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Published: June 11th 2012
The combination of Bangladesh and Beautiful- it’s tough to believe, right? Bangladesh and traffic jam or Bangladesh and load shedding or Bangladesh and crowd sound like more appropriate combinations. Bangladesh used to be a lush green land crisscrossed with wide rivers; but over the years, to accommodate more and more people and in our mindless desire to increase the size of the concrete jungle, the natural greenery has been destroyed, the deep, wide rivers have now become narrow and shallow. There is hardly any park or water body in Dhaka city; there is hardly any free highway in Bangladesh for long drives- small stalls are scattered beside the highways. There is crowd and filth everywhere!
But still, Bangladesh is
beautiful- if you have the eyes for it. There are places in Bangladesh where nature awes you. May be transportation and accommodation facilities in all these places are not up to tourism standard – that is a separate question. But if you can reach the place, you would be left breathless by quiet beauty of nature. Bangladesh has it all- longest sandy beach, coral island, mangrove forest, waterfalls, green hills, wide rivers, tea gardens and what not (except for snow). You
In Cox's Bazaar
have to have the stamina to push through crowds and bear the hassle of traffic jam and below standard facilities if you actually want to explore the beauty of Bangladesh. In this blog, my effort will be to portray the beauty of Bangladesh to foreigners- who might have the willingness to go through a little bit of trouble to experience the innocent beauty and diverse culture of Bangladesh.
The most popular holiday destination in Bangladesh is Cox’s Bazaar without doubt. This is one place where the transportation system, accommodation, food, entertainment and all other facilities are abundant. You can reach Cox’s Bazaar in plane, bus or hired car- the domestic airport is pretty close to the beach, where as the bus counters are about 10 minutes walk away from the beach. There are hotels of every range- from 5 star hotels to low range budget hotels. Food in Cox’s Bazaar is excellent- you get continental, grills, kebabs, Bangladeshi food and more variations. Fresh pomfret fry and dried fish are favorites of this place. 5 star hotels line the best part of the white beach, there are wooden cafes that have live music and bar-b-q facilities. Coconuts are abundant in
the beach. It’s bliss to sit on a sun bed in the beach, sip on fresh coconut water and listen to small street children singing folk songs to you in hope of receiving a small tip. Beach is safe in general- particularly the beaches of the 5-star hotels are guarded by their men till late night. Water sports are not in abundance as the sea is not surfing friendly, but some water rides are available. To me, the best time in the beach is in the evening- the sun sets in the sea, the lovely salty sea breeze sooths the hot skin, children sing folk songs, the sky becomes gradually darker and the sound of the sea becomes louder in the quietness after the noises of the day dries out, the starts sparkle in the never ending dark sky and if it’s a full moon, the waves create a silver line along the beach-it feels very out of the daily Bangladesh that I see!
Cox’s Bazaar extends till Inani beach now- which is much nicer a place for a quiet holiday. The marine drive from Cox’s Bazaar to Inani beach is the most beautiful drive of Bangladesh in my
experience. With small hills in one side and blue sea on the other and hardly any crowd in between, the drive is shamefully short; it’s less that 45 minutes but every single minute of the drive is beautiful. Inani beach is beautiful in a different way- the beach is much less crowded and has submerged corals that come out only during ebb and again gets inundated by tide. There are good resorts in and around Inani beach where they provide all sorts of facilities.
If you want to go to the southernmost point of Bangladesh, which is Tecnaf, you would definitely love it over there. It’s a couple of hours drive from Cox’s Bazaar town. You can take a local bus or the more adventurous way is to higher an open jeep and drive along the beach. You can drive on the line of water and reach Tecnaf and the entire drive will give you awesome view of the sea and white sandy beach. Tecnaf has good accommodation and the Porjoton hotel has the best view of Tecnaf river- which is wide, quiet and meets the sea before your eyes. There are small green hills around, and beach is
close by- it’s a beautiful place for a quiet weekend.
From Tecnaf, you can board steemer and go to Saint Martin’s Island- s small island with beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water. Accommodation in the island is not up to the standard, but day trips are available from Tecnaf- which is a good option. The steamer ride to and from Saint Martin is exotic. You cross the border or Burma on your way to Saint Martin, you can see sea gulls flying overhead, fishermen fishing in the sea from large dingis (fishing boats). Saint Martin island has another extension- “Chhera Deep” which can be walked over to (which take a couple of hours through the island) or you can take a shampan (large wooden boat) or traller (large wooden boat with an engine) to go to “Chhera Deep”. There is nothing in Chhera Deep, it’s a very small piece of land with corals all around, lots of crabs running and hiding in the coral and small colorful fishes swimming around your feet in crystal clear water. A day trip is enough to enjoy the beauty of Saint Martin’s Island and you can be back in Tecnaf by evening
in the same steamer that took you there. The blueness of sky and sea mixes and becomes a never ending circle during the day trip- which to me is extremely refreshing.
Beach of Bangladesh is a place to truly relax- not much activity to explore, but if you want sun and food and pure relaxation for a few days, then this is the place to be in!
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