World’s longest beach hidden in Bangladesh

June 10, 2007 | By | Reply More

World’s longest beach hidden in BangladeshCox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Walking on the world’s longest stretch of beach on a balmy Saturday morning, one would expect to find the shimmering sands filled with sunbathing tourists and the calm blue sea with swimmers. The best bar in town should be buzzing with the thirsty jostling for space on a Saturday evening at the peak of the tourist season.

But not in Bangladesh, one of the world’s largest Muslim nations, where traditional attitudes, ineffectual authorities and a powerful Islamic group have thrown a veil over what could be a tourism goldmine.

A few thousand local visitors flock the beach in Cox’s Bazar – by the Bay of Bengal on the country’s southern edge – but they all stand gingerly by the water, the women in saris and a few in burqas. While some men wade in the water with their jackets on, others sit on beach chairs under umbrellas, hesitant to even roll up their trousers and feel the surf.

There is not a soul in the bar in the only five-star hotel in town, where the bartender is listening to Bollywood love songs. “I’ve seen beaches in Brazil, Spain and Thailand but in terms of beauty, this is the best,” says Syed Ahmed Khair, a merchant navy officer from Dhaka visiting with his family.

“But Bangladesh is a conservative country, people are shy, you won’t find tSea Boat in Cox’s Bazarhem sunbathing here,” he says, watching his children play in the water. “You won’t find foreigners here for the same reason.”

Cox’s Bazar owes its origins to the subcontinent’ s British colonial rulers, who sent Capt. Hiram Cox to settle Buddhist immigrants from nearby Burma into the area in the late 1790s. The 120km unbroken stretch of beach here is the world’s longest, and a chain of hills that run parallel to the sea for almost the entire length, towering cliffs, colourful, ancient pagodas and Hindu temples, make it a natural attraction.

Waterfalls, a game park, coral islands and tribal villages nearby add to its charm in a country the world knows more for its poverty, floods, ferry disasters and political violence.

Bangladesh gained independence only 35 years ago, and its struggles with political instability, corruption, militant Islam, modernising its economy and feeding its poor millions have taken precedence over tourism.

The rise of a traditional Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami (Party of Islam), to share power in 2001 in a coalition government, in a country where 87 per cent of the 140 million population are Muslim, only hardened attitudes towards tourism, industry officials say.

And Cox’s Bazar is the perfect example of the combination of neglect and fear. “Islam says that all of Allah’s resources should be used for the benefit of the people,” said Mohammed Shah Jahan, Jamaat’s Cox’s Bazar district chief. “But our misgivings are that in the name of promoting tourism we should not end up encouraging any immoral or illegal activities,” he said. Sunbathing in skimpy costumes, gambling, drinking in the open are, according to Jahan, immoral, distasteful and against local culture.

“A couple can do anything if they are married,” he added. “But we wouldn’t allow unmarried pairs to come to the beach.” Although Jamaat does not patrol the beach enforcing the Islamist party’s moral code, local people say its mere influence was enough to ensure compliance at a time when fears of religious extremism have risen in Bangladesh.

Hardliners, however, are not Cox’s Bazar’s only problems. Hotel managers in a town with 4,600 mostly budget rooms complain of red tape and interference from local authorities who are suspicious of foreign tourists and want hotels to seek permission for cultural shows and parties. Besides, chronic power shortages, lack of good water supply and garbage disposal systems, English-speaking workers and the absence of a tourism promotion plan have hampered growth.

Yet, an estimated 100,000 local tourists visit the destination during weekends between December and February – the peak tourist season. And this has woken up district and tourism officials to the potential of Cox’s Bazar. Plans are being made to build an international cricket stadium, a golf course, an international airport and a Web site.
Sunset near Cox’s BazarSunset near Cox’s Bazar

Foreign investors would also be invited to develop exclusive tourism zones and resorts for international tourists – which Jamaat approves – said Mohammed Aminul Islam, the district administrator. But with no target date to implement the plans, Cox’s Bazar could remain an exotic destination waiting for the world to discover it.

News Source : Reuters
Photography: Md. Arafatul Islam

Category: South Asia

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  1. hi arafatul
    this is good experiences n good way to keep ur creation ,i liek it n respect it.

  2. voiceofsouth says:

    Thank You Reecha,

    We need your Contribution to this weblog. You can submit development related News from Nepal in this platform.

