A country that’s not on everyone’s travel bucket list, Bangladesh – located to the east of India on the Bay of Benga in South East Asia – is a vastly overlooked and overrated travel destination.
Like its neighbours Myanmar, India and has a rich and extraordinary history and culture, with plenty of ancient temples, archaeological sites, and pretty mosques to explore. Throw in some beaches unspoiled beaches, spectacular mangrove forests, stunning rivers, bustling cities, colourful markets, and interesting festivals, you have one unique country to explore. Here are my favourite most beautiful places to visit in Bangladesh…
1. Lawachara National Park
From the vibrant hues of exotic flowers to the mesmerizing call of the hoolock gibbon, Lawachara is a symphony of sights and sounds that truly nourishes the soul.
Set within the verdant folds of Bangladesh’s northeastern region, the dense canopy of trees provides a haven for birdwatchers, and the gently undulating terrain beckons hikers of all levels to embark on an unforgettable journey through nature.
A stroll through the park takes you past misty waterfalls, and the serene calm of the forest is sure to leave you feeling inspired and in awe. For an added thrill, you can embark on a guided trek up the steep hills to witness the jaw-dropping panoramic views from the park’s observation tower.
2. Chattogram Beach
If you’re heading to Bangladesh’s south-eastern coast, this serene paradise will captivate you with its powdery sands, turquoise waters, and breathtaking views of the Bay of Bengal. Fringed by rustling palms and drenched in the tranquil sound of the waves, Chattogram is an idyllic oasis for beachgoers.
Holidaymakers can indulge in an abundance of activities, from kayaking to jet skiing, while those seeking respite can simply recline on a cosy lounger and bask in the sun. As the sun descends beyond the horizon, the sky erupts into a kaleidoscope of fiery hues, a sight that lingers in visitors’ memories long after they depart.
3. Jamboree Park
Nestled in the bustling Agrabad area of Chittagong, Jamboree Park is an urban oasis that astounds with its sublime beauty and tranquil allure.
Graced by lush landscapes, a shimmering lake, and pristine gardens, the park is a true sanctuary of peace and relaxation for visitors. It is also home to an impressive array of flora and fauna, including rare species such as the Oriental Honey Buzzard and the Grey-headed Fish Eagle.
A haven of biodiversity and wonder, Jamboree Park is the perfect pit stop whether you’re seeking a moment of reconnection with nature, or a quiet spot to meditate or read.
4. Himchari Fountain and Hill
The cascading Himchari fountain is a symphony of sound and motion that leaves visitors spellbound. Nestled on the southeastern coast, this captivating natural wonder is enveloped in a luxuriant canopy of trees that houses a myriad of exotic bird species.
From the top of the hill, you can revel in awe-inspiring views of the Bay of Bengal, where the crystal-clear waters glisten under the golden ray of the sun. If you’re looking to add more adventure to your visit, the nearby coral reef is a thriving ecosystem of marine life and is a stunning spot for snorkeling and diving.
5. Adinath Temple
Adinath Temple stands as a symbol of Bangladesh’s enduring legacy and is a living testament to its rich cultural heritage. Located in the heart of Maheshkhali Island, it was constructed in the 9th century and is adorned with intricate stone carvings and designs that showcase the finest examples of Hindu and Buddhist artistry.
Adinath is famed for an annual fair held at the foot of the Mainak Hill in the period of the fading moon, which draws thousands of pilgrims from across the country to the temple. For the rest of the year, the temple’s serene ambiance makes it a perfect spot for meditation and reflection.
Also known as Lalbagh Fort, here we have a fascinating architectural masterpiece situated by the Buriganga River in Dhaka, which captures the imagination of all who visit.
Built during the 17th century, the fort boasts a multitude of intricately carved domes and pillars, ornate gates, and grand structures that reflect the peerless craftsmanship of the Mughal Empire.
From the labyrinthine chambers and courtyards that reflect the fort’s rich cultural and historical heritage to the verdant gardens that surround it, visitors to this momentous site are transported to a bygone era, where art, beauty, and heritage reign supreme.
6. Madhutila Eco-Park
Nestled in the verdant hills of Bangladesh’s Sherpur district, the Madhutila Eco-Park offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It is a haven for nature enthusiasts, who flock here to stroll along the paths that wind through the luxuriant forest, listen to the soothing melodies of birds, and revel in the scenic beauty of the rolling hills. Standing as the park’s centrepiece, a towering waterfall cascades down a cliffside and is a mesmerizing display of natural wonder.
In addition to soaking up the beauty and bounty of nature, visitors can engage in various outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing in the park’s tranquil pond.
