Chittagong, the second largest city of Bangladesh and a busy international seaport, is an ideal vacation spot. Its green hills and forests, its broad sandy beaches and its fine cool climate always attract the holiday-markers.
Described by the Chinese traveler poet, Huen Tsang (7th century A.D) as "a sleeping beauty emerging from mists and water" and given the title of "Porto Grande" by the 16th century Portuguese seafarers. Chittagong combines remains true to both the descriptions even today. It combines the busy hum of an active seaport with the shooting quiet of a charming hill town.
The Shahi Jama-e-Masjid and Qadam Mubarak Mosque are two of the most impressive buildings in the city. It's also worth visiting the Ethnological Museum in the Modern City which has interesting displays on Bangladesh's tribal peoples. There are good views and cooling breezes from Fairy Hill in the British City in the north-western sector of the city.
Chittagong is the country's chief port and is the main site for the establishment of heavy, medium and light industries. Bangladesh's only steel mill and oil refinery are also located in Chittagong.
Language : Bangla, English is spoken and understood.
Wearing Apparel : Tropical in summer and light woolen in winter.
Communication & Transport : Chittagong is connected by road and rail with rest of the country. Air link is available with Dhaka and Calcutta.
Car Rental : Rent-A-Car facilities are available for city sightseeing and trips to Rangamati, Cox's Bazar, Sitakunda and other touristically important places.
Hill Districts : The Hill Tracts is divided into three districts, namely Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
From Chittagong a 77 km. road amidst green fields and winding hills will take you to Rangamati, the headquarters of the Rangamati Hill District which is a wonderful repository of scenic splendours with flora and fauna of varied descriptions. It is also connected by water way from Kaptai.
N.B For visit of foreign tourists to the Hill Districts prior permission from the Government is required which can be arranged through Tour Operators & BPC.
The Hills : The Hill Tract is divided into four valleys surrounded by the Feni, Karnaphuli, Sangu (Sankhu) and Matamuhuri rivers and their tributaries. The ranges or hills of the Hill Tracts rise steeply thus looking far more impressive than what their height would imply and extend in long narrow ridges. The highest peaks on the northern side are Thangnang, Langliang and Khantiang while those on the southern side are Ramu, Taung, Keekradang, Tahjindong (4632 ft, highest in Bangladesh), Mowdok Mual, Rang Tlang and Mowdok Tlang.
The forests : The valleys of the Hill Tracts are covered with thick planted forests. The vegetation in semi-evergreen to tropical evergreen dominated by tall teak trees. The natural vegetation can be seen best in the Rain-khyong valleys of the Bandarban district. This district provides the country with valuable wood used for various purposes, besides supplying wood and bamboo for the Karnaphuli Paper Mills and the Rayon Mills situated at Chandraghona. Here a tourist may be lucky to see how huge logs of wood are being carried to the plain by the tamed elephants.
Climate : There are there main seasons, the dry season (November to March), which is relatively cool, sunny and dry, the premonsoon season (April and May), which is very hot and sunny with occasional shower, and the rainy season (June to October), which is warm, cloudy and wet.
Tribal life : The inhabitants of the Hill Tracts are mostly tribal. Life of the tribal people is extremely fascinating. Majority of them are Buddhists and the rest are Hindus, Christians and Animists. Despite the bondage of religion, elements of primitiveness is strongly displayed in their rites, rituals and everyday life. The tribal families are matriarchal. The women-folk are more hardworking than the males and they are the main productive force.
The tribal people are extremely self-reliant, they grow their own food, their girls weave their own clothes and generally speaking, they live a simple life. Each tribe has its own dialect, distinctive dress and rites and rituals. The common feature is their way of life which still speak of their main occupation. Some of them take pride in hunting with bows and arrows. Tribal women are very skilful in making beautiful handicrafts. Tribal people are generally peace loving, honest and hospitable. They usually greet a tourist with a smile.
Other Tourist Attractions :
Tomb of Sultan Bayazid Bostami : Situated on a hillock at Nasirabad, about 6 km. to the north-west of Chittagong town, this shrine attracts a large number of visitors and pilgrims. At its base is a large tank with several hundred tortoises. Tradition has it that these animals are the descendants of the evil spirits (genii) who were cast into this shape because they incurred the wrath of the great saint who visited the place about 1100 years age.
World War II Cemetery : In a well-preserved cemetery at a quiet and picturesque place within the city lie buried in eternal peace over 700 soldiers from British, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, East and West Africa, The Netherlands and Japan who laid down their lives on the Myanmar front during the World War II.
Shrine of Shah Amanat : The Shrine of Shah Amanat is another place of religious attraction, located in the heart of the town, the shrine is visited by hundreds of people everyday who pay homage to the memory of the saint.
Court Building Museum : Situated on the Fairy Hill, this building commands a panoramic bird's eye view of Chittagong. This had been the scene of intense activity during the independence War in 1971. A museum has been established here
Foy's Lake(Pahartali Lake) : Set amidst picturesque surroundings in the railway township of Pahartali 8 km. from Chittagong this is an ideal spot of outing and picnic thronged by thousands of visitors every week.
Mercantile Marine Academy at Juldia : The only training institute of its kind in Bangladesh, situated on the month of the river Karnaphuli.
Patenga and Fouzdarhat Sea Beaches : Patenga beach is about 22 km. from Chittagong and is approachable by a motorable road. On the way to the beach one passes the Patenga Airport. Another ideal picnic spot is the Fouzdarhat sea-beach about 16 km. from Chittagong.
Port Area : Located near the river mouth of the river Karnaphuli, the Chittagong port has a recorded history from 9th century. Today, this is the principal seaport of the country
Ethnological Museum : This museum located in Agrabad is a treasure-house of a variety of tribal culture and heritage of Bangladesh
Zia Museum : The government Circuit House where former president Ziaur Rahman was assasinated has been turned into a museum.
Sitakunda : About 37 km. from Chittagong lies an interesting place known as Sitakunda, served by a railway station of the same name. Famous among the many temples in this place are the Chandranath Temple and the Buddhist Temple has a footprint of Lord Buddha. These places particularly the hilltops are regarded as very sacred by the Buddhists and the Hindus. Siva-chaturdashi festival is held every year in February when thousands of pilgrims assemble for the celebrations which last about ten days. There is a salt water spring 5 km. to the north of Sitakunda, known as Labanakhya.
Chandraghona : Forty-eight kilometer from Chittagong, on the Kaptai Road is Chandraghona where one of the biggest paper mills in Asia is located. Close to the paper mill there is a rayon factory which produces synthetic fibers from bamboo.