Winter has already approached in Bangladesh spreading its shroud of fog. Apart from the chilled cold, the winter has turned up with its multifarious gifts for us. The tourism destinations of Bangladesh also take festive moods and invite the tourists to visit those. Whatever be the cold, the travellers move around with their families or dear and near ones.
The tourist season of Bangladesh starts from November that prevails till March. People travel through the country from one destination to another one. Foreign tourists also prefer this season to be able to visit all the attractions and enjoy the pure hospitality of Bangladesh.At present, Bangladesh possesses many attractive destinations that are twittered with tourists. In winter, there are many choices for travel around. Cox’s Bazar, the Sundarbans, St Martin’s, Kuakata and Sylhet are on top of the list. While going to St Martin’s island, you can stop over at Inani Beach and Teknaf for soothing your eyes. While visiting Inani, tourists can enjoy the vastness of the calm sea, millions of red ‘kakra’ and stones-lying along the beach.
Cox’s Bazar – the world’s longest sea beach, attract millions of domestic tourists of Bangladesh. Tourists can be amazed to see miles of sandy beach and towering cliff at the back. They can enjoy the sea fishes and play beach games, make sun-bath. There are also facilities to buy souvenirs for your near and dear ones from Jhinuk market situated close to the beach. Tourists’ facilities are being enhanced at Cox’s Bazar gradually both by the government and in private sector.
On the way back, one can make a stopover at Chattogram to see the Foy’s Lake, Patenga Beach, Parky Beach and Second World War cemetery. These attractions bear different values for tourists. Chattogram is the largest sea-port of Bangladesh. It is also called the commercial capital of the country. Therefore, tourists will find the city always busy.
You can go to Ctg Hill Districts (CHT) for 4-5 days. The CHT is a tranquil heaven for nature lovers. Green hills and sprawling valleys are often dotted with waterfalls and small lakes. First go to Rangamati – the lake city blushing with colourful exotic people that add to the romance of this paradise. Making a boat journey at Kaptai and visiting the Shuvolong and Kaptai come back to the town to buy traditional souvenirs. And then enjoy the traditional food and tribal dancing of Rangamati. You will find it a different world.
Afterwards, go for an adventurous journey to Bandarban. Make a trekking there and go to see the panoramic Baga Lake and then the highest peaks of Bangladesh – Tajing Dong and Keokradong. Visits to Bandarbans and Rangamati will be a life-time experience for tourists.
To enjoy another destination while going to the magnificent St Martin‘s Island, make a sojourn at Teknaf. You will be enthralled at the calm beauty of hill covered by lush green forest. On the other hand, the serene blue water of splendid Naf River will spellbind you definitely. While you ride by the side of the Naf River, its magic beauty will leave you soundless, but only ‘Wow.’ You can also enjoy the hills standing far bordering Myanmar. It seems they are inviting you.The Sundarbans is the most prime tourist spot of Bangladesh that lures tourists from far and wide over the years. You need to make time to visit the Sundarbans for 3 nights 4 days through a organised package tour. The bio-diversity of the Sundarbans is really awesome. If you are lucky enough you may hear the roar of the Royal Bengal Tiger. You will be able to have a glance of different kinds of animal like monkey, reptiles and deer and crocodiles who welcome you. You will find birds hovering above your head are singing in praising of your visit. You will be astonished seeing crocodiles basking at the bank idle.
If you want to visit more areas then your choices may be the north-East Bengal of Bangladesh. The Lawachhara forest, Tangua Haor, Hakaluki Haors of Sylhet are really spectacular tourist destinations of Bangladesh. The eye-catching beauty of Lawachhara forest abundant with many rare and medicinal plants is really wonderful. The chirping of millions of migratory birds at Tangua Haor will simply amuse you. The world class Monipuri dance, of course, you should not miss. This acclaimed dance will cast a magic spell on your mind.
In Sylhet, tourists can easily pass at least seven days, yet they can not cover all the destinations to see. The silent nature of Jaintia, Tamabil, tea-gardens of Srimongal of courses are worth visiting in this winter. The sprawling tea gardens offer a panoramic view. It is like a green carpet rolled out for miles and miles. For centuries, these tea gardens have been producing tea. The plucking of tea leaves by thousands of women in the waist-level thick tea bushes itself is a spectacular view.
Meanwhile, you can also make a short visit to Birishiri and Susang Durgapur. The green hill across the border of India, the Shomeswari River, China clay dune all will enthrall you. The tribal cultural museum will add extra value to your visit.
