Assam Despatch 2:
Rhinos & More
GUWAHATI TO SILGHAT
Meet at Guwahati airport and transfer to our cruise at Pandu port, Enjoy lunch while crusing downstream to Sualkuchi. PM walk through Sualkuchi, a bustling little town that is the centre of Assamese silk production, to visit weaving workshops. Witness the whole process of silk manufacture, from cocoon and spinning to dyeing and hand-weaving into exquisite mekhela chadars (a two-piece sari, the traditional attire of an Assamese woman). We then sail up to dock close to the great Saraighat bridge
This morning, drive up Nilachal Hill to see the holy Kamakhya temple. With its tantric rites and animal sacrifice, the more squeamish among us may prefer to content themselves with the exteriors. Visit the poignant Commonwealth War Graves cemetery before embarking on your cruise vessel at Uzan Bazaar. We set sail and cruise pass Kurua on the north bank.
AM cruise up and visit a river side village, with its lush green fields of vegetables. The day is spent mostly cruising upstream with jungle-covered hills rising on either side, often battling against strong currents to reach Jotiabari. Enjoy Indian cooking demonstration onboard.
This morning, cruise on to reach Tezpur where, after lunch, we will visit the 6th century Da Parbatia temple ruins with its beautifully carved portal. Later, explore the town by cycle rickshaw, stopping at Cole Park with its medieval stone carvings saved from sites all over the region. Enjoy free time in local market. Our ship will be waiting at the town’s waterfront for us to reboard.
After an early breakfast, drive for some two hours to the Nameri National Park at the foot of the blue hills of Arunachal Pradesh, the old North East Frontier Agency. Here, we take a float trip of around two hours down the Jia-Bhoreli River through the park. There are excellent bird-watching opportunities here (look out for the great Hornbills) and, perhaps, the chance of sighting wild elephants. After lunch, take a village walk before returning to the ship. Continue upstream, passing below a seemingly endless new bridge across the vast width of the riverbed, to moor at Silghat.
Today, drive to Kaziranga’s Central Range for a morning jeep safari. Enjoy lunch at DRL. Afterwards take another jeep safari in the little visited Burapahar Range before returning to the boat.
Covering an area of approximately 430 sq kms, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros as well as the Indian Wild Water Buffalo. It has also earned the distinction of having the highest density of Royal Bengal Tigers (one every five sq. km.) making this park an incredibly rich biodiversity hotspot. With its marshy swamps and thickets of elephant grass, this park supports large populations of Indian elephants, Indian bison, swamp deer, and Capped Langurs.
Besides wildlife, Kaziranga National Park is also a birding paradise. A few of the bird species found here are the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Himalayan Griffon and so on.
Kaziranga National Park also frequently draws comparisons to the Serengeti in Africa due to the park's abundance of wildlife and birds.
This morning, go on a visit to a local tea garden and weekly market of Uloni. In the afternoon, drive to Kaziranga’s Western range (Bagori Range) for jeep safari.
Rise early for a 4-hour drive back to Guwahati airport. Alternatively, we can arrange a 40-minute transfer to Tezpur airport or a 2 ½ hr transfer to Jorhat airport.
Guests can also choose to stay onboard and join Assam Despatch Cruise 3: River Island Cruise.
Kaziranga National Park has low-lying grassland, which may not be visitable when the river is at or near flood level.
This itinerary, including the cruise and approximate driving durations, is subject to river and weather conditions.
The 'Rhinos & More' cruise is offered in the Boutique & Active Expedition cruising styles.
BOUTIQUE EXPEDITION CRUISING
with ABN Charaidew II
Our selection of boutique cruise ships are comfortable, contemporary, and celebratory of Assam and Bengal's rich regional heritage. They are designed to reflect a sense of homecoming to the region: the unique objets d'art and handicrafts aboard the ships have been carefully collected and curated over the years, and the locally made furniture and textiles are a product of traditional craftsmanship and modern design intervention.
As such, each boutique ship was designed to be purposefully distinct in its style, with interesting stories that accompany each ship's décor.
ABN Charaidew II has 18 cabins: two spacious deluxe double-bedded cabins and 12 twin/double-bedded cabins on the upper deck, and four cabins with a queen bed each on the main deck, for which we charge no supplement.
All cabins have en suites with W.C., a writing desk and chair, mini-fridge, individual climate control, and storage space. The standard cabins have French balconies, while the two deluxe cabins have a private balcony.
There are three cabin categories on ABN Charaidew II:
UPPER DECK DELUXE DOUBLE-BEDDED CABIN
This cabin (350 sq. ft.) is located on the upper deck. The spacious cabin opens out to a comfortable sit-out, offering guests a better vantage point from which to watch rural India glide by.
UPPER DECK TWIN/DOUBLE-BEDDED CABIN
This cabin (240 sq. ft.) is located on the upper deck, and can be converted into twin or double beds.
MAIN DECK CABIN WITH QUEEN BED
Featuring a queen bed, this cabin (170 sq. ft.) is ideal for solo travellers, for which we charge no supplement.
ACTIVE EXPEDITION CRUISING
with ABN Sukapha
Our selection of active cruise ships are small in size, comfortable and filled with character. The décor is fresh and stylish, featuring handlooms, bamboo panelling, and locally made cane and rattan furniture.
Cycles on board and local tuk-tuks allow for independent exploration; additionally, on a few departures, we operate ‘cruising and cycling’ tours.
With only 12 cabins, it is ideal for a small group of travellers or private charter for a group of family and friends.
ABN Sukapha is deliberately intimate in size with 12 cabins, all of which are located on the upper deck of the ship.
The maximum group size on board ABN Sukapha is 24 guests.
All cabins have en suites with W.C., French balconies, individual climate control, and storage space.
There are no separate cabin categories for ABN Sukapha.