Bangladesh’s lesser-known charms
To get here, take a Teknaf-bound bus from Cox’s Bazar. Get off when you see the sign with an elephant on it, about 10km before Teknaf. If you go too far, you can catch a shared auto-rickshaw back to the reserve from the bus stand in Teknaf.
Floating rice market
Like other, more famous floating markets in southeast Asia, locals come to Banaripara to buy and sell groceries without ever having to step off their boats. This particular market in this river-crossed part of Bangladesh deals almost entirely in rice, which makes a fascinating and unusual foray while travelling through southern Bangladesh. Saturday is the busiest market day here. Banaripara can be reached by bus from Barisal.
Taking a boat trip is a highlight of any visit to Bangladesh, but the splendid stretch of the Sangu River that runs between Ruma Bazaar and Bandarban is particularly special. This is the Chittagong Hill Tracts, where, instead of flat-as-a-pancake paddy fields, you will find dramatic rock faces rising up from the water’s edge, backed by forested hills teeming with wildlife.
To get here, take a bus from Bandarban to Ruma Bazar, then find a local boathand to take you back to Bandarban by river (six hours from Ruma). Your chances of getting a boat will increase if you have a local guide with you.