There are also many other tourist attractions that tourists can visit in the winter. Among which prominent are Paharpur – the single largest Buddhist monastery of the Southern Himalaya located in Naogaon district; Mahasthangarh – the 3rd century oldest archaeological site of Bangladesh located in Bogura district and also Kantaji Temple of Dinajpur district will be bonanza for your visit. To see the archaeological sites you can either start from Dinajpur or Bogura.
If you go first to Dinajpur then you can stay for two days at Dinajpur to see Kantaji Temple, Ram Sagar and Jamindar Bari et cetera. Then you visit Tajhat Palace of Rangpur. Later, come down to Paharpur from where you go to Jagaddal Vihara and Vimer Panty of Joypurhat district. Then move to Mahasthangarh early in the morning. There are many sites of Mahastahgarh scattered hither and thither. After seeing the main fort city of Mahasthangarh, Museum, Govinda Vita, Jiaot Kunda, you can move to Basu vihara. Come back in the afternoon to see the legendary Gokul Medh which is known as Behula Loksinderer Bashor Ghor. Seeing all the things stay at Bogura where you can enjoy the delicious curd and sweetmeat.
If you are passionate enough to see more areas then you can come to Rajshahi to see the Barendra Museum. Then come down to Bagerhat to see the 60-domed Mosque – a world heritage site.
Then come back to Dhaka for enjoying a river cruise down the Buriganga upto Chandpur. River-cruising is one of best tourism activities in Bangladesh during the winter. Tour operators organise river cruises frequently as per demands of both domestic and foreign tourists. During cruising, you will be mesmerized at the idyllic rural beauty of typical villages of Bangladesh standing both sides of the rivers.
Tourists can also see the country boats sailing along the rivers. Also tourists must be able to see fishermen catching Hilsa - the national fish of Bangladesh. The delicious Hilsa fish must be added at your lunch. The added attractions of the river-cruise are colourful fields of perpetual Bangladesh with different types of winter crops like yellow mustard, potatoes, radish, carrots, sunflowers, nuts and different kinds of vegetables. If you are lucky enough, you may have a glance of housewives carrying water from rivers. You will also see farmers working in croplands and singing songs.
While visiting different parts of Bangladesh in the winter, you can enjoy the typical food of each and every place. Date juice in Jashore and Khulna, oranges in Sylhet, varieties of fruits in Dinajpur et cetera will fulfill your satiety. The delicious foods of Bangladesh in winter like Pitha, Payesh and ‘Muri’et cetera are abundant in this season.
During the winter, wedding ceremonies are widely held in rural Bangladesh. The houses of both bridegrooms and brides are decorated and gates are erected with colourful papers. A colourful bridegroom and bride processions are seen with ‘palki’ (a carrier that takes bride by two men on their shoulder).
Winter is also the best time in Bangladesh to organise different fairs and festivals as well as staging of drama and jatra, et cetera. In this season, farmers of rural areas do not remain busy like other seasons. Therefore, to pass their leisure time they organise ‘jatra’ (traditional stage drama), folk songs and other festivities et cetera. Tourists can enjoy all these things if they visit Bangladesh in this season.
Bangladesh is lucky enough to have six seasons. Each season has its own colour and beauty that lure tourists from time immemorial. Winter and spring are the best tourist seasons of Bangladesh. So, foreign tourists can stay in Bangladesh for enjoying the winter and spring together with the enchanting beauty of Bangladesh.
There are over eight hundred spots of tourist interest in the country. They include nature-driven ones like sea beach, green valleys, forests, archaeological and historical sites, iconic religious places, cultural events and man-made wonders. Thus, Bangladesh is a unique tourist destination where one can find the scopes for all kinds of tourist interest.
Bangladesh is a land of many wonders. With a rich history, diversified culture and impeccable natural beauty, it deserves to be visited again and again. Along with the hospitality of the people, there are all necessary facilities available to make the travel across Bangladesh a memorable one. Bangladesh is always ready to welcome tourists in this land of virgin lush green and ancient civilization. Bangladesh is a suitable destination for visiting in all seasons, but winter is a season when a large number of tourists come to visit here.
If tourists visit Bangladesh, obviously they will feel here at home. They will be get the heartiest hospitality, visiting many tourist attractions and enjoying innumerable festivals of Bangladesh. Bangladesh can proudly claim that it is the land of pure hospitality, as even today the people here shed tears at the departure of their guests from their residences. Where will tourists find such care, a life-time experience of pure hospitality? It is only in Bangladesh. Visit Bangladesh and unfold the mystic beauty of the country.
—The author is Manager, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation.