the most important question: Yes I have found the ships to be perfectly safe. They do bump a lot along with the tide but not for a second did I feel that the ship was in any danger.  So the worse that can happen to you is a little sea sickness.


Where to Stay:

First Advice: If you plan to take a day trip to St. Martins, please don’t bother to go. You have to stay there for at least a night to enjoy what this island has to offer. There are a number of hotels and buildings near the jetty, AVOID Them. During both of my trips, I stayed in Shemana Pereye Resort, A gem of a place if ever there was one. It’s on the side of the island and you will need to take a van from the jetty. As it’s very far from the jetty, you can avoid the day visitors and it’s very secluded. The resort has about 10-12 cottages and its right next to an amazing stretch of beach and it’s only for you to enjoy. The service is simply top notch and they try their best to ensure you have a good time. So I will always suggest to stay there if you plan to visit St. Martins.

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View from Shemana Pereye Resort

What to Eat:

Most of the restaurants are near the jetty and they put on quite a display of sea fish, crabs etc. But I found them very unhygienic and I took all my meals in Shemana Pereye Resort. Simple Bengali food, fresh and tasty, what more can you ask for? They also arrange a delicious bbq dinner if requested, I was in a group of 40 and for 4 nights we all had bbq chicken and fish for dinner every night.


Beach Side Cafe at Shemana Pereye Resort

What to Do:

Chera Dwip is part of St. Martins and during high tide, it becomes a separate island. You can walk to St. Martins during low tide but it’s a little risky, better to take a troller or speed from the jetty. There is nothing much to do or see in Chera Dwip, but the water there is much cleaner and blue, so you can take some really nice pictures there.


Chera Dwip

There is also option to do snorkelling or scuba diving. You can Google Dhaka Divers Club to find more information.


In the afternoon, the island becomes really secluded and that’s when the real fun starts. You can take a dive in the sea, walk on the sands, play beach football, sit on a deck chair with your coconut, take a long walk till the sun sets, sit beside the sea and listen her roar under the full moon..


What is so special?


This picture should suffice!



Important Notes:

  • There is a clearly marked area in the island where it is dangerous to swim, so be sincere to the rules and stay far away from them
  • If you don’t know how to swim, don’t get too deep in the water
  • As this is a coral island, the beaches have sharp corals all over the place, so be careful when you get in the water
  • Please don’t pollute the beach and water with garbage
  • The Van pullers charge 5 times more the actual price when the ship arrives and leaves the jetty, after that the price comes down drastically.
  • You can book bus tickets to Dhaka, from the jetty. They have bus counters there.
  • The island does not have electricity, but some resorts run generator for a few hours a day, so don’t expect television and a hot shower.



Simple Tricks That Will Change the Way You Air Travel

 We are travelling in planes more than ever before. Bangladesh has one of the highest growth of international travellers in the last 4-5 years. We are travelling abroad for business, vacation and even I hear nowadays some people fly out of the country for wedding shopping. Not to mention our fellow brothers and sisters who are working in different countries, their contribution to our economy can never be taken for granted. Many airlines are making very good money targeting the migrant workers. So the summary is that we are travelling by air more than ever and so I am making a list of some very common tricks that is sure to make your next travel experience a little better.

Air Tickets:

Air Ticket is the most important part of your air travel experience.  It is important to book air tickets smartly, as airfare is pretty much 50% of your entire travel budget. So any savings you make here, contributes a great deal on your overall budget. There is a rule of thumb that says air fare is cheapest 90 days before you travel. 90 days is too far out for us to book a ticket unfortunately but I have seen that you can make up to 30-40% savings on some flights by booking about 30 days in advance.

Travel agents in our country are notorious and they will always try to get some extra money from you if you are not careful. Previously we could use credit cards to book tickets online but for some reason Bangladesh Bank banned it 2 months ago. So your only option is to book through travel agent or go to the airlines office directly.

Booking through travel agent is the most convenient option and I do the same. But I have some tricks up my sleeve. Before you call your agent, check these sites:


I have found a real buddy in . They also have a beautiful app which I use all the time. They are sure to get you the best deal for a given day and you can use that as a reference when you negotiate with your travel agent. Remember travel agents get around 7% commission for each ticket from the airlines so bargain hard and they will lessen that commission for you.

If you are travelling to North America or Europe, keep an eye open for the special fares given by Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad. They are giving amazing offers almost every month if you book in advance. Last month I found Dhaka-New York return flights only at 52,000 taka given by Emirates. But it was soon over within a few days. So if you plan to fly to the far West, let your travel agent know in advance to keep searching deals for you.


