Do you desperately need a vacation but you are all tapped out of cash and/or refuse to go through two 12hour long bus rides for a day long trip? Do you watch Spring Break Parties on Travel and Living with the same wistfulness your sister watches “My Super Sweet Sixteen”? What if I told you there’s a perfectly beautiful getaway that would put Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach” to shame, located no more than an hour away from Dhaka. No, I’m not high on psychedelic mushrooms. All you have to do is take the highway from Dhaka Zero Point and keep driving straight. What I am talking about is the pristine Padma river bank, only 34 kilometers away from the hustle and bustle of this brain melting city. It’s a route that lets you push your speedometer to the limit and for bikers, it’s the ultimate “Road Hogs” experience. You won’t need the “10km. to Padma” milestones to tell you that you’re there. You won’t get anything remotely close to the fresh air, the cool breeze and blissfully soothing sounds of Padma’s Bank in this fair city of ours, and that big beautiful river shining in the sun sure as heck ain’t Buriganga. So here’s what you need for your Do-It-Yourself Spring Break Kit:
1. A Car (preferably an SUV, roads are a bit bumpy after the Dhaleswari Bridge)
2. At least 400 bucks worth of Gas (To be on the safe side)
3. Barbeque Grill, gasoline, a big sack of coal (Unless you’re planning to be a regular John Wayne and whip up your own fire by rubbing two sticks together)
4. Fishing gear, bait. (I know it’s off season but that makes it all the more relaxing)
5. Sleeping Bags/Tents
6. Your Goodie Box (Where you put your spring break stuff, ‘nuff said)
The best part is you don’t have to carry a huge chunk of meat out to Padma if you want a barbeque by the river. You can get what you need in Mawa on your way.
Things you can do
The river’s bank is a breathtaking little piece of paradise of golden sands with endless possibilities. If the waters are calm, (and they usually are in Padma) you can take a long soothing boat ride along the river bank. You have not lived until you’ve watched the sun set in Padma. It’s a golden shade of yellowish orange so bright that you can almost touch it with your bare hands. At the end of it all, the grand finale is when the tawny gold rays flickering off of the waves to make it all the more surreal. It’s an experience that leaves you in awe of nature for days to come. At night, if the skies are clear you can see each and every star twinkling out there; I can’t think of a place more perfect to learn constellations.
Incase you’re lucky you might actually get a bite on your fishing rods and there is nothing, and I mean nothing, as scrumptious as freshly caught fish roasted over a slow fire. If not, then there are always the steaks and sausages. It doesn’t matter what’s on the menu, the fresh air and the serene environment makes everything taste heavenly. Don’t bother packing your desserts. If you take a short walk to the south of the bank you’ll find quaint little straw cottages that are actually sweet shops run by the locals. Their home made roshogollas are out of this world. They are nothing like the roshogollas we are used to, trust me on that. I shall not spoil the surprise by elaborating further, but I’ll say this much: do NOT come back from Padma without paying a visit to the quaint nameless sweetshops.
Finally you can start a campfire and campout all night long by the river, but make sure to keep a safe distance from the coastline (better be safe than wet). For those who would feel safer with a roof over their heads can check out the cottages at Padma resort in Louhajang. The rates are pretty reasonable; at 3000BDT a day and you can rent a beautiful cottage (which accommodates up to 10 people) all for yourself. They are famous for their Padmar Eleesh caught fresh from the river. You should at least drop by to try their Hilsha even if you don’t plan on staying. The Padma resort is just 20minutes away from the river itself. I could go on and on, but I bet you’re tired of me rambling and you are probably all riled up to check out the place yourself. So that’s all for now, happy spring break everyone!