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Bangladesh Heritage Area

Ahsan Manjil ***
Lalbag Fort***
National Museum ****
Bangabandhu Memorial
Mukti Juddha Museum
Science Museum
Shadhinota Stambha
National Poet's Graveyard
Suhrawardy Uddyan
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Banga-Bhaban
Parliament House
Curzon Hall
Arts & Crafts Institute
Old High Court
1857 Memorial
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Baldha Garden
Star Mosque
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Sonargaon
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Jamuna Bridge
Tungipara
The Shrine of Hazrat ShahJalal
Sri Chaitannya Dev Temple
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Banglaesh Hillside Area

Srimongol
Madhabkunda Waterfall
Lawacherra Rain Forest
BARD Lalmai & Moinamoti
Rangamati
Khagrachari
Bandarban
Fays Lake
 
Bangladesh Seaside Area
Kuakata
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Cox's Bazar
Himchori & Inani Beach
Moheshkhali Island
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Bangladesh Wild side Area
Tamabil
Sundarban
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Modhupur Picnic Spot
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Jaflong
 
 
 
 

Home >> Travel Bangladesh >> Bangladesh Heritage Area

Bandarban

It’s absolutely outrageous to say this, but be prepared to be followed by the police where ever you go while visiting one of Bangladesh’s most attractive destinations, second only to the Sundarbans.

It happened to a group of us last week (all foreign tourists). Before we even knew it, we were being followed by three uniformed police officers carrying aging rifles. They were not aggressive or overbearing, in fact they were usually quite kind and curious like all Bangladeshis are, and they were simply doing their job. Nonetheless, we didn’t formally request their presence, but we got it whether we wanted it or not. It did sour our experience of Bandarban—I felt bad mostly for my group.

The bottom line:

We do not want to scare anyone with this article, as Bandarban is one of Bangladesh’s must-see destinations. We simply want intrepid travellers to be prepared for what they will encounter.

What the casual visitor is not initially aware of is that Bandarban is deemed an “insecure area” by the Bangladeshi government. Insurgent rebel groups are said to be operating in the remote parts of the jungle, despite the fact there was a peace treaty signed 10 years ago. Click here to read more details about the treaty.

Meanwhile there was a kidnapping last year a remote area of the CHT, and that is supposedly why tourists must now suffer with what seems like insane security precautions while visiting this highly scenic and adventurous destination.

And that is why we’d like to provide you with some suggestions when dealing with the security forces.

DO:
* Be aware of your influence on the situation, both positive and negative. You attract more attention and profile when you stay at Guide Tours’ Hillside Resort than if you stay in town. Because of an armed robbery in 2004, extra police have been stationed around the resort, permanently. Although it is safe now, the added presence means that when you want to walk around the resort to the neighbouring villages you must be accompanied by police, depending on the conspicuousness of your group (i.e. all caucasian people, or based on gender). Sometimes the accompanying police are plain-clothed, other times they are uniformed.

DO:
* Try and request a plain-clothed officer when visiting local villages, in order to minimize your impact. When visiting Hatibandha, nearby the resort, only one officer came with us. Be aware that sometimes officers are plain-clothed, for that matter! (The important one with the power is usually carrying the two-way radio.

DO:
* Practise patience and tolerance with security forces as the guys on the ground are just trying to do their jobs. If/when you must have armed, uniformed officers with you, please be patient and be prepared to subsidize their transport on your tour arrangements.

DO:
* Guide Tours’ Hillside Resort staff can usually work out your arrangements for you. If armed police must accompany you to a local village (usually handled on a case-by-case basis), ask that they wait a ways back as you must visit the village chief’s home before hospitality will be extended to you by the villagers.

DO:
* Work within the constraints specified by police. This is for your benefit and for the other travellers who follow in your footsteps. By hindering security forces from doing their jobs, you could potentially ruin access for future travellers, and decrease the opportunities for increased exposure to the situation that hill people face.

DO:
* Help us create enough support for the idea of a locally-based “tourist police,” who are specially assigned to work with tourists and the local security forces, so that our visitors can have the best experience possible in Bandarban. Charge a nominal fee under some kind of organized structure.

 
 
   

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