Some 92 kIn. from Chittagong by metalled road through the green forest and hills is tucked away a quiet heaven. This hidden paradise away from the din and bustle of the world is called Bandarban. The natural setting of this little township, rich in tribal heritage, attracts tourists in their thousands. Its flora and fauna, bamboo cottages of its ethnic people and their life style have made this picturesque hilly resort a popular eco-tourism destination of tourists from home and abroad. Bandarban is the hometown of the Bohmang Chief who is the head of the Mogh tribe. Buddhists by religion, the Moghs are a colorful tribe-simple, fun-loving and jovial people. Bandarban is also the home of the Murangs, who are famous for their music and dance. Several other ethnic minorities also live in the remote corners of the district. Bandarban has the unique privilege of having 2 highest peaks of the country, the Keokeradong and the Tajingdong that measure up to 4000 and 4632 feet respectively. The grandeur and mystic charm of these peaks are simply beyond words and imagination. It is a bit difficult to reach the spot penetrating deep forest and the rugged terrains. But, then nothing is unconquerable for the adventurous people. Here a tourist may be lucky to see how huge logs of wood are being carried to the plain by tamed elephants.
The panoramic view of Bandarban will surely allure tourists to extend their stay, roaming around in the natural wilderness of this hilly district. Tourists can also have a good access to a wider variety of activities, hill trekking to remote tribal villages, bird watching, enjoying waterfalls in a day trips and a better chance of interacting with the local tribal and ethnic culture in the surrounding areas. A great Buddhist water festival held in every April adds extra attraction to tourists.
Popularly known as Boga Lake, is a natural water body in the hill district of Bandarban. The lake attracts tourists because of its scenic beauty but it is inaccessible by motorised transports. Only those who dare the trouble of trekking through the bushes can visit the lake, whose main source of water are natural springs. The local tribal people use the water of the lake for drinking. It is gainsaid that there is a hot spring at the bottom of the lake and the color of the lake's water changes due to the discharges of the hot spring. No fish can live nor any weed can grow in this lake. Ethnic people living around the place believe that Boga Lake and its surroundings are the abodes of goddesses, to whom they pray for good harvests of Jhum cultivation. The lake is much adored by the hill, people who yearly offer sacrifice to propitiate the spirit of the water.
Mountain Keokeradong Discovery Trek
This is a typical trek including a river journey by country boat to Ruma, then a moderate day's hike up a river bed to the lilyfilled Boga Lake and a lakeside Bawm tribal village. Below the lake one will find a Marma village. Hillside trekking in Bandarban is not so easy for visitors who are lack of mental courage.
Chimbuk is a unique hill having different kinds of tourist attractions. It is called the Darjeeling of Bengal. It is 2000 feet high from the sealevel. Chimbuk Hill is 25 Jun. away to the south of Bandarban Town, with zigzag road and view of the Sangu river give a thrilling experience for lifetime.
The top of this hill is plain and it is like a plateau. The dance of cloud snowballs with the rise of the morning sun and immediately before the sun sets in.
The visitors can easily touch the cloud by stretching hands. The environment is so captivating that one would like to return here time and again. Tourists can spend a night in the rest-house on the top of Chimbuk hill on prior permission taken from the Roads and Highways Department. A 4 wheel drive by Chander Gari (local means of transport) is the main means of transport to visit the place.
Another existing event is a full-day trip to Run Bazar which is about 60 km. south-east froJ Bandarban. The place is famous for its sceni beauty and the tourists can spend some hours
over here before taking a journey back to Bandarban b Sampan (boat). Ruma is abundant with triba diversity. It is the home of the Murang tribe.
This natural mighty waterfall is situated at Ruma Here, the water incessantly falls into the rivel Sangu frorp about a 300 feet high hill dazzling like pearl particles in the space creating an unparallel beauty of the nature. The surrounding is equally captivating with vast greenery all around and
myriad kinds of trees and shrubs.
Prantik Lake is situated about 11 km. from the town. The Murang tribes dwell in the bank of this lake. Its convenient location has already made it a hot spot for the picnic lovers.