I am taller than an average person and that is a big disadvantage when travelling economy. During my early flying years, I would really struggle to be comfortable in flight. But over the years, I have learned from experience how to go around this problem. You see, every plane has some seats with twice the legroom than other seats. One set of them is right at the front of each cabin class where you can stretch your legs a little and also chat with the flight attendants. But one big drawback of the front seat is BABIES. The front seats have the option to attach a bassinet so these seats are offered to parents carrying babies and if you have a grumpy baby next to you then even the cutest of flight attendants won’t make your flight experience any better.

So the next option are the seats on the Emergency Door Row. Previously I used to ask for them at the check in counter in the airport and they would give me those seats no questions asked. But the number of smart travellers are increasing every day and if I arrive late for check in I hardly get those seats nowadays. Even then if you ask really nicely, and plead a little they would sometimes change the seats right at the end when you board the aircraft. This is something I only learned this year that you can change your seats right when they scan your boarding pass before getting on the waiting room in the gate. They would simply change your seat no with a pen on the boarding pass, so don’t give up on that extra leg room until the last moment.

If 2 people are travelling together, you can try another trick. Normally there are 3 seats a set on each side of the row, A – B – C. Then ask for seats A & C when you check in. If the flight is not full then there is 75% probability that the middle seat will remain empty and you can be comfortable the whole journey. It’s a neat trick for couples and even if they do put one person, you can then request him or her to exchange seats. In this case you have nothing to lose.

Long haul flights are usually 70-80% full so as soon as the Seat Belt sign is turned off, I would bounce off my seat and go straight to the back. There is bound to be a 3-4 empty rows with nobody sitting on them. For most airlines you can lift the seat handle and make a very comfortable bed and with a warm blanket you can tuck yourself in for the night. The trick here is to be quick, as beds are given on a first come first serve basis and don’t worry about flight attendants telling you off, because it’s a very common practice.

Carry On Bags:

This is very much a Bangladeshi problem especially when you return to Dhaka. It takes ages for our luggage to come from the plane and once I had to wait around 90 minutes to get my luggage coming from a 2 hour flight. So whenever I travel, I always take my luggage on board. I try to keep the weight below 7-8 kgs and carry no liquid containers over 100ml. It’s a trick that has saved me countless of hours at Dhaka airport. This is very handy if you travel on regular business trips.

But there is a catch when you come back. We love to shop and during the return flight every passengers will carry a lot of carry-on luggage.  So on most occasions the overhead compartment cannot store all the bags, so the crew would take your bag and put it in the baggage ruining your carefully crafted plan.  The trick here is to board the plane early. If necessary be one of the first to wait in line when they call for boarding. It’s a little uncomfortable but believe me it’s worth it.

Airport Terminals:

Waiting in the airport is not the most pleasant experience especially if you have a long connection between flights. Airports like Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha, etc gives passengers a variety of options to pass their time. So when you are in one of these fancy airports, be sure to check the maps and you are sure to find some hidden gems here and there. For example Singapore Changi Airport has a beautiful rooftop Sunflower Garden. There are of course numerous duty free shops to roam around but you are sure to get tired after a while carrying your luggage with you.

If your connection is more than 6 hours, the airlines is bound to give you Airport Hotel or Lounge card. So be sure to ask your travel agent about this. Sometimes airlines gives you hotels which are outside of the airport. So you would have to go through immigration and get out of the airport and come back after a few hours and again go through immigration. For me it’s a big hassle.

So I got myself a PRIORITY PASS. This is a cool card, which many banks are offering with their Platinum Credit Card. This card gets me to lounges in almost 95% of the major airports in the world and I can eat, sleep, and shower in the lounge for free even when I fly economy. I got this card with my City Bank Amex card and it has made my air travel very convenient and comfortable. Other banks are also offering this card now with their credit cards and truth be told the charges related to it are nothing compared to the benefits you will get. They also have a neat app named Priority Pass which allows you to search for the nearest lounge. There is a list and directions on how to get to the lounge.

If you don’t want to take this card, then you have one last option. Most international airports have a Muslim Prayer Room, and it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. You can easily slip in there and go to one corner of the room to lie down and take some rest. Keep your mobile in silent mode and try not to disturb others who are praying. Last month I had a 6 hour connection at night in Bangkok domestic terminal when I was flying to Phuket and I found an empty Prayer Room and was able to sleep it off. Just make sure you don’t miss your flight!


