Chittagong City Guide
The second largest city in Bangladesh, Chittagong is the commercial capital of the nation, enjoying a natural harbor that makes it ideal as a port town. While the earliest remains show the original settlement that would become Chittagong which was founded as early as the 3rd BCE. By the 2nd century, it was an area renowned for its harbor and accessibility on the important trade routes.
The Islamic faith would become rooted in the region by the 8th century AD. While Chittagong, and Bangladesh as a whole, would experience colonial rule for much of its history, the faith of the local people remained intact.
Visitors to Chittagong should be prepared to dress conservatively, especially women and to adjust to a friendly amount of public attention. Foreign tourism is not a large industry in the region, and outsiders will see a certain number of curious stares. Staring is not considered rude, and no offense should be taken. Local women should not be expected to shake hands with foreign men, as it is against their local custom.
Tourists can arrive at Chittagong by air, rail, car, or boat, but not many do. If you are one of the poor unlucky suckers who do end up in this dog forsaken place, be prepared for crazy congested streets filled with rickshaws, scooters, limited cars, lots of people and endless buses. Getting around the city is best done by helicopter but most of us will be stuck using a rickshaw or taxi with hopefully a driver with good local knowledge. Some people, of course, love a little craziness in their lives.
Getting out to explore
Part of the charm, if it has any, is the natural beauty found all around the city. From sandy beaches to towering green mountains that circle the city from behind, Chittagong is a gateway to a natural paradise.
Cooler than many other Southwest Asian countries, the climate provides ideal weather for exploring the hills and forests which the region famous for. Take the trek up to Batali Hill and enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking views. Many visitors plan a visit around sunset.
If the beach is more your scene, head to the Patenga Sea Beach with its abundance of fine sand and gentle waves. Be prepared to wear conservative, non-revealing, swimwear, especially if you are female. Modesty and comfort are two keywords to enjoying the day and the company of the locals.
Another popular beach spot is Cox’s Bazar, which, at 120 kilometers long, is one of the longest sea beaches in the world. The warm waters are popular with beachgoers, and shoppers can enjoy buying handmade crafts from local families. Excellent seafood restaurants, impressive temples, and pagodas dotting the hills behind the golden sands all combine to make Cox’s Bazar the tourist capital of Bangladesh.
Experience the bazaars
Chittagong, like much of Bangladesh, still favors the old style of open-air markets and bazaars. Stroll along the Khatunganj, Asadganj, and Chatkai bazaars and imagine yourself along the Silk Road of history. Such bazaars supply much of the entire domestic commodity markets in the country, so you’ll be shopping just as the locals do. Be prepared for respectful negotiating, which is customary in the region.
Spend the day at Foy’s Lake and Amusement World
Foy’s Lake, surrounded by hills, is eight miles from the heart of the city. People flock to the lake to enjoy the natural beauty, dine at one of the restaurants or snack shops, and explore the vast park that encompasses the lake and amusement world.
The Amusement World at Foy’s Lake is sure to bring a happy smile to the young and the young at heart. Filled with rides, games, concerts on floating stages, and restaurants, there is something for everyone.
Stepping into history
Chittagong delivers numerous museums, monuments and cultural charms to enjoy. Among the more famous of the museums are the Ethnological Museum, the Court Building Museum, and the Shaheed Zia Museum
For a somber look back at history, make time to visit the War Cemetery, where soldiers from Allied Forces who fought along the Indo-Burmese front in WWII lay buried. If you want to take in a play, see if the Chittagong Performing Arts Academy has any shows scheduled during your visit.
What to eat
Prepare yourself for spicy food, as the locals like it hot! While it is recommended for the average tourist to eat in larger restaurants and at the hotels, adventurous diners will enjoy seeking out small cafes and booths at the bazaars.
Be prepared to drink only bottled water, as tap water may cause discomfort for travelers. Alcoholic beverages are available only at larger hotels and private clubs, and tourists are discouraged from drinking alcohol when out in public.
Where to stay
Places to stay range in price and quality throughout Chittagong; while many prefer to stay in resorts or rent luxury apartments, vacation apartment rentals can be quite reasonable. Whether you are coming for business or, let World Escape help you find the perfect place to launch your exploration of Chittagong and the surrounding region!