Difference between revisions of "Bandarban"

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A hike to either Keokaradong (883 m) or Tahjindong (1003 m), the two tallest peak is an exhilarating experience. On the side of both the peaks reside the remotest tribes-people of Bangladesh - the Khumi and the Kuki. One of the two highest lakes of Bangladesh, Boga Lake lie on the treks. Boga Lake is one of the beautiful place of bandarban, located at Ruma thana of Bandarban. The other highest lake, Raikhiang Lake does not lie on the trek.
A hike to either Keokaradong (883 m) or Tahjindong (1003 m), the two tallest peak is an exhilarating experience. On the side of both the peaks reside the remotest tribes-people of Bangladesh - the Khumi and the Kuki. Boga Lake, one of the two highest lakes in Bangladesh lie directly on the trek, while the other one, the Raikhiang Lake lies only a little off the way.

Revision as of 14:32, 24 September 2007

Landscape with River Sangu

Bandarban Hill District is the remotest and least populated district in Bangladesh. The lure of the tallest peaks of Bangladesh, treks through virgin forests and chance to meet more than 15 tribes of the region up close is growing both among Bangladeshis and tourists from other countries. Since the insurgency ceased in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (a cluster that includes all three hill districts of Bangladesh) it has opened up for tourists more than a decade back, though some of the western tourist guides may still describe the area as a major security risk.


Map of Bandarban

Bandarban has only one town that approaches anything near a city - the Bandraban town. The rest of the area is divided into 7 upazilas, which are in turn divided into varying numbers of unions. Each union is a cluster of paras and villages.

  • Bandarban Sadar: Bandarban Sadar, Rajvila, Kuhalong, Sualok, Tankabati
  • Thanchi: Thanchi, Bolipara, Remakree, Tindu
  • Lama: Lama, Aziznagar, Fashiakhali, Gozalia, Rupasipara, Soroi,
  • Nikhongchhari: Nikhongchhari, Baishari, Dochari, Ghumdhum
  • Alikadam: Alikadam, Choykhong,
  • Rowangchhari: Rowangchhari, Alekhong, Noapatang, Taracha
  • Ruma: Ruma. Galengga, Pyndu, Remakree Pranksha

Other destinations


Bandarban, a 4,479 km² wide area with a population of 292,900 (2003 est.) inside Bangladesh is bordered by Cox's Bazaar, Chittagong, Rangamati and Khagrachari. On the other side of the national border lies Myanmar provinces of Chin and Arakan. It is governed by a Hill Council under the Bangladesh government, headed by the King of Mong Circle. Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Chramma are major religions along with many pagan faiths. Major road routes are Chimbuk-Ruma, Bandarban-Rowangchhari-Ruma, Aziznagar-Gojalia-Lama, Khanhat-Dhopachhari-Bandarban, Bandarban-Chimbuk-Thanchi-Alikadam-Baishari-Dhundhum, and Chimbuk-Tangkabati-Baro Aoulia.


Bandarban landscape
River Sangu

The three highest peak of Bangladesh - Tahjindong (1280 meters, also known as bijoy), Mowdok Mual (1052 meters), and Keokradong (883 metres) - are located in Bandarban district, as well as Raikhiang Lake, the highest lake in Bangladesh. Chimbuk peak and Boga Lake are two more highly noted features of the district.

The district also features river Sangu (also known as Sangpo or Shankha), the only river born inside Bangladesh territory. The other rivers in the district are Matamuhuri and Bakkhali. Meranja, Wailatong, Tambang and Politai are the four hill ranges here. Parts of Kaptai Lake, the biggest lake in, Bangladesh fall under the area.



Flora and fauna



  • Raj Punnyah
  • Maghi Purnima
  • Sangrai


Bangla (official); Marma, Bawm and Mru (local)

Get in

There are three ways to get to Bandarban. The easiest is a direct bus ride from Dhaka which takes 6 hours. The two services available are Dolphin at Kalabagan and S Alam at Kamalapur. On the high tourist season it is advisable to buy tickets in advance.

There are a few services available that offer a bus ride from Chittagong which takes 2 hours (the most available is Purbani at Bahaddarhaat). To reach Chittagong from Dhaka there are three options - taking a flight (Bangladesh Biman or GMG airline), a bus ride (Sohag is undoubtedly the best service, available at Kalabagan and Mahakhali) or a train ride from Kamalapur (Turna Nishitha).

From Cox's Bazar, it is a 3-hour busride (the most available is Purbani at Laaldighi). To reach Cox's Bazaar from Dhaka it is possible take either a 10-hour bus ride (Sohag is the best) or a flight (Bangladesh Biman or GMG airlines). From Chittagong it is 4-hour bus ride (apart from Dolphin, Purbani is the most available).

It is possible to get to Bandarban directly from Rangamati by way of Chandraghona, but the perilous route is not advisable at all. It is also possible to get to Bandarban by river Sangu, which is even more unadvisable for everyone but the die hard adventurer.

