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Cox’s Bazar: 120 km of golden sandy beach in Bangladesh

Ask anyone, where the world’s longest and arguably most beautiful natural beach is located, odds are they’d choose from somewhere in the Caribbean, Brazilian, New Zealand, or Australian region. But, they’d be all wrong. The world’s longest uninterrupted natural sandy sea beach is in fact located in a relatively unknown fishing port named Cox’s Bazar in the southern tip of Bangladesh, a country in Southeast Asia. 

This little slice of paradise, designated as one of the seven new wonders of the world, consists of an unbroken 120 kilometers (93 miles) of the golden sandy sea beach. It is situated 150 kilometers south of Chittagong, the commercial capital of Bangladesh. If you travel by bus, it will take about 10 to 12 hours from Dhaka and 4-5 hours from Chittagong to reach there. The beach was named after Captain Hiram Cox, an officer who served in the British East India Company. It also goes by the name of Panowa or Palongkee locally, which means “yellow flower”.

The bright yellow color, like scarlet, is necessary to dominate the bride on the day of the engagement, it personifies innocence. Bright yellow is the shade of the god Vishnu, it protects from evil and attracts the spouse. Girls in some areas wear this shade for 7 days after giving birth, as it is revered as purifying.

Cox’s Bazar is the country’s most popular beach town and the main tourist attraction site of Bangladesh.  Every year, a significant number of tourists come here from all over the world. For first-timers, it is highly recommended that you have a local private tour guide with you. By spending a few extra bucks on local private tour guides, you can ensure that you’ll have a safe and informative tour. In Cox’s Bazar, you’ll find a number of affluent 5 and 3 stars hotels catering largely to the elite and overseas tourists. Our local private tour guides will make sure that you get the best possible accommodation without overstretching your budget. The monsoon season, which runs from May through September is the time when you want to avoid traveling to Bangladesh. November through March is the best time to travel to Bangladesh and explore the beach and surrounding area.

The awe-inspiring beauty of the beach is unparalleled in any other place in the country. Miles of golden sands, rare conch shells, surfing waves, towering cliffs, tribes, pleasant seafood, colorful pagodas, and Buddhist temples will blow your mind away. The beauty of the place cannot be described in words. The blue, mirror-like water will entice almost anyone to put on their bathing suit and indulge in a dip. During the day, the place looks like it has been kissed by the sun; all is very bright with clear blue skies – cheerful and fresh. In the water, you will find a plethora of creatures including jellyfish, starfish, various fish species, and two different types of sea turtles. 

The sunrise and sunset scenes of the beach are extra special. You’ll find the sky to be painted in an array of pinks, oranges, and yellows. It will fill your heart with a kind of feeling that you have never before experienced. You are bound to blink your eyes a few times to make sure that you are not dreaming.

Many institutions have been established here focusing on the tourism industry. Apart from many hotels built by private enterprises, and motels built by Bangladesh Tourism Center, there are several five-star quality hotels near the beach. Besides, there is an oyster market for tourists. Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, and China along the border. The Burmese market has been built up with spicy goods from other countries. It has the only fish aquarium in the country. There are also Parasailing, Water Biking, Beach Biking, Cox Carnival Circus Show, Dariya Nagar Ecopark, numerous architectures created by Cox's Bazar Development Authority, Future Park, Shishu Park, and numerous photoshoot spots. There are night beach concerts to enjoy here. The beach is also lit up with lighting to enjoy the sea at night.

4 sculptures (Sampan, Starfish, Rupchanda, and Oyster sculpture) have been installed at 4 important places in Cox's Bazar city. Cox's Bazar's thousand-year heritage is Laldighi, Goldighi, and Bazarghat ponds. This project is taken up to preserve the heritage of Cox's Bazar, enhance its beauty, and entertain the tourists and local public. The project has been implemented with landscaping, an amphitheater, a dancing water fountain, a library, etc. As a result, an entertainment environment has been created for tourists and local people.

Cox's Bazar is home to various tribes or ethnic groups which makes the city more diverse. The Rakhine community is the main among these tribes.  

The Rakhine community

Rakhine is the name of an ethnic group in Bangladesh and Myanmar. They are also understood as Arakani and Mugh. Rakhines are of Mongolian origin. They are the majority population in Myanmar's Rakhine State. At the end of the 18th century, they came to Bangladesh from the Arakan and Rakhine states and settled in the coastal neighborhoods of Patuakhali and Cox's Bazar. Nowadays, the Rakhine society lives mainly in Cox's Bazar, Barguna and Patuakhali districts. Apart from this, some scattered Rakhine settlements are also seen in Rangamati.

