Bangladesh, the land that tourists forgot
Bordering India and Myanmar, there is a country where you can still enjoy beautiful nature and, in a way, an ancient way of life, without being surrounded with endless rivers of tourists. Bangladesh is the least touristy destination and people are friendly and often surprised to see foreigners, especially in visit the rural areas. Where the Himalayas stop, the north of Bangladesh begins. As the streams and river flow gently from the mountains into Bangladesh's Shari-Goyain River, the country starts to unfold its beauty with Lala Khal.
In Lala Khal, Sarighat is the place to buy as a local. From toothpaste and cigarettes to a bunch of fruit, watermelons being among the best, and everything inbetween. Going down to the river, you will find numerous nokas, small colorful boats, and their owners nokawallahs hoping that for a small price you will choose their boat to take you on one hour long private trip to enjoy the untouched part of Asia. The hour is yours, so you go whenever you want, you may go all the way to the country border.
As the monsoon season arrive, the river rises greatly and the clear line between the riverbank and the water is erased. The water is brown, a total opposite to summer months when it's crystal blue. While at water topics, did you know that Bangladesh has a 20 kilometers long coastline where ships come to die? Faujdarhat, 20 kilometers northwest of Chittagong, is home of 20 or something shipyards where thousands of workers cut old ships to pieces by hands, trying to sell part that could be sold.
But old ship coast is not the only long thing in Bagladesh: Cox's Bazar Beach is 150 kilometers long and it's the third longest natural beach in the world. Along the most visited destinations in Bangladesh, you will find different parts with different local names. Laboni Beach, Humchari Beach, and Inani Beach are the most popular and there you will find most accomodation to tourists. Something else is big in Bagladesh, Lakkatura.
Lakkatura spreads on 3,200 acres, all under tea plants. One of the largest tea gardens in the world was founded back in 1875 and gives 550 tons of tea a year. Lakkatura is full or roads, some used for tea production, some for regular travel because the area is too large to be left without them. A tea garden is logical to be found here because Bangladesh is almost entirely flat and half of its population are farmers. But the biggest industry is garment: nice colors, great craftsmanship and low prices, what else could you ask for?
One of the most densely populated countries in the world is extremely safe, there are no tourists for miles, and locals only want to know where you came from and they couldn't care less for your newest ultra-cool-extremely-expensive camera. The lack of tourists has its downsides. Transportation is not developed as you would expect and while you can find a taxi in capital city Dhaka, don't expect straight-to-the-target travel. They couldn't care less for navigation too. On the bright side, you will come to enjoy the slower, local way of doing things.
Next to Dhaka, Khulna city hosts one of the oldest river ports in the country and it's worth a look. It is also the place where local come to find a job, but also the home of Sundarbans, world's largest mangrove forests. This is home of the Royal Bengal Tigers. Rangpur city if for art lovers: There you will find Tajhan Rajbari Museum, one of the most famous museums in Bangladesh. Begum Rokeya Museum and Paharpur Buddhist Monastery and Kantanagar temple are places toured by many tourists. Well, "many" is a relative word here.
Bandarban is considered to be is one of the most beautiful places in the country, and as all roads lead to Rome, here all roads from all major cities lead to Bandarban. There you will find a calm lake and Shoilo Propat waterfall, and Buddha Dhatu Jadi, the second largest statue of Buddha in Bangladesh. Another place you must see, so the locals say, is Durgasagar. Near the port of Barisal, Durgasagar is a large pond, border with coconut trees all around it, and an island in the center of it. This is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful birds of Bangladesh and think how you'd like to stay here forever. ■