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Archive for September, 2008

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Hello backpackers!!! On this weeks travel guide I would like to suggest for you all to take a swing at Bandarban, a picturesque hill-track on the Chittagong region of Bangladesh.Among many of its natural wonder, Bandarban is the proud owner of the highest peak in Bangladesh known as Keokradong, although, a debate exist that Tanjindong is higher than Keokradong.

Where to stay?

A cottage at the Milon-Chori Resort

A cottage at the Milon-Chori Resort

According to my experience the best place to stay in Bandarban is Milonchori, the Guide Tour’s resort, situated on a small mountain. This settlement is unique as it offers a wide range of accommodation for travelers, starting from 200tk (a bed at the dormitory) to approximately 3000tk for a luxury cottage.
The cottages are designed like the housing of the indigenous people of the hill-tracks, like the Baum is a unique house that can hold 4 people. It is a replica of a Baum tribe’s housing. Along with that, there are cottages of Marma, and some named after birds of Bangladesh such as the Munia, Moina etc.Staying at the Milonchori resort will give you a feeling that you are in the hill-track locality.
Contact: 01199275691.

Places to visit:
The renowned Golden Temple of the Buddhist’s.

Nilgiri
Meghla, the Parjatan tourist spot, there is a hiking trail and also a small zoo.
Watch the sunrise or sunset from Tiger Hill.
Visit Chimbuk Mount.
Go on a trek to the highest peak of Bangladesh Keokradong.
Visit the Thanchi Locality.
Shoilopropath, a small waterfall not much far from Milonchori, a half-hour trot will get you there.
Ali Kadam Cave.
Rijhuk Waterfall in Ruma.
Cruise on a local boat of the famous Shangu River.
Meditation Centre in Lama ( Quantum Method).
Prantik Lake.

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Prantik Lake

The minature zoo at the Parjatan's tourist spot called Meghla

The minature zoo at the Parjatan

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Shoilopropath

Shoilopropath

If you are staying at the Guide Tours’ resort, you can request Khokon Uncle (one of the owners) to provide you with a guide, it will cost you approximately 500tk everyday. You can also ask them to rent a local Jeep called Chander Gari that will cost you 2000tk to 2500tk per day. For more information please call Explore and Tourism :+8801717055868. This company will design a tour for you according to your wish, along with that they offer different package tours of Bandarban.

That is all from this weeks travel guide, until next week Hasta la vista!!!

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Now where did I stop my story previously…..hmmm……oh! I remember, so I hung up on my mom and started the bus journey towards Cox’s Bazar as there was no direct bus to Teknaf back at that time. Our plan was to reach Cox’s Bazar and take a local bus to Teknaf.
Boy o boy, what a journey it was. This was the first time I was going away from home all by myself with people of my age ( I was Going lalalallalalalaaaaaaaa in my head and heart). The next morning we reached our destination and stayed at Teknaf for the night. Early in the morning, at the crack of dawn (I added the last part for a dramatic effect) we started our trek towards Baharchora, our very first destination.

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Bundled up with all our worldly possessions at that trip we walked for almost 4 hours non-stop on the soft sand. At first nothing bothered us; it was the most beautiful summer day of my life. Let me try to describe the scenario to you all, we were walking along the sea beach with the sea on one side and a small but continuous patch of Shal forest on the other with mountains lying beyond that. To me, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. But, after walking for long hours…hehehhe…lets just say the place started to look a little less charming. My feet were not killing me; it was more like picking me with a blunt needle real hard. We decided to rest becasue Raka and I both threatened Auntu that we would make him carry our packs otherwise. Well the reason that Auntu was so reluctant to stop was because, the area was very risky.
Finally at mid-day we reached the army camp marked on our map where they informed us that we have covered almost 20km and Baharchora was approximately further 8 km away. The three of us rounded up on Auntu like a pack of wild Hyaenas, but upon seeing that he was genuinely sorry, we decided to forgive him. We huffed and puffed under the summer sun and finally reached Baharchora our very first rest stop, it was early in the evening.
My dear friends! That was not the end of our struggle, upon arriving we saw that in order to get into the village we have to cross a mud-filled ditch or walk a further 2km, everyone except I voted for the first option and I had to give in…
http://www.thedailystar.net/rising/2004/07/01/index.htm

