|A view of Cox's Bazar beach which is known as the world longest unbroken natural sandy beach, a top tourist destination of Bangladesh. Photo bdembassymexico.org|
Anideepa and Zafar Hussain Khatun are hand in hand walking along the beach. The couple just got married and are enjoying their honeymoon at their dream destination: Cox's Bazar, the longest beach on earth.
"We are both from Dhaka. We first met here and are now husband and wife five years later. We choose Cox's Bazar to spend our first days of marriage," said Anideepa (Khatun).
"In our mind, this is the nicest place in Bangladesh, an ideal one for people to enjoy the ultimate refuge from our busy lives and to find, maybe, true love. We plan to try to visit this place at least once a year to celebrate our first meeting and live in heaven for several days," she said.
Cox's Bazar lies on a coastal plain in the southeastern corner of Bangladesh. It is located 150km south of the industrial port of Chittagong. It takes nearly an hour flying or about four hours by bus travelling nearly 400km from the capital Dhaka.
Stretching a remarkable length of more than 120km, Cox's Bazar is the longest natural sea beach in the world and was nominated as one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” in 2008.
The name Cox’s Bazar was derived from its founder, Captain Hiram Cox, who founded the beach in 1798.
Most of Cox's Bazar is 200m wide at high tide, and 400m wide at low tide. This Bay of Bengal beach is a popular tourist spot attracting droves of locals and foreign tourists, even in off season.
|Anideepa and Zafar Hussain Khatun chose Cox's Bazar to enjoy their honeymoon. VNS Photo Thanh Hà|
"It has changed gradually in recent years. The beach was quite unknown to the international beach-loving crowd, but now it is a hot spot. Many people flock here in the peak season, leading to a change in facilities, amenities and services," said Khatun.
Hotels, lounges, clubs, cafes and beachside restaurants have mushroomed in every corner of the sandy town to facilitate the needs of visitors.
The growing reach of modernisation in this area has led to numerous activities to entertain tourists on the beach.
"The main beach becomes messy at that time but the nearby beaches in Kolatoli and Himchori still retain their pristine look with blue sky, blue seawater and gentle waves. I love to get up early in the morning and take a stroll along the beach. The spectacular sunrise will leave you speechless. It is a pity that this morning the sun is busy somewhere so we could not witness the beauty of the beach," said Anideepa (Khatun).
"However, I hope that at noon time, I will see the sun and witness the sea's changing hue at different parts of the day."
Watching his children jumping in the waves, Mohammad Shajahan said it was his family's last morning in Cox's Bazar. Although they would catch a bus home soon, they still wanted to spend some last minutes on the beach.
The family were full of activities in their three days in the town.
|Mohammad Shajahan's kids playing on Cox's Bazar beach. The family are regular tourists to the town on the southeast coast of Bangladesh. — VNS Photo Thanh Hà|
"On a lazy day, you can just lie on the benches available at the beach for a small fee. You can either bask in the sun or watch people walking and playing around, ideally with a smoothie by your side," said Shajahan. "Or you can choose a place in a cafe, listening to the music and tasting the local seafood and snacks.
"Otherwise, many speedboats are waiting for you to have a fun ride along the beach and to the nearby islands. Scuba diving, surfboards and volleyball courts are there too."
As a regular visitor to Cox's Bazar, he suggested a tour to ancient pagodas, Hindu temples and tribal villages for those who wanted to discover the local residents' spiritual and daily life activities. Meanwhile, waterfalls, a game park and coral islands would be good choices for adventurers.
After calling his kids back to the hotel, Shajahan said the only regret was that he was not in Cox's Bazar at the right time this year.
He said last year when he was here in December, a kite festival was organised. Many kinds of kites of different sizes and shapes turned the sky into a beautiful picture, making it a beach festival. Both adults and children loved it very much.
Considered among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world, every corner in Bangladesh seemed safe for anyone.
However, tourist police were available in the town, and a policeman was ready to escort visitors to the Burmese market, a shopper’s paradise.
He said everyone would fall in love with many things made and sold by indigenous people living there.
"Everything you need is there, from cosmetics, household items to home decor. Local handmade woven clothing is so colourful and beautiful that you cannot leave without buying several items," he said.
Asked about specialty food at Cox's Bazar, he said rupchanda fish without a second of thinking.
|Fried 'rupchanda' fish is a must-try dish for visitors at Cox's Bazar. The fish is well-loved because of its flavour and its single bone which makes it easy to eat. — VNS Photo Thanh Hà|
"Visit any of the restaurants or roadside shops and you can easily find a variety of fresh seafood dishes. But rupchanda fish is a must as it is collected from the Bay of Bengal. It has a really tasty and rich flavour," he said. "There are different dishes of this fish, dried or fresh, but try the fried one!" VNS