Travel to Chittagong
Travel to Chittagong which means you travel to the second city and main port in Bangladesh. The difference between rich and poor always becomes more visible in the big cities. Chittagong is not different. As a main port, you will find modern life next to extreme poverty. Chittagong develops fast and continuously new buildings in hyper modern style appear on the skyline while the slums also continue to grow.
I felt embarrassed. Why was I here? I had seen poverty, plenty in India and Nepal but this seems worse. And at the same time, it is also a nice city to visit. The city is one of Bangladesh economical centers with a sea port.
There are beaches and good hotels available. As being a commercial center, Chittagong has good road and railway connections to other areas in the country. And nearby Chittagong is Rangamati, but this showed immediately the problem of visiting in the rainy season. It was hard to reach due to the flooding.
So, what to do in Chittagong? First I needed some food. There were plenty of small and cheap restaurants. Soon I found out the most interesting things to do in Chittagong, were actually outside the city except for a few cool buildings like the old British High Court. But I didn't visit Patenga beach and Rangamati. The weather was simply not encouraging to visit any beach and due to the heavy rain I felt not encouraged to go there and see just rain. Next time.
At first I was not particularly impressed by Chittagong except for the hotel, which was top notch for just US $10.
But once I was on the streets, I met some very nice people who were also very proud of their city. They showed me the old British High Court with some beautiful views, a leftover of the British Empire and now partly in use as a museum. It is of course a heritage building.
One thing about Chittagong I found particularly interesting, it has not only a seaport but that port dates back around 1200 years. Arab sailor had come here since the 9th century. Later the Moguls and the British used the port extensively.
Once I was little
adjusted to the city, I took a rickshaw to pedal me around. This was quite
an experience. At one point there were, it seemed, hundreds of rickshaws
coming from all sides, all waiting to get into a one lane street. It was
not only one lane, it was a street where only one rickshaw at the time could
pass. It would take a long time before my rickshaw could continue. So I got
out, paid and walked the last part back to my hotel.
Still much of the street life was calm and quiet. Nothing like I would later see in Dhaka, were traffic at some places was totally mad.
Where to stay?
There are some good hotels in Chittagong.
Getting there and away
There are two options: train and bus. Both are good though the bus is probably a bit faster. That said, I took both and I enjoyed the train rides too. The easiest way it simply to go to the bus station and pick up a ticket.
There are many buses a day to either Cox Bazar (I did that by train) or Dhaka (seems every 5 minutes a bus is leaving from here). The drive to Dhaka takes 3 to 4 hours.
Easiest and fastest way to go around is by rickshaw. Even if you bring your own bicycle, I would recommend the rickshaws. The are plenty of city buses.
Other places I visited in Bangladesh:
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The beach at Cox Bazar is its main attraction. It's the longest unbroken sandy beach on earth. It's also a nice little though sometimes busy and hectic town
Border town with Agartala in India's Tripura province. There's not a whole lot of activities but it's a cool place to hang out for a day or two.