  3. Farid says:

    ছবি ভালই হয়েছে এখন

    চালিয়ে যাও

  4. Siraj says:

    Nice idea Arafat bhai,

    Keep up the good work. Read the article of Longest beach hidden in Bangladesh. Yes we should let the world know that we have the treasure, a huge natural beauty. I was expecting more Photo and more details about the beauty and the facilities of Cox’s Bazar

    Best of luck.

  5. Hi,

    Join us on the Bangladesh Social Network and help us make Bangladesh a truly global destination.

  6. Samiha Esha says:

    That’s really amazing place of Bangladesh. thanks for a nice post 🙂

    Samiha Esha 🙂

    • Kabir says:

      Hi Samiha Esha,
      It’s really nice to see that you people are sincerely trying to show our nation to the world. Please keep up the good work that can take our country as well as countrymen to a new horizon……
      Good luck Samiha Esha.

  7. Safaet says:

    Hi Arafat,
    It’s really nice to see that you people are sincerely trying to show our nation to the world. Please keep up the good work that can take our country as well as countrymen to a new horizon……
    Good luck Arafat.

  8. bjoernlasse says:

    Well, I congratulate the lucky one who takes advantages of this situation. Why not start off with an islamic ressort? There are many Muslims I think – who would apreciate an Islamic regulated ressort. Possible investors sit in Doha, Dubai, etc.

    – a luxury wellness hotel: with division between men and women, religious service, etc.
    – transportation by water plane from the Dhaka international Airport directly to the beach.
    – difficult will be the building – how is the ground? who high is the tide there?
    – difficult will be also the supply of fresh water, elictricity, etc. as you said.
    – goal must be to start with a luxury ressort to be able to deal with the high fix costs of this prototype project

    -> You need to find a good architect, interiour design, a Islamic advisor, a good hotel manager with experience, a wellness expert, etc.
    -> investor will be a possibly somebody from the Arabian Emirates who is willing to invest into future ressorts for Islamic tourism

    => As soon as the local people had a taste of success and the people outside heard of this one exceptional hotel financed by a “this rich guy from dubai” – the tourist industry will boom. I am sure.

    Create a nice business case send it to me. I will be in Doha and then in Bangladesh at the end of July. I can have a meeting with an investor and give you a personal advice and feedback in Bangladesh. How does this sound? Thats my offer!

  9. Tuhinul Islam says:

    Thank you very much for your writing. You tried to open a important issue but to me your information regarding muslim community is not right. You need to read more for deeper understanding of Bangladeshi culture and economy.We should not say anything that makes angry especially sensitive issues. Muslim people are not responsible for this backwardness. Political will is very important. Unfortunately after 36 years of our independence we did not get good, qualified and patriatic political leader. We got forester eater, hill eater and cime initiator. They do not have time to think for develop, they do not bother about ordinary people. They only think for themself.

    I like the idea given by someone why not start off with an islamic ressort? Is there any problem for that. I think we people are muslim by name not in action.How many people can read Quran. How many people follows the rules of Islam. So we should not generalise.
    Hope you have get enough. Before writing think about ethical issue, this will guide you to think properly.


  10. alex says:

    It’s the same old story with Bangladesh. Lack of real interest from the government, hiding behind a facade of religion. Tourist from other countries have to go trough all sorts of procedures before they can enter this country. There is a poster, ‘come to Bangladesh, before the tourist do’ . I think you still have years to go before tourists will come. And by that time everything that is worth visiting will be destroyed by lack of interest and guidance of the government. Wake up, before it is to late. Religion is not mend to keep people in poverty.

  11. Mamun says:

    A nice attempt..
    but the date just below the title dishearted me. Is it the date of last update? This site is not updated? There are many events which should be added and updated..
    I see the common problem-first starts with full tide; very soon it tides down..

  12. belkis says:

    I like the people of bangladesh, and their culture is great I have a great friend from bangladesh. bye

  13. rummon says:

    If anybody want to understand how beautiful can be the see, He should must visit cox’s bazar.

  14. md zahirul islam says:

    i love this beach

  15. Sumon Reza says:



  16. Regan says:

    Bangladesh my mother land
    I love this country.

  17. Akash says:

    Really nicest creation of God in the world.

  18. Md.Abul Bashar says:

    i am abul bashar i stay in italy. as long time i can,t shere 21 st feb. at our shied dibos . i am very proud i am bangladeshi.
    Allah Help us

  19. chiti says:

    it is so nice place in BD.

  20. yuvraj says:

    amar sobceye favourite place

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