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Photograph by Limana Solaiman

Photograph by Limana Solaiman

The Lawachara National Park is located in Srimongol, Sylhet of Bangladesh. It is one of the natural forest left in Bangladesh. Whenever we think of taking a vacation we usually go to the seaside or mountain side, but visitng a forest area can be a new and refreshing experience. Now a days the forest area is under the Nishorgo Programme financed by the USAID and is declared as ‘Protected Area’, they provide tour of the forest. 

Photograph by Young Explorers' Society

Photograph by Young Explorers

I, along with 13 of my club members of Young Explorers’ Society was lucky enough to make this tour. I got to visit the forest once more on my University (Independent University,Bangladesh) field trip of the Environmental Communication course, where I had to prepare a report on the Khasi people of that region and I also visited the Khasi Punji located inside the Lawachara forest.

The Khasi are a matrilineal society and their lifeblood is the betel leaf cultivation. They are environment friendly individuals who take care of the forest and its plants, because Betel Leaf needs the support of other plant to grow since it falls under the category of climbers or creepers.

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Photograph by Young Explorers' Society

There are three hiking trails inside the Lawachara forest, one of 1/2 hour, 1 hour and 3 hours respectively. If you are lucky you will get to see the Hullok Gibon, a rare species of ape found inside the forest, different species of monkey, birds and deers such as the barking deer. The forest is rich with different types of plants, trees and various species of orchids. It is said that a scene of the movie “Aroung the World in Eighty Days was shot inside the rail track that passes through the forest. Since pictures says more than words I am including several of them for your convinience and siging out for now, Hasta la vista! 

 

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a-small-camp-of-young-explorers-society

Photo by Young Explorers' Society

Beloved Backpackers,

If you want to experience heaven on earth, then please get yourself a ticket to Teknaf(bus ticket ofcourse). It will cost you approxmately 550 TK on a non-ac bus to get to Teknaf. I was lucky enough to make the trip on 2006 with my fellow club members of Young Explorers’ Society.

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Once you get there go straight to the harbour where you can board the Qutubdia or Keari Sindbad (Ships) that will take you to Saint Martins and back only for Tk600. If you have an adventurous spirit then you can hire a fishing boat or trawler that will take 3 hours time to get to your destination, but believe me it is worth it. If you are lucky you can see a particular species of dolphin in that region.

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Photo by Young Explorers' Society

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Photo by Young Explorers' Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first view of Saint Martin’s Island will take your breath away, the sheer beauty of the water will awestruck any visitor on an island for the first time. The next step would be to have a refreshing drink of coconut water and then look for a place to stay. Now I am not a biased person but I just loved staying at SHIMANA PERIYE a resort right on the beach or Abakash, a room in these resorts will cost you approxmately 1000-2500 Tk.

Photo by Young Explorers' Society

Photo by Young ExplorersPhoto by Young ExplorersPhoto by Young Explorers

Photo by Young Explorers' Society

Photo by Young Explorers

Things to do:

1) Scuba Diving to experience the beauty underwater (Tk 4500-5000).

2) Take a walk to Chera Deep during low tide or take a boat during high tide.

3) Take a tour of the Island by yourself in the moonlight.

4) Wake up early to watch the sun rise.

5) Make a campfire and stay up all night and you can invent some more of your own…

That is all from this travel guide…until next it’s me Limana signing out, Hasta la vista!!!

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Tip of the week.

468043812_b1982864edHey there fellow backpackers, today I’m going to talk about the kind of food you should have with you on a mountaineering expedition or a trekking trip of 4 to 5 days, it is very essential that you have the right food with you on your pack or you just might go hungry. 

 

 

 

biscuits33The first tip is you should always carry dry food with you such as, nuts, protein bars, cereal bars, cup cakes, chocolates, candies, buscuits etc. If you are going to a tropical place it is very essential that you carry drinks with you that will provide hydration within minutes. Glucose and salaine are two of the most important drinks you should carry with you at all times on a trip.

 

 

 

champion_nutsIn a nut-shell you should carry food that provides instant energy and re-hydrates you with in minutes. That’s all from me for now…see ya later, Hasta la vista!!!

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Fellow Backpackers,

On this week’s travel guide I am going to tell you about a place situated near Narayanganj  called Roopganj. Roopganj is still undergoing urbanization. You can get into a bus from about anywhere and get dropped off at a place called Bholta bus stand, in front of Gousia Market. Once in front of the market you can hire a rickshaw on hourly basis that will cost you approximately 40 taka per hour. Ask anyone about the Jamdani Tati settlement and they will show you the direction.

