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Tigers, Cobras and Shots? Oh My?!

April 27, 2010
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Well, let the countdown begin! Ten weeks from today, I’ll be in Dhaka, Bangladesh – and probably really really tired from a few days of traveling.


Ever heard of the Bengal Tiger?  It’s not a far-fetched guess that Bangladesh is the home of the Bengal Tiger, 500 of which live in the Sundarban National Reserve in the southwestern part of the country, where the Ganges River feeds into the Bay of Bengal. In 1997, the Sundarbans were added as an UNESCO world heritage site and the Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world.  In Bangali, Sundarbans can be translated into “beautiful forest” from ‘Sundar’ for beautiful and ‘Ban’ for forest. The entire Ganges Delta region is known as the Sundarbans and part of the region is in India; however about 60% is in Bangladesh

The 500 Bengal tigers make up the largest population of Bengal tigers in one place in the world! Between 100 and 250 people are killed by Tiger attacks in the Sundarbans National Reserve. While I don’t think I will get the opportunity to visit this area of Bangladesh, I find it interesting and thought you might too.


Women picking tea

Women picking tea in Bangladesh

We are planning on visiting Sylhet, a city in the northeast part of Bangladesh.  The Sylhet region is home to 150 tea plantations including three of the worlds largest tea plantations. Tea is a large industry in Bangladesh and employs about 300,000 Bangali workers. The two largest importers of Bangali tea are Pakistan and Russia (from what I understand, the US is missing out).

The region is lush and green, as seen in the picture.

The King Cobra – the worlds most venomous snake – makes its home in southeast Asia, preferring forests and jungles.  Due to the lush nature and plentiful leaves in which to hide, cobras frequent the tea plantations.


The Centers for Disease Control recommends that Americans get quite a few inoculations before traveling to Bangladesh.  I hate shots, but it’s a necessary evil for the experience of a lifetime.  Here’s what we had to get/update:

  • MMR
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Polio

I was up-to-date on MMR and we have determined that Japanese Encephalitis is not a risk in the areas where we will be visiting.  (My professor’s sister works for World Health Organization in Bangladesh, she sent us the statistics on Japanese Encephalitis infections in Bangladesh. Even in high risk areas, there are only 2.9 cases per 100,000 and the areas we will be are not high risk areas.)

I’ll also be taking anti-malaria medicine… once daily while I’m in Bangladesh and for four weeks when I return.

St. Elizabeth Medical Center in northern Kentucky has a really great business travelers clinic. They track diseases all over the world and help travelers determine what they need to be aware of and how to prevent or at least reduce their risk.  They really did their research and gave us a lot of information about what to bring and where to get special bug-spray to ward off the monster-mosquitoes, that are reported to be immune to the standard bug spray in the US.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 8:00 PM


    Thank you for the insightful and thought-provoking blog. I loved the title! I was really anticipating some interesting narrative. I hope you do end up making it to the Sundarbans National Reserve. Seeing those Bengal tigers would be unforgettable! I am so jealous! Kim tells me you might bring back some yummy Bangali tea! Can’t wait!


  2. So.West.I'm.East permalink*
    April 28, 2010 11:31 AM

    Hi Marky Mark,

    Thanks for your comments and for following my blog. I’d love to make it to Sundarbans, but I’m not sure if we will have time, but if I get the opportunity, I’m going!

    I will definitely try to bring back some tea!


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