Bandarban is said to be the least populated of all of Bangladesh’s districts, but this only makes it doubly attractive for those tourists who are seeking the peace and allure of nature’s raw beauty during their stay. This place holds a great deal to draw in such people, from majestic waterfalls to huge temples and the highest peaks in the country.
It must be mentioned, first of all, that Bandarban has not had an easy history. It is only quite recently that it was opened for tourism again, due to the territorial and ethnic conflict that has afflicted it in the past. One may well argue that there are yet tensions remaining to this day-issues of ethnic friction have been known to persist for centuries, after all-especially because the royal families of the area (there are two) are still arguing over who has the proper claim to the throne, but travellers should rest assured that the Monkey Forest (a sobriquet for Bandarban, a translation of its name) is no longer a high-risk area. Of course, one should still check travel advisories before visiting anywhere, to be safe.
As mentioned earlier, a great many sights await you in the region, and most of them are of the type that nature-lovers shall enjoy. Most of the towns here are small, and the biggest town is barely even a city in the sense that most understand the word now. This lends to the rustic charm of the district.
Of man-made structures there is at least one that you should be certain to visit in the locality: the Jadi Temple, also called the Buddha Dhatu Jadi. This is the biggest Buddhist temple in the country, and is in Balaghata. Ujanipara and Jadipara also house some superb samples of old Buddhist architecture that may well be of interest.
The real charm of the region comes out once you start going through its natural offerings, though. The Sangu River runs through the district and is a vital source of water for the locals as well as a marvellous place from which to see the area (there are regular cruises offered for tourists here). Other water bodies, including the Boga Lake (one of the most attractive of all the lakes in the country) and Raikhiang Lake (the lake situated at the highest altitude in Bangladesh) are also worthwhile visits. There are also the picturesque falls of Nafa-khum and Shoilo Propat. And for those interested in trekking, climbing or hiking, there are the three highest peaks in the country here: Mowdok Mual, Tahjindong, and Keokradong.
It is clear that there is a great deal to see in Bandarban. If you do decide to visit it, Chittagong is a good jump-off point for your trip, since a bus trip from there shall take a mere couple of hours to arrive at the destination. However, the easiest way to get to the hill district for most travellers is to begin at Dhaka, since there are far more reliable fares going from the capital to this region.