Some Other Handy Notes:

  1. If you miss your connecting flight because of delay in your first flight you need not worry. Just go the airlines counter and they will book you to the next flight for free. If your next flight is more than 6 hours later, they are bound to take you to a hotel and bring you back also free of charge. This is only applicable if both flights are of the same airlines.
  2. When you book a connecting flight, try to keep minimum 90 minutes gap between the flights. Sometimes even if you catch the connection fight at ease, your luggage may not be so lucky! It is very common to arrive and find that your luggage has missed the connection flight.
  3. You will always find fellow migrant workers brothers coming back or going to their working country. Needless to say, they are not as educated as some of us. So try to help them out with immigration forms whenever possible. Some people find it very annoying when many of them ask for help, but I always take time to help them and you should too.
  4. When you are planning to go the airport, always go early. I believe, waiting in the airport is always better than waiting somewhere else.
  5. Don’t carry batteries and power bank in your main luggage. Carry them with you in your hand luggage.

I still believe there are many other ways to improve our air travel experience. These are the tricks that I have learned over the years. If anybody can share some of their own personal ways then that would be great.

Vacation in Thailand? Yes Please! (Bangkok)


Thailand has become one of the most common abroad holiday destinations for us and rightly so. It’s a country which can cater the need for almost all tourists around the globe. If you want a calm and serene holiday, Thailand is the place; If you want white beaches and crystal clear water, Thailand is the place for you; If you want adventures like para-sailing, bungee jumping, white water rafting, sky diving, again Thailand is the place for you; If you are a shopaholic, look no further, go book a ticket for Thailand. Oh and If you like to party hard, they welcome you too.

Getting There:

There are a number of airlines operating daily flights to Bangkok from Dhaka. It is important to book air tickets smartly, as airfare is pretty much 50% of your entire travel budget. So any savings you make here, contributes a great deal on your overall budget. At present airlines flying this route directly are:

  1. Thai Airways
  2. Bangkok Airways
  3. Biman Bangladesh Airlines
  4. Regent Airlines

It’s a very short flight so direct route is basically are the only feasible options. There are many parameters when you decide on a flight. For me the 2 most important factors are Airfare and Time. For a 2.5 hours flight service is not an issue for me. I have seen that you get the best rates in Bangkok flight if you book minimum 25-30 days in advance. The later you book the ticket prices gradually increases and can go as high as 50% over the previous price. Also as Thailand is a popular tourist destination now, tickets are sold out even 7 days before the flight date.


If I book now for a return flight dated June 13- June 20 I see the following rates:

  • Regent: 23,000
  • Biman Bangladesh: 25,000
  • Bangkok Airways: 33,000
  • Thai Airways: 87,000!!!


Not sure why the Thai rate is showing so high, normally it’s around 50-60K. These are online rates and you are sure to get a better deal from your travel agent if he is genuine. You can use these prices as a bench mark and push your travel agent for a better deal.


Another thing to note here is that Regent and Biman are day flights and Bangkok Airways is a night time flight. So if you travel Bangkok Airways you can save a day but prepare to reach Bangkok at 2AM. For me I prefer Bangkok Airways simply because I can travel by night and add 1 extra day to my vacation.

Also there is a common conception about local airlines not being very good and that they have very bad service. I don’t necessarily agree with this. I have found Regent Airlines having a very professional service and a good Boeing 737 plane  for their international service. Of course it’s all about the fare here and you can’t compare Regent with Thai Airways. As for Biman, I am always weak towards our national carrier. I love their new planes and whenever there is a chance, I try to travel Biman. They use the new 737-800s Mayurpankhi and Meghdoot for these short haul flights and they are absolutely brilliant with the Boeing new Sky Interior. Biman is still a bit down on service, especially when it comes to inflight catering. I really hope they get a professional chef in order to make their food worthy of the new planes.




Bangkok is an amazing city if you ask me. If you like hustle and bustle, then this is the place. If you like shopping then Bangkok is second to none. If you want to do some sightseeing then there are some temples and parks where you can roam around but my suggestion for Bangkok stayers is to Shop and Eat.


Where to Stay:


Sukhumbhit road is the most widely known area in Bangkok for tourists. There are thousands of hotels here and most give very good rates. From the airport you can take a taxi to Sukhumbhit road. Once you take your luggage follow the signs to the taxi stand. Normally it takes around 270-300 Baht from Airport to Sukhumbhit road by metre. To avoid jam, ask the driver to take the expressway. Although you will have to pay the 60-70 Baht toll charge it’s worth it to save 30-45 minutes of traffic. There is also a Train Service from Airport to Sukhumbhit road but I am yet to try that out.


As for hotels in Bangkok, you can book ahead by asking your travel agent. You can also book online in sites like or It’s worth having an account here as you can get some really sweet deals that your travel agent may not be able to give you. You will need a dual currency credit card to book in these sites. Even if you don’t have a credit, still check these sites to get a reference. You can get really good 4 star hotels for $35-50 in Bangkok. Check user reviews in before confirming your hotel, the reviews there are pretty accurate. I would avoid booking hotels at the airport or during visit as you may end up paying a lot more than usual price. When you pick a hotel, make sure it’s close to a MRT station otherwise you will have to walk a lot, along the narrow alleys of Sukhumbhit Road.