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In this week’s travel guide I would like to suggest our fellow backpackers to visit Birishiri, Shushong Durgapur. It is a beautiful landscape with the flow of the Shomeshwari River (but the last time I went there I crossed the river by a rickshaw, but I guess you guys will find a fine flow now since it has been raining for quite some time now), the ceramic mountains, the Christian missionary, the small hills near the India Bangladesh borders etc.

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How to get there?

The best possible way to travel locally is to go to Mymensingh bus stand or commonly known as Mohakhali bus stand and catch a direct bus to Birishiri. Ticket is not more than Taka 350.

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Where to stay?

If you are a big group you can risk camping near the ceramic mountains. You can also stay at the YMCA institute at a very low cost; you can also camp inside their compound if you can manage the permission.

The best ways to explore is by foot, or rent a rickshaw and ask him to take you to all the tourist spots. Believe me, they know it all.

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Photograph by Salman Saeed

Thursday 4th September ’08”, I decided that I will join the International Coastal Cleanup that will take place at Cox’s Bazar. The bus was about to leave at 10 o clock so in a haste I packed my backpack and called SALMAN SAYEED a co-coordinator of the program and told him that I want to go. He was reluctant and asked me to join them directly at Cox’s Bazar. Well me being myself, called Ujjal bhai and told him that ” I really really reallyyyyyyyyy want to go”, so, Ujjal bhai informed me that I can go in his place. Thus, in the entire program my name became Ashraful Zaman Ujjal.

Photograph by Salman Saeed
Photograph by Salman Saeed
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Photograph by Salman Saeed
Photograph by Salman Saeed
Photograph by Salman Saeed

Enough of my personal story, now, I am about to enlighten you about the Coastal Cleanup Program. It is the day when people in different countries gather with trash bags in their sea beaches to collect the pollutant of the beaches. So on 5th of September ’08, hundreds of people gathered at Laboni Parjatan resort to start the procession rally towards the beach.

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Photograph by Salman Saeed

The large group consisted to people from 8 to 50 year old people. After the traditional photo-shoot session, many groups of 10 were formed and given glove and trash-bags to collect all the non – biodegradable objects from the beach,We were successful in collecting almost 60kg trash (I’m not sure about the data) from an area of 5km of the beach. The main component of the trash was cigarette filters, plastic bottle caps and coconut remains. All the participants of the program were given a certificate for attending. It was a great trip arranged by a well disciplined group of youngsters, who worked for hours on end without complaining. 

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Commonly known as the home of the grand beast “Royal Bengal Tiger”, it is one of the largest Mangroove Forest in the world, situated in the south western part of Bangladesh, in the constituency of greater Khulna.

If you are an adventurer and a travel enthusiast, then this will be the ultimate travel experience for you.

Major attractions in Sundarban region:

Sundarban offers you abundant resources for activities such as Nature and Wild Life photography, research, boating in the thousands of meandering creeks, rivers and estuaries. You can also record wild calls, observe animal behavior and many more.

Below is a list of major spots for these activities –

  • Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and natural beauty.
  • Katka for deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and monkey, morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali (Tiger Point) provide opporunities for wild tracking.
  • Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer.
  • DubJar Char (Island) for fishermen. It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are often seen to graze.
  • How to get there and where to stay:

    Guided Tours
    Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation offers all-inclusive guided package tours from Dhaka to Sundarbans and return during the tourist season (October to March) for groups (minimum 10 persons).

    For details please contact: Manager (Tours), Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, 233 Airport Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1 215, Phone 325155-59. Telex 642206 TOUR BJ.

    http://www.travelbd.com/travelinfo.htm

    Call : +8801717055868 ( Explore and Tourism )

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