Here is how a Magh wedding happens: 

The marriage will be settled in the midpoint of the dark, and at the selected period, the girl and the boy will be decorated with attire and gemstones according to their norms. They will move out of the home and wait on a by-road (bīrah?). Then both will sit in a tent with all the visitors who arrived. Behind that, they will carry the husband and the bride into this group, and the bride on the left side and the groom will stand on the right side. Then, they will repeat a trance:

buthānun sarādi. thamā nun sarādi. sankhā nun sarādi. sappā sitā ru. wi tān soyndu az tavajjoh-e budh[.] az barakat-e tārā[.] az tawajjoh-i rāvali[.] tamām badi dur shavad[.] dur shavad[.]

“By the Buddha’s favor. By the blessing of Tārā (i.e Dharma). By the blessing of the monk(s). May all ills be released. May they be dismissed”

They get 2 jars loaded with rice or flowers from the dampness of the pond. They put both jars in front of the bride and the groom. In the channel of the jar, they will spray flower aroma. They would set little plantain trees (Kela) and some leaves of Jamun in facade of the pots. Then the spouse would grab the tip of the bride’s small finger with his left hand and recites this spell:

unak chati. ki chāʾin. chati kāraʾin. chati kāʾin kadaʾin. sin phāraʾin tā. chati kāʾin chi dā . ay di nā. hawā in tuti nā. jaʾi mankal aʾin. 

––The monk could not disclose the sense of this spell––

He would pitch it on the heads of the spouse and bride. After that, 2 people would carry the bride and groom to a corner and carry them into the home or the husband would carry the bride to the home. In the house, before they come, a plain would be outfitted and on it, 7 or 5 plates with different food would be organized, and they would eat baked plantain and cooked chicken. After that, the bride carries 7 handfuls of rice, or different meals from those dishes to the lips of the spouse and pitches them on an empty plate. The groom would then perform the same action. Then, they recite the spell:

buthā nun phāwi nān. thin mān nun phāwi nān. sankhā nun phāwi nān. sappā aʾin dari daʾi nān sayndu. az tawajjoh-e budh[.] az barakat-e tārā[.] az tawajjoh-i rāvali[.] hameh dar doʿāguʾi dur shavad[.]

"By Buddha’s favor. By the blessing of dharma. By the acceptance of the monk(s). In the recitation of prayers, all misfortunes should disappear."

After that, they clean their hands. The bride will join the place. The groom will join the crowd and seat. He will provide the visitors with food and they will observe a dance show. When it is time to rest, then newlyweds are offered a chamber where they will rest, because the exterior of an old home has no indication of renovation. On their mattress, they will find fragrant flowers. If they are both young and overwhelmed by bestiality, they will mingle and get intimate. In this way, they will sleep jointly for 6 days. On the 7th day, they will wash and start the householder routine. The origin of the word Rakhine is the Pali language. At first, it was called Rakshain which means conservative caste. The Rakhine nation appeared 3325 years before Christ. According to documented information, Rakhines arrived in the coastal districts of Cox's Bazar and Patuakhali in 1782. Basically, at that time the Burmese king 'Bodopaya' defeated the Arakan kingdom. Fearing his victory, a large number of Rakhine people ran into Bangladesh. On the eve of Megawati in Arakan, 160 Rakhine families from the district crossed the Bay of Bengal to the mystery in 50 boats wishing to escape. A few days later they found Kool at Rangabali Island in Patuakhali. They settled on this isle and started to cultivate the ground by sowing the seeds of rice and fruits brought with them. After a few years, they left Rangabali for Maudubi hoping for more crops. As the population increased, they spread to Barabaishdia, Chhotabaishdia, Kuakata, Tiakhali, and Baliatali, In various island areas including Baghi. They are gradually disappearing. It can be said that it is an extinct race from the described area of ​​Bangladesh. There are few families. Others are moving or have gone to present-day Myanmar.

Cox's Bazar city and nearby Ramu have Buddhist temples as sacred pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. The temple located in Cox's Bazar town has several rare Buddhist statues. These temples and statues are tourist attractions and are famous as the healthiest places in Bangladesh.

This is how some Rakhine people traditionally glorify 1st day of the Water Festival

The residents of the Rakhine neighborhood celebrated their “Jalkeli Utshab” (Water Festival) in the harbor city with much spirit on the occasion of “Chaitra Sankranti.” To observe the herald the coming of the Bangla New Year, popularly comprehended as “Sangrai”, the largest residents' celebration of “Rakhine,” the young girls and boys of the neighborhood sprayed moisture at each other at Naba Pandit Bihar at Katalganj in the city. Bangladesh Rakhain Students' Association, Chittagong organized the celebration at the shrine. The carnival began with the bathing of God Buddha and the warship of Buddha. Friends from Patuakhali, Maheshkhli, Ramu, Teknaf and Cox's Bazar can join each other. The locals organize the carnival as a part of their practice to get cleansing from sin and wrongdoings. Buddhist Welfare Association assisted to arrange the festival.

