Decision between Chittagong Hill Tracks (Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban) and Cox’s Bazar was a bit challenging! I explored Cox’s Bazar with Yann! A French couch surfer who become a good friend after staying few days at my place. He wanted to explore and trek which was uncertain. Though who doesn’t have any idea about Chittagong hill tracks, please note that the place requires special permission for the foreigners. You must have to apply for the permission to the home ministry (tourist) before 30 days of your desired date to visit!
Yann was not very much convinced about the explanation provided by the newspaper and wanted to try by himself! Honestly, I was not either! We both have decided to go to Chittagong by a Train. An AC chair coach (Sonar Bangla) that costs 2000 in total (1000 each). He went to the Kamlapur Railway Station and bought tickets from the spot, because online service is still not very active here. If you ever think about to buy ticket on the same date of your journey, won’t be possible. You might get standing Non-ac ticket that would be really hard to travel for 6 hours.
We started around 6 AM from home to the station since it was early morning and no traffic! We reached to the station and train was on time. Sonar Bangla has given really good service including free breakfast and bottle of water!! That’s amazing!
A good book and music! We reached by 1:30 PM to the Chittagong Railway station and took an auto towards the BoddarGhat which is the biggest bus stand for going to Bandarban. Yann looked very relived since we reached and it was just about o get into the right bus. Hotel booking was done by the booking.com and we were excited. Suddenly we found the bus and was about to go inside! Alas!! The driver saw Yann and refused to take both of us because he couldn’t show his permission card and you must remember that if you don’t have your permission card, nobody will let you inside the bus in anyway.
We asked the local people about the permission and they said, we have to go to the local police station or upazilla office to get the permission. So, we followed their instruction and went to both of the places but couldn’t manage the permission. The reason was very clear, that we need to get permission earlier. Our mission failed and Yann was upset!
Thank God! I have friends in Cox’s Bazar and I instantly communicated them to find us a solution. Again, the time was around 2:45PM and the last Bus to Cox’s Bazar was on 3:30 PM. Without thinking a bit, we rushed to the bus station and purchased a ticket that costs 400 each for an ac bus! Roads are crazy and we were tired!
We somehow managed to reach there by 8:0 PM and went to the hotel that we booked by booking.com. Unfortunately, the room was non-ac that not mentioned in the booking details. Weather was really bad and we preferred to move to another hotel. Another hotel was better but a bit expensive! Since we were supposed to split, we said yes to the room.