The Top Five Things to do When Visiting Chittagong
As one of Bangladesh’s largest seaports and financial districts, it should come as no surprise that Chittagong is one of the country’s more popular tourist hubs. The city is always bustling with activity, boasting a population of more than 2.5 million people.
Perhaps the strongest tourist draw to the city is the breathtaking nature and scenery that surrounds Chittagong at all times. Located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, Chittagong is nestled between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Bay of Bengal. The lush green hills and seaside sunrises and sunsets are something to behold for anyone visiting this magnificent city. Noted Chinese traveller and poet Huen Tsang described Chittagong as a “sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water “more than 1300 years ago.
With a reputation as being one of the cultural capitals of Bangladesh, there is never a shortage of things to do or places to see when visiting Chittagong. It is the home of the Theatre Institute of Chittagong as well as the Chittagong Performing Arts Academy. With so much to see and do here, it would be easy to get lost or miss some of the most important attractions. To help you out for your future visit to Chittagong, here are the top five things to do and see when visiting the area. ticketshala.com has several tour packages to Chittagong at www.ticketshala.com/tours/.
Foy’s Lake Amusement World
First opened in 2004, Foy’s Lake park combines the family friendly appeal of both an amusement park and a nature park. For those who crave the pure joy of theme park adventures, you can enjoy the rides or splash around in the water park which features wave pools and slides. You can spend an entire day here just enjoying some good old-fashioned fun in the sun.
Foy’s Lake is also a great destination for those who are looking for a quieter experience just enjoying nature. Foy’s Lake is a picturesque man-made lake first created in 1924 and named after a railway engineer. The lake is surrounded by lush green hills and forests, making it an ideal location for nature lovers. You can take a leisurely boat ride out into the lake and take in all of the panoramic scenery on the quiet of the water.
The park has lots of great restaurants and food stands for when it’s time to take a meal break. Between the fun rides and the breathtaking scenic sites, this is a must see for anyone visiting Chittagong.
Located at the mouth of the Karnaphuli River, almost 15 km south of the city proper, Patenga Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. Part of the attraction is its proximity to the Bangladesh Naval Academy where people can see the Bangladesh Navy ships up close.
This is not the typical beach where you can walk along or lay out on miles of fine sand. Most of the shoreline has been built up with brick pillars and stones to guard against erosion. Despite this, Patenga Beach is still a favourite destination for those looking to breathe in the cool salty sea mist and enjoy some of the best local food offered by the seaside vendors. One of the most popular local dishes is a fried, spicy mud crab served with a small plate of falafel, garnished with cucumber and onion.
For those who want to enjoy some quiet nature time, the beach is tree-lined with huge palm trees that offer some much needed shade on hot summer days. Patenga Beach is home to a wide variety of bird species and is known for being the site of some of the best sunrises and sunsets anywhere in Bangladesh.
The Ethnological Museum
This needs to be high up on the list for anyone who prefers a culturally enriching look into Chittagong’s long and fascinating history. And ethnological museum features the various groups and tribes of people who have come together to make up the population of an area as it stands today, and Chittagong’s is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.
Upon walking through the doors, you’ll be transported back in time to the earliest settlements of man in the area. You’ll explore the 12 tribes in Chittagong and the 29 ethnic groups that make up the path to the modern-day composition of Bangladesh. There are 11 different galleries in the museum that explore the lives of these early tribes through paintings, reconstructions, maps, photographs and models.
To understand where we’re going in the future, we must first understand where we’ve been in the past and there’s no better way to gain insight than through visiting the Ethnological Museum in Chittagong
The Shrine of Bayazid Bastami
Chittagong is home to countless Mahometans and Hindus and so no visit to the area would be complete without seeing one of the local holy sites. One of the more popular sites is the shrine of Bayazid Bastami who was a famous Persian Sufi originally from Bastam, Iran.
The tomb and sarcophagus were first discovered in 1831. At that time, they were behind a wall with protective pillars. Now the site is framed by a more modern structure.
One of the most unique features of this site which adds to tourist appeal is the large pond in front of the shrine which is the home to a large number of previously endangered black softshell turtles. Local legend has it that these turtles are actually descendants of the evil spirits that suffered the wrath of Bayazid Bastami while he was visiting the area.
The combination of holy site and turtle sanctuary makes this a popular tourist attraction in Chittagong.
Any visit to Chittagong should include taking in one of the city’s amazing restaurants. One of its more famous is Handi’s which specializes in Indian, Asian and Bangladeshi cuisine. Handi’s is open from 11 am to 11 pm seven days a week.
The locals go to Handi’s for the exquisite Indian cuisine, specifically its Hyderabadi biriyani which has come to be known as the house specialty. Handi’s offers a good variety on the menu and is suitable for those who prefer meat-based dishes or those to eat strictly vegetarian.
If you arrive without having previously made a reservation, you can expect to stand in line due to its immense popularity. Also, if you want to order the dosas, you’ll have to do so before 8:30 pm or they won’t take the order.
If you find yourself in Chittagong, do yourself a favour and make a trip to Handi’s. For more information on Chittagong visit www.wikitravel.org/en/Chittagong.