If you are visiting Cox’s Bazar for the first time, you must see the following places

Parts of the beach

Laboni Beach

Laboni beach is the main sea beach of Cox’s Bazar. It is situated in a central location and very close to town. The beach is always crowded with local and foreign tourists. Visitors can surf, sunbathe, swim, jog or cycle. Our local private tour guides can inform you about the numerous souvenir shops around the area. 

When we talk about the beach of Bangladesh, the first thing that comes to mind is Old Sea Beach which is also known as Laboni Point or Old Sea Beach. Only Bengalis rush to this sea beach of Cox's Bazar to see the sea. From different parts of the country, you can take a bus bound for Cox's Bazar and get off at Kolatoli Sea Beach Road, take a rickshaw or walk to this beach. Labani Beach is considered to be the main beach of Cox's Bazar due to its proximity to Cox's Bazar city. There are many small and big shops in the area adjacent to the beach, which attract tourists. Besides, there is an oyster market for tourists. These markets are built on the border route with spicy goods from countries like Myanmar, Thailand, China, etc.

Inani Beach

Bestowed with bountiful natural landscape beauty embraced by the world’s longest coastline, Inani beach is the most beautiful place in Cox’s Bazar. It is characterized by its golden sands. The incredible beauty of the beach will occupy a special place in your memory forever. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country. Tourists prefer this place because it is free from the crowd of people who are mostly seen strolling around Laboni beach.

Aggameda Khyang Monastery

It is a large Buddhist monastery and one of the primary tourist attractions of the area. It is admired by about 400,000 Buddhist people of Cox’s Bazar and the Chittagong hill tracts. The monastery accommodates a large number of small bronze Buddha Images, mostly of Burmese origin, and some old manuscripts. Watch out for local non-Buddhist people around the temple, who will follow you around in the name of giving a tour and then ask for money. Having a recognized local private tour guide around you should save you from this trouble. 

Kalatali Point during the day

Kalatali Beach is another tourist attraction in Cox's Bazar. It is located in Cox's Bazar. Different people of different ages come here to travel, bathe in the sea, and enjoy the natural beauty. Kalatali Beach has many other tourist facilities including various food restaurants. Walking on the beach, especially on a moonlit night is really exciting for people of all ages. All vehicles bound for Cox's Bazar enter the city through the Kalatali point of the city.

Cox's Bazar established the nation's first-ever atmosphere eating at the Sugandha Point sea beach.
With an aim to stimulate tourism in Bangladesh's south-eastern neighborhood of Cox's Bazar, a location with the most extended wild golden sands on the planet, Your Travel Limited constructed the flying restaurant "Fly Dining". The 20-seat accommodation Fly Dining restaurant suggests the chance to appreciate food 50 meters (150 feet) outside the bottom. The meals and assistance at the hanging restaurant will cost around 4,000-8,500 Bangladeshi Taka (40-80 euros) per person. Under the complex, foodies will reach to enjoy the adventure of unrestricted sky dining while appreciating the top scenery of the beach and its surroundings for 1-1,5 hours, including the time to board, climb, banquet and decline. Fly Dining discovered next to Sea Princess hotel at Sugandha point utilizes tail belts connected to the chair to provide security for the clients.  The deck is linked to the head of a certain crane, assembled with aluminum and steel, to raise the visitors into the air. Restaurant attendants will operate the requested food of choice on the flying deck. Famous chef Tony Khan is in control of the restaurant's food and administration.

Fragrant Point

Far from Kalatali Point lies Sugandha Point towards the north. The popular Burmese market is located here There were many seafood restaurants here in the past but the government later evicted them. Another attraction is the Hanging Restaurant at Sugandha Point. 

Daryanagar Beach

Daryanagar Beach is located near Himchari National Park. The waterway flows through Daryanagar beach. Daryanagar beach is popular for parasailing. 