Rajbari and the Museum
The historical Bohmang Rajbari IS situated in the Bandarban town. It is attractive and bears a long glorious history of several hundred years. Ancient and historical Raj Khyang is situated near this royal palace. One of the 4 statues of Buddha, which has religious importance all over the world, is kept here. One can visit the Anthropological Museum of Bandarban where the history of the local tribal life is preserved. The museum authority has set upreplicas of various tribal houses in the museum which elucidate brief idea about design and architectural structures of tribal houses.
The MegWa Tourist Spot is situated at about 6 Jun. near the Chittagong-Bandarban Highway. Here lies a lake of extraordinary beauty. There are cottages and rest-houses for picnic. It has got a zoo and water cruising facilities in the lake. Attractive Parjatan Motel Bandarban is located on its south bank. A beautiful hanging wooden bridge enhances the beauty of this' spot. In one side there are some constructions and facilities for the tourists like tower, restaurant etc. while on the other side there are the wildlives, natural forests and the hills.
Buddha Dhatu Jadi
It is an attractive temple located at 300 feet height on a hill at Balaghata 2 km. from Bandarban town. Its golden color, eyecatching architecture is a feast for the eyes of the visitors. Recently, the Prime Minister of Myanmar paid an official visit to pay homage.
There are numerous settlements of the Murang and Khumi tribal people in the area. The ruins of an old town are found near the village. It is said that a Chakma Raja built his capital here and the remains of the palaces can still be traced. Ali's Tunnel is also situated here. There are many mysterious tales regarding this tunnel.
Some 8 km. away from Bandarban, Shaila Prop at (Waterfall) is a popular spot for tourists. The walk to this spot will involve several ascents and descents along hillside. The rocky pathway is very slippery and tourists have to be cautious to avoid the chance of slip.
Those who have planned to trek to the river could reach from Bandarban town on foot for about 2 hours. The entire walk is a soft downhill descent and will pose no particular problem. Tourists who are interested can surely go for a refreshing swim in the river. It has strong currents in the monsoon due to rainfall but in the winter it is calm and convenient. Tourists can take a boat trip to go to Bandarban downstream.
Panoramic Nilgiri Resort on the apex of the hill at Bandarban is supervised and controlled by Bangladesh Army and Bangladesh Rifles. It keeps a distance of approximately 50 km. from Bandarban Town and 25 kIn. from Chimbuk hill. It is located near Jiban Nagar while making a journey towards Thanchi Upazilla. It positions on the height of about 2500 feet from the sea level.
The visitors will get the golden opportunity to have a glance of the Cox's Bazar sea beach from Nilgiri. The security of the whole hilly area is controlled by Bangladesh Army. So the security portion is cent percent safe and hassle-free. From Nilgiri at a time you can enjoy a lot of natural beauties including the waves of Cox's Bazar sea beach, breezy air, the colourful life of the Mru indigenous community on the horizon touching the hills, the lush greenery.
When to go
The winter (Nov to Feb) is the ideal time to visit Bandarban. The time is very eco-friendly to the visitors. In this period tourists with warm clothes feel free to move in and around the hilly region without the menace of leeches, insects and mosquitoes.
Where to stay
Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation runs a Motel under Private Management Contract at Bandarban in a nice environment for the tourists to stay. The visitors can also stay other good Hotels like Hotel Atithi, Hotel Green Hill, Hotel Prue Abasika, Hotel Purobi and Jamal Boarding etc.
What to carry
In the summer, one should carry light clothes and an umbrella or raincoat. It rains quite a lot here. Also to protect oneself from insects and mosquitoes, visitors can carry insect repellant. As the whole Chittagong Hill Tract is a malaria prone area, everybody has to be careful about mosquito bites. It is advised that visitors wear long sleeves and also wear long trousers in the evening. During rainy season while walking into the woods, you have to be careful about the leeches.
DOs & DON'Ts
Those who are interested to visit Bandarban can take a guide who will give them company and introduce them the sights to make this trip a pleasant one. Tourists are restricted not to buy wildlife products. If anyone is interested to take photographs of ethnic people or their villages, he/she must take permission in advance.