Top five reasons to visit the Bandarban District
Top five reasons to visit the Bandarban District
Bandarban. An inviting world of the most exquisite greenery and the most exotic waterfalls yet it remains a land not regularly explored. It is perhaps one of Bangladesh’s most overlooked tourist destinations. When one thinks of popular travel spots within the country, Cox’s Bazar, Saint Martin’s Island, or even the capital, Dhaka likely for spring to mind. But this district yet has to achieve that popularity due to certain factors that compels travellers to come out of their comfort zone.
Of course, it would be a mistake to dismiss this haven of natural beauty and wonder, as a visit to the Bandarban district will reward you with scenic mountain vistas, breathtaking natural waterfalls, adventurous river trips, and cultural experiences you’ll carry with you for a lifetime.
The Bandarban district is a 4479 km² section in the south eastern part of Bangladesh which borders the Rangamati District on the north and Myanmar on the south. With just under 300,000 people populating the entire district, Bandarban is the least populated district in all of Bangladesh. If your aim is to get away from the hustle and bustle of a chaotic Dhaka life then make this place your destination. Not only will this provide you with a detoxification but it will also give you an element of adventure which is precious. The majority of the land in the Bandarban district is pristine nature and wilderness, untouched by the progress of modern man.
Getting to Bandarban is an eight-hour bus ride from Dhaka, two hours by bus if you are coming in from Chittagong, and three hours if you’re travelling from the seaside resort town of Cox’s Bazar. There is so much natural beauty to see and experience here, you could spend weeks and still not see everything the area has to offer. So, in the interest of expediency, here are the top five reasons to visit the band of our district.
As one of the tallest peaks in all of Bangladesh at 3,500 feet, Nilgiri offers some of the most incredibly scenic panoramic views in the entire country. Located just 46 km from Bandarban Sadar, you can get there by either private vehicle or by bus. There is also a helipad atop Nilgiri so if money is no object, you can arrive there by helicopter and enjoy all the beautiful panoramic views along the way.
Once there, you can stay at the beautiful Nilgiri resort which is run by the Bangladesh Army, so you can take comfort knowing security will not be an issue. There are three main cottages in the resort or you could enjoy the thrill of staying in tents which is also readily available. All sorts of accommodation can be arranged pertaining to your choice of lodging.
Standing atop the peak of Nilgiri, your breath will be taken away by rolls of clouds stirring slowly against the mountain tops. You will feel like you habe been transported on one of the clouds and you will be looking down from the heavens on the surrounding vicinity including majestic waterfalls, lakes abd crystal clear rivers. It is truly something to behold.
For a visit to one of the truly spectacular jewels of the Bandarban terrain, you must make the track and see Boga Lake for yourself. This natural beauty is 15 acres in size and approximately 3000 feet above sea level, making it the highest lake in all of Bangladesh.
The name is derived from the local word, fire of dragon, and according to local mythology, the lake was formed by the fiery wrath of the dragon more than 2000 years ago. Geologists will say that it was formed from the crater of a deadened volcano and rainwater during that same timeframe.
To get to Boga Lake you must travel 18 km from Ruma Sadar and then take a four-wheel drive SUV commonly known as “Chaander Gari” all the way up to the lake. Now Chaander gari will be unlike any vehicle you have ever ridden, and you will experience the adrenaline passing through your body as thr ride drives along the peaks and slumps of the mountains. Once there, you will see why nature lovers make this trip on a regular basis. Boga Lake is stunning for its clear blue water, as well as the lush foliage which surrounds it as it sits nestled amongst the countries highest peaks
There are many stunning waterfalls located in this district but the Nafakhum Waterfall is arguably the most spectacular and is certainly the largest waterfall in the country. It is also lovingly addressed as the Niagara Falls of Bangladesh.
Visiting these places require some effort and regulatory hoops to jump through, but you’ll find it is well worth the effort and more. To get here, you will need to travel to Thanchi, which is about a 79 km four-hour bus trip from Bandarban. From there you will be required to hire a mandatory travel guide as well as an engine boat which will take you to the Falls via the Sangu river. The trip is approximately four hours there and two hours back.
Amongst the amazing sceneries and creatures you will encounter is a special flying fish known as Nating which is often found at the bottom of the nearby caves. These fish have the ability to swim upstream but cannot jump over the height of the falls. For nature and animal lovers, this trip is an absolute must and is a treat for the eyes and the soul.
The Golden Temple
If you are someone who feels enriched and refreshed by visiting beautiful religious sites, you must see the Buddha Dhatu Jadi. Located in Pulpara, this is a Theravada Buddhist temple which is commonly known amongst the locals as the Golden Temple which is the largest of its kind and boasts the second largest Buddhist statue in Bangladesh.
The temple was constructed between 1995 and 2000 on top of the 60 m high Hill. Inside the temple you’ll find a small pond known as the Pond of Angels. Remember, when planning to visit the temple, it is only open to visitors between 5 PM and 7 PM. Although there is a strict dress code, the temple is well worth the restriction.
A Sangu River Tour
For thousands of years the Sangu River has been the lifeblood of the Bandarban District. It is a 270 km long natural beauty which flows West across the district before falling into the Bay of Bengal.
The scenic beauty of the river lies in the fact it is running between lush green tree lined hills for the entire length of the river. During the winter, the river can be quite still and stagnant, however, during the rainy season it will rush with an amazing ferocity.
There are many spots along the river from which you can hire a boat to take you on a cruise to take in all of the majestic beauty.
All in all, this place is a package that offers you to bask in serenity or to pump up your blood and is not a viable option for some. However, one thing is certain that you will not return the same person once you have visited this wild heavenly abode.