The Moon Boat from Cox’s Bazar’s

In the confines of South Asia, at the frontier of Bangladesh with Burma, you can discover the Moon Boat on a beach, South of Cox’s Bazar. A true emblem of this region, it comes in a few types according to the “Wall” of waves it has to traverse every day. This boat, which attractiveness is reached only by its rarity, is one of the most unique and characteristic of the Bay of Bengal. Its shape can be described by the need for fishers to cross the sandy border discovered a few hundred meters from the coast. Due to the curvature of its keel line, these ships tend to hand the natural barrier, the same as dolphins leap in the Gange. In this wonderful panorama, and from its most uninterrupted beach, the anglers sail in "Moons", meeting the capability to provide food for their families. Unfortunately, for decades, the classic fleet of Bangladesh is slowly vanishing pushing into ignorance the fantastic practices of the country and time-honored know-how in shipbuilding.

Himachal

Himchari is another eye-catching place for tourists in Cox’s Bazar. Located about 32 kilometers south of the main beach, it is very popular among visitors and locals as a picnic and filming spot. The place is also renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and the famous “Broken Hills”. Our local private tour guides will take you to this amazing place, the road which has an open sea on one side and hills on the other.

Himchari tourist center is located just 12 km south of Cox's Bazar beach. This beach near the hill is called Himachali. The beach here is relatively secluded and cleaner than Cox's Bazar. Its beauty is not less in any part. The most important thing is that the way from Cox's Bazar to this beach is more beautiful and thrilling than Himchari. On one side is the sandy beach of the vast sea and on the other side is the sari of the green hills. Marine Drive with pitch pouring in between. Such a scene is probably not found anywhere else in the country. Someone came to Cox's Bazar but did not run along this route, his entire journey was soil. When you climb the mountain, you will see the vast sea lost in the blue horizon. The main attraction of Himchari is the Christmas tree here. Recently, several tourist centers and picnic spots have been developed in Himchari. 

Maintaining the richness of the classic fleet of Bangladesh was completed in January 2014

In January 2014, the Multinational group completed the conservation of the know-how, practices, and traditional methods of Cox's Bazar’s carpenters before this naval heritage completely vanished. The purpose was to create, record, and file in the library a Moon-Boat to let coming generations be capable to reconstruct it hereafter.

Thereby, during a month, five carpenters from Cox's Bazar arrived at the TaraTari shipyard to produce a Moon Boat. Each day Multinational group of volunteers carried notices, snapped, and documented the building. With the data gathered a technological paper clarifying the various stages of the building of the vessel was finished.

Teknaf beach

Teknaf beach is located in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar district This part is different from other parts of Cox's Bazar. Teknaf beach is located on the shores of Teknaf mangroves full of trees. This beach is divided into different sections. The significant parts are 

  • Shyampur Beach (Baharchara Beach)
  • Rocky beach
  • Hazampara Beach 

Teknaf Beach is a part of Cox's Bazar Beach, located in Teknaf Upazila of Cox's Bazar District. Teknaf Beach Teknaf Peninsula is surrounded by mangrove areas. This beach is divided into different sections. Notable parts are - Shyamalapur Beach (Baharchhara Beach), Shilakhali Beach, and Hazampara Beach.

Teknaf Beach is located in Teknaf Upazila of Cox's Bazar District, Teknaf city is located 86 km south of Cox's Bazar district headquarters. Teknaf beach is located at a distance of about 5 km from Teknaf town to the south. 

Brightly colored boats of fishermen can be seen on Teknaf beach. Close to this beach are dense forests and Tainga hills to the north. The water of this beach is cleaner and the beach has a secluded environment.

Bangabandhu Safari Park

The Bongobondhu Safari Park (named after the father of the nation) is one of the largest safari parks in the whole of South Asia. Situated in Dulahazra, Cox’s Bazar, it is the first safari park in Bangladesh. The forest is full of tropical evergreen trees, namely Boilam, Gurjan, Telstar, and Chapalish. The park has been declared an “Obhoyaronno”(protected area for animals), to protect the endangered species. Tourists can visit the place by bus, jeep, or on foot. For your convenience and safety, you are recommended to hire a local private tour guide.

After visiting the aforementioned, you should also visit the following places if time allows

  • Maheshkhali Island
  • Ramu
  • Sonadia Island

You’ll find a lot of small shops around the beach and hotel zone catering to Bangladeshi and foreign visitors. Things made of seashells will catch your eye for sure. Mouth-watering foods are available at a very decent price. The traditional Burmese dresses and fabrics attract a lot of tourists. The local shopkeepers tend to ask for a high price from foreign tourists. A local private tour guide will help you to get these items at the optimal cost. 

“Life isn't measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”Being at Cox’s Bazar will be one of those moments that will simply take your breath away. If you have never been there, then pencil in a visit to this place on your calendar ASAP, and don’t forget to hire a local private tour guide in the neighborhood.

 

Read our previous article Excursion program for tourists with children: tips for local private tour guides
Read our next article Tulum, an enigmatic place

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