Getting to Chittagong
Transport Departure Arrival Price
GMG Airlines Dhaka Chittagong $69.00
GMG Airlines Dhaka Coxesbazaar $89.00
Turna Nishitha (AC Sleeper) Dhaka Chittagong $8.80
Turna Nishitha (1st Class) Dhaka Chittagong $6.00
Turna Nishitha (2nd Class) Dhaka Chittagong $2.00
Shohag (AC Bus) Dhaka Chittagong $5.35
Hanif (Bus) Dhaka Chittagong $3.35
S Alam (Bus) Dhaka Chittagong $3.35

Check for Dhaka-Chittagong train travels here. Check for GNG flights here. The Press Club is the best places to get information, followed by the Tribal Cultural Institute. Check for Guide Tours Limited here.

By bus

Getting to Bandarban
Transport Departure Arrival Price
S Alam (Bus) Dhaka Bandarban $4.00
Dolphin (Bus) Dhaka Chittagong $3.35
Dolphin (Bus) Dhaka Bandarban $3.75
Purbani (Bus) Chittagong Bandarban $0.80
Pubali (Bus) Chittagong Bandarban $0.80
Pubali (Bus) Rangmati Bandarban $1.05

By car

By boat

Get around

Inside the town, which can be easily covered on feet, the most available mode of transport in the rickshaw. For places out of town there are three-wheeler taxis near the Traffic Mor, four-wheel drive vehicles for hire near Hotel Green Hill, and a rent-a-car station near Hotel Hill Bird. There also are the regular public transit system of ancient four-wheel-drive vehicles, known locally as Chander Gari (meaning the Moon Car) available Ruma and Rowangchhari Bus Stations, as well as near the Sonali Bank. It is also possible to travel by native boats by the river Sangu, from either the Bazaar Ghat or the Kyaw Ching Ghat.


File:Kyang Bandarban.jpg
The Buddha Dhatu Jadi
  • Buddha Dhatu Jadi. The largest Buddhist temple in Bangladesh, located in Balaghata, 4 km from the town, is one excellent place to visit. This Theravada Buddhist temple is made completely in the style of South-East Asia and houses the second largest statue of Buddha in Bangladesh.
  • Shoilo Propat, Meghla and Nilachal. The waterfall named Shoilo Propat at Milanchari, 4 km from the town on the road to Thanchi, is also excellent site maintained by Bangladesh Parjatan, the national tourism promotion corporation. The site maintained by the Distrcit Administraion is Meghla, 4 km from the town on the road to Keranihat, which features a mini-safari-park, a zoo, and a hanging bridge. The District Administration has also developed the Nilachal tourist site near Meghla, in Tigerpara
  • Raj Vihar and Ujanipara Vihar.The numerous Buddhist temples, known as kyang in local toungue, and vihars in the town include the highly notable the Rajvihar (royal Monastery) at Jadipara. The monastery at Ujanipara, known as Ujanipara Vihar, is also a major place of interest.
  • Chimbuk Hill and Tribal Villages. Chimbuk is one of the tallest peaks in Bangladesh and lies some 14 km from the town. Bawm villages around Chimbuk and Mru villages a little further off are also lie within a day's journey from the town.
  • Other Places. Prantik Lake, Jibannagar and Kyachlong Lake are some more places of interest.



Boga Lake in the day
Boga Lake in the evening
  • Cruise on River Sangu. One highly admired activity here is a boat trip in a Sampan or a regular boat down the River Sangu. The trip can vary from a 1-hour trip, including a stop-over to take tea, to a whole day cruise including stop-overs to have food.
  • Take a Guided Tour. The only available guided tour package, offered by Guide Tours, takes tourists through Buddha Dhatu Jadi, Meghla, Shoilo Propat, Raj Vihar and Ujanipara Vihar, two tribal villages, Chimbuk Hill and a couple of more sites.


A hike to either Keokaradong (883 m) or Tahjindong (1003 m), the two tallest peak is an exhilarating experience. On the side of both the peaks reside the remotest tribes-people of Bangladesh - the Khumi and the Kuki. Boga Lake, one of the two highest lakes in Bangladesh lie directly on the trek, while the other one, the Raikhiang Lake lies only a little off the way.


Tribal Handloom

There is an abundance of Brumese, Thai and Chinese trinkets, textile and other stuff in the town. But, the best buy is definitely the products of local handloom - cloth fabric, shawls, blankets and more - as well as products of bamboo, cane and wood - buskets, flutes, hats and more. Prices are amazingly low, and textile qualities are amazingly high. The designs are refreshingly exotic and extremely geometric. Only the textile from Myanmar (called Burma here) have floral or fire patterns, and are made by machine looms.