Nijhum Dwip National Park
The Nijhum Dwip National Park promises to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of the untouched wilderness. Situated in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Bangladesh, this breathtaking natural wonderland draws in visitors with its pristine landscapes, exotic wildlife, and unspoiled beaches.
The dense mangrove forests, sprawling grasslands, and tranquil lagoons here provide the perfect habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the rare Irrawaddy dolphin and the masked finfoot.
The park offers a plethora of activities, including birdwatching and trekking, while the shimmering beaches beckon sun-seekers to unwind in the lap of nature.
7. 100 Feet Lying Statue of Gautama Buddha
A remarkable sight to behold, the Lying Statue nestles in the scenic town of Cox’s Bazar, and depicts the Buddha in a peaceful, reclining pose.
The statue was crafted with exquisite attention to detail, and its ornate embellishments reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region. Surrounding it are lush green gardens inducing a state of relaxation, which visitors can explore whilst learning about Buddhist culture and teachings.
If you’re in search of a spiritual experience, you can take part in meditation and prayer sessions, otherwise, you can simply kick back and embrace a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
8. Sonadia Island
Sonadia Island, a hidden gem nestled off the coast of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, beckons visitors with its pristine natural splendour and fascinating wildlife.
This idyllic island boasts vast expanses of powder-white sandy beaches, translucent turquoise waters, and an abundance of marine life, making it an ideal destination for those who love to explore the mysteries of the deep sea.
The island’s lush mangrove forests, exotic bird species, and rare sightings of endangered sea turtles nesting on its beaches offer a paradisiacal escape into the wild beauty of the Bay of Bengal. It’s a must-visit for those seeking an unforgettable adventure in Bangladesh.
9. Cox’s Bazar Beach
Cox’s Bazar Beach is a stunning 120 km stretch of golden sand that hugs the Bay of Bengal. Famed as the world’s longest uninterrupted natural sea beach, it enchants visitors with its serene beauty, vibrant cultural heritage, and surrounding lush green hills that provide a striking contrast to the ocean azure.
This jaw-dropping paradise is the ultimate spot to relax, indulge in delicious seafood at local restaurants, and capture once-in-a-lifetime sunsets.
Nearby fishing villages, Buddhist temples, and ancient ruins bear witness to the rich history of the region, and adventure seekers can take part in activities like parasailing, surfing, and jet skiing.
10. Himchari National Park
Nestled in the southeastern region of Bangladesh, Himchari National Park is a mesmerizing natural utopia characterized by dense tropical forests, majestic waterfalls, and rugged cliffs.
The park’s breathtaking landscape offers a rare opportunity to witness the vibrant interplay between lush greenery and the azure sea. Beyond its picturesque beauty, the park is home to a diverse range of exotic fauna, including rare species of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as an array of vibrant birdlife.
Adventure-seekers can explore the park’s hiking trails that lead to stunning vistas of the Bay of Bengal and the surrounding countryside, while refreshing dips in the park’s natural pools and streams provide a refreshing respite from the heat.
11. Satchari National Park
Nestled in the verdant hills of Bangladesh’s north-eastern region, Satchari National Park is a true treasure trove of biodiversity and natural beauty.
The park’s lush evergreen forests are home to a plethora of rare and exotic species, including the elusive clouded leopard, majestic Indian python, and the endangered hoolock gibbon. The park’s name itself, Satchari, meaning ‘Seven streams,’ evokes images of the meandering creeks that snake their way through the dense foliage, nourishing the ecosystem.
Hiking along the park’s extensive network of trails and immersing oneself in the serene natural surroundings is an experience not to be missed, while nearby villages offer an opportunity to discover the local way of life.
12. Ahsan Manzil
Also known as the Pink Palace, Ahsan Manzil nestles in the heart of Old Dhaka, and stands out amidst the chaotic riverfront. Built in the 19th century, it once served as the residence of the Nawab of Dhaka, and is a blend of ostentatious Western architecture with Mughal design.
Today, the palace is a museum and a reminder of Bangladesh’s colonial past. The building’s large dome, wide staircase, and pink colour make it a truly unique sight and offer visitors a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Bengali aristocracy. Furthermore, the palace’s porticoes offer expansive views of the Buriganga River.
13. Bhawal National Park
Set in the heart of the Dhaka Division of Bangladesh, this natural wonderland sprawls out across a vast area of lush greenery. The stunning setting of rolling hills and verdant forests is a habitat for various endangered species, including the Indian rhinoceros, Asian elephant, and hoolock gibbon.
Guests are invited to amble along the park’s many walking trails, lose themselves in the tranquil murmur of cascading waterfalls, and indulge in unforgettable picnics amidst the unspoiled grandeur of nature. A trip to Bhawal National Park is an experience that will live on in the hearts and minds of all who visit Bangladesh.
Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.