Srimangal & Around
Sylhet may be the primary city in the eponymous division, but sylvan Srimangal is the undoubted star of this region. Blessed with rolling hills carpeted with endless tea plantations, dense forest sanctuaries and a sprinkling of tribal villages, this place is bound to rank among your most treasured experiences in Bangladesh.
Sundarbans National Park
A shroud of mystery and danger looms over the Unesco-protected Sundarbans National Park, the largest mangrove forest in the world. Bleak and haunting at the same time, the wilderness here comprises an enormous network of interconnected waterways, stretching inland for about 80km from the Bay of Bengal.
Planning your Sundarbans adventure
The largest mangrove forest in the world is a mist-shrouded, river-riddled swamp region of shifting tides, man-eating tigers and off-the-beaten-track adventure...
A fantastic open-air museum of medieval architectural heritage, Unesco-protected Bagerhat sends a shiver of excitement down the spines of archaeology buffs. Hidden among the green folds of the surrounding countryside of this sleepy town are more ancient mosques and mausoleums than anywhere else in Bangladesh (except Dhaka).
Chittagong Hill Tracts
Decidedly untypical of Bangladesh, both in topography and culture, this largely Buddhist Adivasi (tribal) stronghold is the homeland of the Jumma people. It's a stunning region of hills, ravines and cliffs covered with dense jungles of bamboo, creepers and shrubs, and dotted with tall, slender waterfalls.
Cox's Bazar – named for an 18th-century British East India Company captain – is a place dear to most Bangladeshis' hearts. As everyone you meet will tell you, it's the longest continual natural beach on the planet (a whopping 125km), and the place where the country likes to come to relax.
Located at the southern tip of the Bangladesh delta, this largely isolated beach was named by the original Mogh (Rakhine) Buddhist settlers, whose ancestors remain here today. Kua means ‘well’, and kata means ‘dug’. Legend has it that the name originated from the early settlers' practice of digging wells in the area to harvest freshwater.
Seeking out Bangladesh's hidden gems
So you've done your tiger safari in the Sundarbans swamps, been on The Rocket for that quintessential Bangladesh boat trip and survived a white-knuckle rickshaw ride on the crazy streets of Old Dhaka...
One of only two historic sites in Bangladesh that have been given Unesco World Heritage status (the other being Bagerhat), the Somapuri Vihara at Paharpur was once the biggest Buddhist monastery south of the Himalaya. It dates from the 8th century AD and, despite being in complete ruin, is still the most impressive archaeological site in the country.