  • Master Shopping Complex and Burmese Market: Full of Thai, Chinese & Burmese products. This market is always busy with throngs of buyers, sellers and onlookers. Marma shopkeepers, mostly women, are easy to deal with with, and ma provide with information on the place and the people.
  • Bonolota Textile and Rangamati Textile: These shops at the Traffic Mor sells handloom products from Rangamati, another area of the Hill Tratcs, here. Since the Chakma people are very different from the Marma, Bawm and Mru people of Bandarban, the products may bring a fresh break.
  • The BSCIC Shop: Various handloom and cottage products. It is the sales center for the cottage industry development project of Bangladesh government.
  • Shoilo Propat: Shawls, blankets and buskets made by the Bawm people are sold by them by the side of the waterfall.
  • Farukpara: Flutes, hats, pitchers and other stuff made by the Bawm people are sold in little shop crammed full with exotic and wonderful products. Bargaining while sipping on a cup of tea is a wonderful activity here.
  • Marmabazaar: All the local food and textile products, as well as wet grocery vendors selling fresh hill produces. Look for nappi to take home here. This market bustles with activity in the earl morning, with tribes-people coming down the hills to sell vegetables of every color, as well as roots, tubers, fruits, berries and nuts.




This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $1
Mid-range $1-3
Splurge Over $3


There are good restaurants in Bandarban Bazaar where local cuisine can be sampled, which is mostly too hot for unaccustomed palates.


The best places to eat are Khaoa Daoa (a Muslim restaurant, meaning they serve beef) and Adarsha Bhaatghar (a Hindu restaurant, meaning they don't serve beef).


Chinese or Continental food, though available and expensive by local standards, is of poor quality here. Check with Ree Song Song in the twon or Holiday Inn at Megla.

Local delicacies

The local tribespeople consider almost everything that walks, flies or swims as food, so with a little luck it is possible to sample dog meat, and even dried snakes or deer meat (both are protected species in Bangladesh). Nappi, a semi-dried fish-paste with powerful flavor, is one of the top delicacies. Most of the hotels in Bandarban do not have any restaurant attached.

Self Catering


Though there are no designated bars or pubs, alcoholic drinks are widely available due to the culture of the tribes-people. A local rice wine called Arraa is a potent drink. It is often flavored with stone-apples, pineapples and elachi. It is best drunk with coconut juice. Ching Rey is a beer made from the first brew of Arraa. Tea is a fairly common drink in the daytime, and available at plentiful hot tea shops. Tea here is well-cooked and served with thin milk and salt instead of sugar.


This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under $2
Mid-range $2-5
Splurge Over $5


In Bandarban Town itself there are numerous inexpensive hotels, all of which are at Bandarban Bazaar, the market district of the town. The most prominent are:

  • Prue Abashik. Maintained by the Royal Family, preferred by the tribes-people. Near the pourosabha (Municipal Corporation). Phone: 257.
  • Jamal Boarding. The oldest hotel, preferred by mainstream Bengali Muslims. Phone: 431.
  • Bilkis Hotel. At the traffic mor junction, with a fine view of the river Sangu. No phone.
  • Hotel Nurani. Near the Runa Bus Station. Phone: 459.


  • Hotel Royal. Newly made, and the best in the category. Phone: 431.
  • Purabi Hotel. Recently updated and improved. Phone: 431.
  • Hotel Hill Bird. The oldest in the category, with a rent-a-car station at hand. Phone: 431.
  • Hotel Green. Maintained by the Press Club. Strategically located at town center, on top of the Press Club, and has a magnificent view of river Sangu. Phone: 374.
  • Hotel Authiti. Phone: 535.

With a little luck, it is also possible to stay at one of the numerous government rest houses, especially in dull seasons. The most notable is the District Circuit House, followed by Hill Top Rest House, maintained by the District Administration, and the Forest Department rest House. Department of Roads and Highways have two rest houses of fair standards - one near Chimbuk, the other near the circuit house. But, these can not be booked in advance, unless the traveler is on government business or a government guest or employee.


  • Hill Side Resort. The best place to stay in Bandarban is the Hill Side Resort at Milanchari on top of Shoilo Propat. Maintained by Guide Tours this resort has a majestic view of Sangu River and features a cottage layout.
  • Holiday Inn. Maintained by District Administration. Near Meghla. Not to be confused with the famous hotel chain.
  • Parjatan Motel. Maintained by Bangladesh Parjatan. Near Meghla.



Though Bandarban officially does not have a cell-phone network, it is possible to have some network coverage inside an approximately 5 m² area near the pond in Ujanipara. The Farukpara area near Chimbuk has even better cell-phone reception.

361 is the area code for Bandarban.

The telecom watchdog, Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC), has permitted Rankstel and QC Telecom to provide cellular services in Bandarban, which is about the equal to BTTB connections, and are far more available.

Stay safe

As malaria is a major health threat in the region, malaria prophylaxis is highly advisable.

Stay Healthy

Drinking water often comes from hillside streams. Therefore, insist upon water from tube wells, or carry your own supply of water bottles or water purification tablets.

Emergency Services

  • Bandaban District Hospital
  • Bandarban Police Station
  • Bandarban Cantonment
Travel Warning WARNING: All non-Bangladeshis are required to register with the local police in Bandarban. There is a risk of abduction by one or other of fighting splinters of former guerilla groups.


  • Laundry
  • Photo processing

Get out

Two other top tourist locaions in Bangladesh - Rangamati, wrapped in hills and a massive serene lake, and Coxesbazaar, proud of the longest beach in the world - lie within a few hours reach by car.

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