The head tati showing visitors how to make a Jamdani sariTatis at workTatis at work

After you have watched the legendary Jamdani makers at work you can take a rickshaw ride to Russel park. It is a beautiful natural site with a manmade pond where you can go boating, a small zoo inside and monuments of different animals, along with swings and see-saw for children to enjoy. The environment is very calm as it is far away from the city crowd.

cycle outside russel parkRussel Park - Narayanganj

After a refreshing break, take a ride to the Mura Para College that use to be a Zamidar House(an old palace). It is one of the extinct Architectural site of our country, so if you are interested in archaelogy and old archiutecture you will surely enjoy your visit.

Limana.Mura Para College

If you are not satisfied with the serene beauty of Russel Park, you can take a bus ride and then a taxi ride to Oikkodan Natural park. That is all form me on this week’s travel guide but if you are into climbing trees then don’t forget to take a swing on the ancient banyan tree outside Mura Para College, unitl next time its me Limana signing out…Hasta la vista!

Ancient Banyan Tree

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Ok, so we reached Baharchora and crossed the mud filled ditch. It was the first stop on our way to Cox’s Bazar after a long day’s trek and stayed the night at the chairman’s place. They were very hospitable to us and treated us well. Let me describe Baharchora for a little bit. It was a very conservative area and women were not suppose to dress and talk like the way I and Raka did. So, half the village was gathered outside the chairman’s place to meet and greet us.
Later that night the chairman informed us that he had already sent a letter to the chairman of Monkhali about our upcoming visit and he will make further arrangements for our stay at the village. So, the next morning we woke up and it was raining yet again and we started to walk towards Monkhali, by now we were all dark brown in complexion and severely dehydrated, but that did not stop or tire us down. We reached Monkhali after 17km and approxmately 8 hours of trek. The chairman of Monkhali was unable to lodge us for the night so he opened up the beautiful Forest Rest-house for us to stay. It was a wonderful round building surrounded by windows and same as Baharchora there was no electricity there. We had a great time at the village of Monkhali.
Our next stop was Emordel where we stayed with the local head of the village called member. We discovered that the people of the area was very nice to any visitors and we were treated with great respect. Specially the women of the village were very interested with eveyrthing we told them. Then again the next morning we started towards Inani. We did not stay the night there but we did discover a Jhoubon(small forest) and explored the area. That night we stayed at the Jaliayapalong Union Complex at Shonarpara. Usually only the government employee and members were allowed to stay at the complex but eveyone made an exception for us because by the time we reached there we were quite renowned in the area. We were treated with great respect and everyone was freindly to us. They talked to us about their way of life and everyday activities, village politics etc.
At last the day after we reached our destination Cox’s Bazar. It was my first time there and I was awestruck and fell in love with the sea immediately. It was the greatest adventure and experience of my life and to this day I talk about it to everyone with undying enthusiasm. I suggest you all to try out the longest beach challenge, it will definitely broaden your horizon and also put a great impact on your personality and I must say I loved retelling my tale of travel for the 1000th time and I also know for a fact that I will never get tired of it.

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An Impulsive Holiday

A Glimpse of Kaptai

So it’s the third day of Eid-ul-Azha, the prime Muslim Festival and I was bored to my bones. My friend called me up and we decided to go for a movie. After watching the movie I decided I had to do something spontaneous to make my holiday exciting. In a jiffy I called Raka (you know my trekking mate) and asked her whether she can tag along with me to, she agreed right away and after just 45 minutes we were all ready with our backpacks and on our way to Chittagong hill tracks.

Our bus started half-hour late so we reached our destination late at night. The next day Raka, I and her cousin (who is a dentist) started for Rangamati, again a spontaneous decision on our part. We took the local bus in Rangamati and Chittagong route, it was quite an experience. The tickets were Tk-80 per head, so you can understand the condition of the bus, it was more of a “Murir Tin” than a bus, but boy did we enjoy our ride!

At Rangamati, we straight away went to the Parjatan tourist site, where there is a great hanging bridge. It’s more of a replica of the bridge at Bandarban Parjatan site.

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 We went for a small cruise on a row boat that was driven by a ten year old girl. There are lots of shops where you can buy traditional handlooms of Rangamati and also traditional jewellery. We didn’t have much time so had to return to the bus station. The funny part was the bus that we took was called “Birotihin”, that means it a direct bus, but it kept on stopping every 5 minutes and soon the bus was overloaded with people and their luggage one of which contained a large barrel of raw fish!!!

Well, what can I say? It was one of the many little adventures that I like to do when I am bored!! For now…Hasta la vista!!!

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P.S: keep and eye on my blog for details on Rangamati.

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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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