How to get inside the ship breaking yards in Chittagong?
Replies: 36 - Last Post: Mar 28, 2013 2:22 AM Last Post By: carolinenixon
Feb 1, 2013 8:19 PM
Feb 1, 2013 10:04 PM
16I just booked a trip to Dhaka in March for about 6 days. I just stumbled onto the ship yard thread - how far is the Ship Yard from Dhaka? That NG photo looks really cool! Looking forward to it. It's going to be my first time there. Thanks!
Feb 1, 2013 11:43 PM
Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh located almost in the middle of the country. The ship breaking yards are mostly located in Chittagong, which is the port city, down in the south of Bangladesh. The distance between Dhaka and Chittagong is hundreds of kilometers! You'll have to travel from Dhaka to Chittagong by air, train or by bus.
Alternatively, you can arrive at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong, tour the city, checkout the ship breaking yards, go to the beach (the longest sandy beach in the world), and then go to Dhaka if you have any business or work there.
Unless you speak Bengali fluently, you will most certainly need a friend, relative or guide who speaks Bengali fluently! Otherwise you'll be completely lost in Bangladesh. LOL
Hope this helps. Cheers!
Feb 2, 2013 12:30 AM
18I'd also like to mention an important point which most of you are missing.
In addition to the ship breaking yards, which turn old decommissioned ships into scrap metal and iron ore, there are also seperate ship BUILDING yards located mostly in Khulna, Chittagong and the southern parts of Bangladesh.
The following links might help:
Bangladesh Ship Building Yards
Western Marine Ship Building
Feb 2, 2013 11:13 AM
19#17, the 'longest beach in the world' is actually further down the coast in Cox's Bazaar, another 3-4 hours from Chittagong at least. And the longest beach in the world is actually in Australia. Chittagong does have a beach nearby, but its polluted, ugly and perhaps not entirely safe, i got a lot of hassle there. St Martin's island is the best bet for anything close to a nice beach in Bd.
I also digress, its not absolutely necessary to speak fluent Bengali, even in the cheapest hotels, in the buses, restaurants, shops, etc, there is usually someone that speaks very good, if not fluent english. Otherwise, you can get by. However, having a guide for certain things, especially the ship breaking yards but also like visiting that beach in Chit is useful to ease your interactions with the local people.
Feb 2, 2013 1:11 PM
20The long lens definitely changed the demeanor of the guards.
Regarding seeing shipbuilding as opposed to ship recycling, very different. There is a lot of shipbuilding going on domestically though the design is pretty ubiquitous and homogenous. Bangladesh is only just recently developing an export market and there are few yards that do this .
Do note, the ship breaking yards are not tourist attractions and you will not be as welcome as you are in the rest of the country. The people who depend on this industry are more than aware of the bad publicity it has garnered and the industry was shut down for more than 12 months due to international pressure. You will be viewed as an interloper. Non Asians are not seen as bringing good tidings to these areas.
Feb 4, 2013 12:08 AM
22Just had a thought...
I'm not a photographer, but I took heaps of photos in BD. it was incredible and so different from anywhere else that I've been.
The Chittagong harbour is awesome for photos. It would be worth spending a day there, and there is a great shipbuilding yard on the opposite side. The guys were really friendly and let me walk around. If you hired a boat for the day, you could get some amazing photos. There was a massive variety of ships, old and new, and I really enjoyed it.
I put a few photos up in the boats post here...
Feb 4, 2013 1:29 AM
I just read your blog and it is truly awesome! It has some good pictures too. Very informative and helpful for visiters to Bangladesh. You should write a trip report on this and post it on the Thorn Tree forum.
Although you say that you're not a photographer, I found your blog way better that Thornton's blog.
Keep up the good work. Cheers!
Feb 4, 2013 7:04 AM
I don't really think it's a competition but I appreciate the good feedback:)
I've just put up my 'welcome to Bangladesh' post, which is the introduction. I had a hell of a time getting it to align etc but it's ok now. I'm in Kolkata at the moment, and a little sick, so I have plenty of time to write, and will do some more post on various bangla things over the next few days.
I'm going to try and put the name and number of the guide I used again up in my next post and see if the forum lets me.
Another couple of hints for getting in...
I have a canon point and click camera, and then I just click autoenhance on my ipad. Haha! If you have a big camera maybe take the lense off and hide it down your shirt.
Don't dress too foreign. Wear long pants, maybe dress shoes, and a collared shirt. (Pretty good advice for Bangladesh in general actually). I had a hooded sweatshirt which helps.
Be polite. Try and look lost and naive If that makes sense too.
Feb 4, 2013 7:05 AM
Feb 4, 2013 7:06 AM
Feb 5, 2013 5:47 AM
27I arrived in Bangladesh Sunday and because of the Hartal today and road closures yesterday I havent even been able to reach old Dhaka! The police sent me back and was stuck in traffic for 2h trying to leave the heavily policed area in central Dhaka on Monday. Today Ive spent most of day in the Hotel.
I have to take the train to Kolkata tomorrow (Wed) or Friday (only days that runs). I was supposed to travel to Chittagong today but the trains were cancelled. I think I will have to cancel that leg of the trip. Even if I fly I think it will be too tight to get down to Chittagong fina a guide, organize a visit to the shipyards, go see it and fly back all within 36h. What do you think? Is it worth the trip?
Feb 5, 2013 7:44 AM
28You might be in with a shot if you took an overnight bus back to Dhaka on Thursday night? At least then you would have the whole day on Thursday. But I don't know the schedules and with the unpredictable transport situation it might be a bit of a gamble.
Feb 5, 2013 9:54 PM
Sorry to hear about your difficulty in Dhaka with the Hartels.
I caught the dhaka to Kolkata on the. 23rd January. It was great! Here's some info for you or anyone else that's interested...
As far as I can tell the departure tax is included in the price of the ticket, as on the ticket there's some sort 'of travel tax' or something.
Could be worth double checking, but they didn't ask me.
I overstayed 11 days and they didn't notice or charge me.
Wasn't asked for a change of route permit, and I didn't mention leaving by train when I got my VOA.
I got the cheap class, was only half full and the toilet was clean! Nice seats too
They let me hang out the door over the Bangabandhu bridge - some beautiful scenery. Took some good photos and enjoyed the serenity! The mustard flowers are in bloom at the moment too I think. Was absolutely gorgeous. I think if you're really smiley and polite to the guards they'll let you.
Train stops twice, first for Bangladesh immigration and then Indian.
You change change money from taka to rupees at the Indian immigration, pretty good rate from memory, and they changed it all, even my dirty 2 taka notes!
In summary it was a nice journey. I didn't pay my departure tax(maybe included in train ticket), didn't pay an overstay fine, didn't have a change of route permit, hung out the door of the train, and smuggled half a bottle of water into India!
Enjoy your trip :) I'm still in Kolkata if you want to grab a beer when you get here. Hotel pioneer gave me a room for 600 rupees the first night (I was tired and couldn't be bothered looking around), and then I moved to modern lodge which is way cheaper. They let people sleep on the couch sometimes if you can't find a room anywhere.
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