This largely isolated beach at the southern tip of the delta was named by the original Mogh (Rakhine) Buddhist settlers whose ancestors remain here today. Kua means ‘well’, and kata means ‘dug’.
The river mouths east and west of the beach ensure the sea is rather murky. In any case, sharks drying on racks along the beach don’t augur well for swimming. But although Kuakata isn’t the archetypal turquoise-coloured tropical ocean, the vibe is right (it’s a lot more shanty than Cox’s Bazaar) and the long, palm-tree-lined beach is largely deserted.
The Gangamati Mangrove Forest is a 7km walk east along the beach. You can rent motorbikes (Tk 250 to Tk 300) to get here, but the walk is a lovely one.
You will probably need those motorbikes, though, to get to Misripara Village (about 9km northwest of Kuakata) where you’ll find a rustic temple housing a 21ft Buddha statue.
Back in Kuakata itself, the Rakhine Market, by the playing fields just off to the east of the main road, is worth a visit for its locally woven clothes and handicrafts.
A word of warning: some lone women travellers have complained about receiving excessive hassle from groups of men in Kuakata.