Where to Shop:

Like I said before, Bangkok is the place for all shopaholics. From designer labels to big wholesale markets to pawnshops on the road, Bangkok has it all. If your target is the brand shops then you can check out these places:

  1. Central World
  2. Siam Paragon
  3. Central Embassy Mall

These are the mother of all malls. The sheer size of them are huge and the stores are tastefully decorated. Although I loved roaming around these malls, buying anything here is totally a different matter. I rather checked out the only IMAX Theatre in Bangkok in Siam Paragon, so you can check that out too. These malls also have really good food courts serving different cuisines.


For us normal folks, try the MBK Centre or the Platinum Fashion Mall. These two malls are really good for clothes and shoes. There are hundreds of shops here, ready to give you a good bargain. Rule #1: Always Bargain. You can find T-shirts, Polos, Pants, Jeans, Tops, Underwear, Shoes, and Accessories all at very affordable price and they are off pretty decent quality too. Also check Robinson Store in Sukhumbhit Road. They sell many brands but there are always some kind of SALE going on there and you can end up getting some really good deals. I have also heard about a legendary market named ChatuChak weekend market. It is basically a street market of epic proportions. I suggest you Google about this market before you set foot in Thailand.


If you are looking for IT products, you can visit Pantip Plaza. It’s a lot like IDB back home but 5 times the size. I tried to buy a laptop here but I could not trust a single shop. Also the price is not as cheap as you would think. For IT products and Mobile Phones, Singapore is much much cheaper. I found the prices similar if not a little cheaper than Bangladesh.  If you want to buy a phone, try to buy from a good well established retailer in the bigger malls like Platinum 21, Central Plaza or Siam Paragon. I once bought a Samsung Mobile from Samsung Showroom in Central Embassy Mall. The rates there were okay and they gave 1 Year Thai Warranty.



Places to Visit:

 Truth be told I have never visited any of the tourist spots in Bangkok. Whenever I am there its always business. But I remember going to a Crocodile Farm when I was very young, maybe 12 years ago.

I suggest to check online to get some idea. I have heard of Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw to be really majestic. Another nice temple is Wat Arun also known as the Temple of Dawn. Then there is Chinatown, Floating market and the old town. I am not sure how much one can enjoy them but it’s worth a look I guess if you have time in your hand.


In my last trip I found a gem of a place, Khaosan Road. This road will give you the whole essence of Thailand in a space of 2 hours. It’s a lively place with roadside shops, lights, rock bars, restaurants with live music, food carts, massage parlours all locked together. For me it was a stunning experience. Especially there is another road parallel to Khaosan Road, Rambuttri Alley. If you ask me, this is one of the best place in Bangkok. It’s beautifully decorated with colourful lights, and the restaurants here are playing soft live music and massage parlours on the road side giving very good foot massages. There is a stark contrast between the 2 roads which fascinated me. Khaosan Road was all about the hustle and bustle, rock and roll and Rambuttri Alley on the other hand seemed more serene but it was still musical and colourful.



What to Eat:

For food, there is nothing much to add. It’s very good wherever you go. The street food looks really yum and I only tried the seafood and they were very tasty. There are hundreds of restaurants serving such a varied kind of food, I cannot even think of what to suggest. I can just say try Coconut Ice Cream and Sea Food. If you want to eat a little upscale try the food courts in the mall. If you want to eat halal food, there are also good options. You will find many Arabic restaurants serving halal food. Unlike Singapore, McDonalds and KFC don’t have halal certificates in Thailand. After all this, if you crave for bhat and alu bharta, go to Soi Sukhumbhit 11 behind Ambassador Hotel, there are 2-3 Bangladeshi restaurants serving good old gorur mangsho.


How to Move Around:

Taxi is the most readily available transportation in Bangkok but it is on the expensive side. If you are travelling more than 1 person then I suggest to take the Tuk Tuk. They are fast and cheap. Bargain with the driver to get a good fare keep your eyes open as they may not be 100% safe. Sometimes the Tuk Tuk driver will suggest you to take you to a shop, basically he will get commission if you buy anything from there. Thai taxi drivers are also known to be a little notorious. They tend to take the longest possible route from point A to B to increase the fare, so keep Google maps with you and don’t be hesitant to give the drivers instructions. A good way to travel in Sukhumbhit road is using the Sky Train. It’s very cheap, safe and convenient as most of the stations are connected with the big malls. You just need to follow the signs. For the tickets, you will need to use the machine and if you need coins, you can go to the counter and they will change your notes to coins.



This is a very noob guide to the city of Bangkok, I will try to add another Phuket Guide in the coming days. Hope it helped.