Come and experience a unique way of life before climate change and other pressures change it forever.
You will be hosted in a traditional Hindu community, where farmers and fisher-folk grow rice and vegetables, fish and raise animals and live very communally. It's a unique way of life, and is fast changing as climate change and other pressures take their toll.
Here is a place in Bangladesh where you won't be woken in the morning by the Islamic call-to-prayer, but rather by the sound of people coming to get their water from the well (which is actually a nice, rhythmic sound), and later in the morning you can hear women say their Hindu prayers and ululate, sometimes while ringing a bell or beating a drum. This is a sub-district with a Hindu majority, and this area is completely Hindu.
N.B. Your hosts receive a fee for having you stay which covers all their costs, and a bit more. The rest of the money from your stay (apart from what airbnb takes in fees) will go towards Bangladeshi organisations that we know and trust and like. For example, your host Noresh was a founding member of the Bangladesh Krishok Federation which represents peasant farmers and the landless, and pushes for land reform. The airbnb site only allows the minimum nightly fee to be $10US, which is much more than your hosts need or want for having you stay. So the rest will be donated.
You will be in your own room, with a large bed (with mosquito net), table, place to hang clothes and some chairs. You will also be lent flip-flops (thongs / sandals), and a torch if you need one. Please note, in true Bangladeshi style, the mattress is a thin cotton futon. If you are used to sleeping on a Japanese-style tatami mat, or similar, you will be right at home. However, for most foreigners it is like sleeping directly on the wood. You are advised to bring a camping mattress to put on top of the bed's mattress (and this will be the same for most of the beds you experience in Bangladesh unless you are staying in fairly expensive hotels catering to foreigners ... and even some of those have hard beds, too!)
Our house is a bit unusual for the village in that it's made of bricks and cement. Most of the houses you will see here are made of mud/earth, and wood.
There is a separate toilet (squat-type) which, while not exclusively yours, will mostly only be used by you and even has toilet paper - which is pretty rare in Bangladesh (there is another separate toilet that the family tends to use regularly). There is also a shower room for privacy, however showers are only cold and from a bucket. This is only used by foreigners (Bangladeshis have their bath in the pond or in the river, which you are also welcome to do if you follow the protocol and keep your clothes on and never expose your body, not even with clinging-on wet clothes: it's harder than you might think!).
The house has a wide covered-over front verandah, and a separate kitchen with a typical Bangla wood-fired stove. It also has a flat roof which has views of the well, the river and the village across the river. There are two other bedrooms in the house, which are used by your host (or by you if you are more than 2 people).
The village has only very basic supplies at the tea-shops, like soap, lollies, biscuits and washing powder. However, twice a week there is a local market which takes place 2kms away where you can buy in-season vegetables from locals. You are welcome to try to use the Bangla stove, but there is also a cook who is available to come and work for a very small fee - about $2US / day. She has experience cooking food for people who need less chili, less salt, no meat, etc. But it's still basically Bangla food. The food itself costs $1US / meal if you are vegetarian, and $2 US / meal if you eat meat. N.B. Beef is never served.
The village doesn't have any electricity, but our house has a solar panel, so we have lights and small fans, and charging mobiles isn't a problem (but reception might be, depending on your carrier). We also have an inverter so on really sunny days you can charge a laptop in a few hours. We find that Grameen modems work OK for internet access if you are on the roof on a clear day (but you will have to bring your own Grameen modem). There is a black-and-white TV in Noresh's bedroom, and lots of locals come to watch the movie on movie nights. But it only gets one channel - the free Govt channel, aka the propaganda channel.
Obviously, there is no washer or dryer. You can use our pond for water to take in buckets to hand-wash clothes, or you can easily find someone to pay to do your washing for you (by hand).
**Please note: your hosts DO NOT speak English, they only speak Bangla. The people writing and maintaining this website for them are their son & daughter-in-law. In emergencies, you might be able to call us to interpret for you over the phone. Not many people in the village speak English, but a few do (to varying degrees).
There isn't much to do in the village in terms of tourist activities, but you could try one of the following:
* Have a tea at the local tea-shop. Since everyone in the village is related, this is owned by our cousins. Tea is about 3 taka - or 4 US cents.
* Walk along the one road (you can't get lost) to the next tea shop, and have tea there.
* Take the local ferry boat across the river to a slightly larger village which has electricity, a tailor, hairdresser, village doctor and more tea shops. The ferry costs a princely 2 taka each way (about 3 US cents), and you might even have to help row the boat (and still pay)!
* Walk 2km to the local market on market day.
* Try your hand at collecting water from the well, or pounding rice into rice flour.
* Accompany a farmer to their field or fish pond, and see them in action.
* Be clever with the dates that you book, and make them coincide with a Hindu religious festival like Divali, Durga Puja, Lokhi Puja (aka Lakshmi Puja), Shoroshoti (Shorospoti) Puja, Bishokurma Puja, Pita Festival and more.
* Be lucky, and happen upon a date of a wedding, wedding-blessing ceremony, harvesting or planting of paddy time (not that these last two have festivals - but it's interesting). Anything that is going on in the village will be open to you - it's a really welcoming culture that adores foreigners.
Please note, (website hidden) maps don't have the roads for this area, so the 'address' given out once you book is not correct (airbnb just made it up based on the nearest road that (website hidden) maps DOES list). However, we used the satellite image to pinpoint the exact house. Just so you know, you can get to the village by yourself, taking local transport options, but without some Bangla you might struggle a bit and you will most likely have a 2km walk at the end. It will be a million times easier to get us to organise transport for you from Khulna with a local villager. The cost is about $10 US for up to 6 people and luggage (on an open-to-the-air but covered-over motorised vehicle, known as a Nosimon in local Bangla). If you are trying to save $$, we can help you with other options that cost less, too, and are a mix of local transport and personal transport.
N.B. in the rainy season, the road to the village (the final 2kms) turns to mud. It can be impossible for people who aren't used to walking in slippery mud to make it without using a boat to take you along the river. So, this can involve an extra cost, but also means that once you are at the house, it's much much harder to get about and explore the area. You have been warned!
If you are more than two people, we can accommodate you but we would need to chat about your needs and what that might look like in the house.
This is Bangladesh. You need to cover up, and wear appropriate clothes like at least a Salwar Kameez with scarf covering your front (if you are a woman). Men can wear pants or a lunghi (Bangladeshi-style long skirt). Shorts are not appropriate for anyone.
Also, alcohol is prohibited for Bangladeshis. So if you are a foreigner and have it with you, please keep it an absolute secret, and do not get drunk.
Smoking is only allowed outside.
Beef is strictly prohibited.
Unfortunately, we never made it to this property because the weather ruined a lot of our travel plans in Bengal. However, the couple were very helpful, kind, and easy to work with. I would recommend them. I hope we can eventually come to visit one day!!
We truly loved our stay! The whole community is super welcoming and so are Noresh and his wife. We enjoyed the calm village and took our time to explore the surroundings: everbody invited us in, loved to have a talk, etc. It's truly a beautiful part of Bangladesh.
The food they cooked for us was the best we had in Bangladesh: fresh fish and vegetables, either with rice or potatoes, it was all equally lovely.
We had great help as well from Noresh's son and daughter-in-law (living in Australia). They helped us out with communications and arranging everything neatly.
We wish we could have stayed longer.
I am more than 80 years old and have lived through a lot of Bangladeshi history. Unfortunately, I don't actually speak English, only Bangla (Bengali), and this airbnb info is managed by my son & daughter-in-law. But we are happy to receive guests and let them experience our subsistence way of life in a close-knit Hindu community. I am very open-minded and enjoy learning about other cultures.