Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bengali Tourism

Someone asked me the other day about tourism in Bangladesh. There are some fantastic sights to be seen, but the tourist infrastructure is pretty weak. There are some good tour guide services opening up, and the new Bradt Travel Guide, which was written by a couple of people I met while I was there, is going to be released next month. It will be good for potential tourists to have a great guide book at their disposal, rather than the outdated and underweight Lonely Planet that we had to manage with.

On top of this, Cox's Bazar is getting a new eco lodge. The Mermaid Eco Resort is opening up soon, and will have a number of small bungalows. Part of the Mermaid family which includes a couple of fantastic restaurants on the beach, this will make a nice getaway for those making the trip down to Cox's. Seriously, the Mermaid Cafe was one of the places to feel like we'd escaped Bangladesh, it had more of a Cambodian beach vibe about it.

There's also a great lodge operated by The Guide Tours in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region which was extremely relaxing and quiet (a rare treat in Bangladesh).

They also do wonderful boat tours of the Sundarbans magrove forest.

In a nutshell, if you're considering an off the beaten track holiday, Bangladesh will definitely fulfill your desire to be somewhere cheap, where the people are friendly, the gutters are smelly and the scenery beautiful (once you get out of the cities). Just pick up a copy of the Bradt guide and learn how to say "bideshi bhara bolben na, deshi bhara bolun" (don't tell me the foreigner fare, tell me the local fare) to all the rickshaw and CNGs wallas that will attempt to rip you off (not that you can blame them for trying!).

1 comment:

  1. Cox's bazzar - is that like the "worlds longest sea beach"? hmm not sure where i have heard that before - ha ha love vards