Chittagong, the second-largest city in Bangladesh, is a bustling port city known for its diverse culture, scenic surroundings, and vibrant atmosphere. For those considering things to do in Chittagong, exploring the Foy’s Lake, a man-made lake offering boat rides and picturesque views, and visiting the Patenga Beach, a popular spot for locals to unwind, are top activities.
The city’s bustling Khatunganj market, one of the largest wholesale markets in Bangladesh, offers a chaotic yet fascinating shopping experience, with vendors selling everything from textiles to spices. Nearby, the Chandanpura Mosque, known for its stunning architecture and vibrant colors, provides a spiritual retreat amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.
Beyond its urban attractions, Chittagong is also known for its proximity to the hill tracts, with the picturesque hill station of Bandarban offering opportunities for trekking and exploring the region’s natural beauty. For those seeking the best places to visit in Bangladesh, Chittagong’s blend of cultural diversity, scenic landscapes, and bustling markets makes it a compelling destination.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Chittagong, Bangladesh
1. Patenga Beach
Patenga Beach is located at the confluence of the Karnaphuli River and the Bay of Bengal, near Chittagong. It is known for its stunning sunsets and is a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax. The beach is lined with street food vendors offering local snacks.
Travel Tip: The beach can get crowded, especially in the evenings and on weekends, so for a quieter experience, try to visit on a weekday morning.
2. Foy’s Lake
Set amidst natural scenery, Foy’s Lake is an artificial lake created in the 1920s. It’s a serene spot that has been turned into an amusement park and is a great place for family entertainment.
Travel Tip: Consider purchasing a combo ticket that offers access to the amusement features as well as the lake activities.
3. Chattogram War Cemetery
This cemetery is a resting place for the soldiers who died during World War II in the eastern front. The site is beautifully maintained and provides a sense of peace and solemnity.
Travel Tip: Visitors should maintain decorum in respect for the fallen soldiers and the serene environment of the cemetery.
4. Boga Lake
Although a bit of a journey from Chittagong city, Boga Lake is a stunning crater lake located high in the Bandarban district. It is surrounded by lush greenery and mountains, offering breathtaking views.
Travel Tip: The trip involves hiking, so wear appropriate shoes and be prepared for a physical trek.
5. The Shrine of Bayazid Bostami
This shrine is dedicated to the Persian Sufi Bayazid Bostami, and the complex includes a mosque and a pond with sacred turtles. It is a site of pilgrimage as well as touristic interest.
Travel Tip: Dress conservatively when visiting, and if you wish to feed the turtles, buy food from nearby vendors that is safe for them.
6. Ethnological Museum of Chittagong
The Ethnological Museum in Chittagong is the only one of its kind in Bangladesh, offering insights into the various ethnic groups of the country. The exhibits include cultural artifacts, clothing, and tools.
Travel Tip: Allocate at least a couple of hours to fully appreciate the diverse cultural exhibits on display.
7. Karnaphuli River
The Karnaphuli River is the lifeblood of Chittagong and a central point for commerce and transport. Taking a boat ride on the river offers a unique view of the city and the bustling activity of the port.
Travel Tip: Ensure you agree on a price before setting off on a boat ride to avoid any misunderstanding later.
8. Zia Memorial Museum
Housed in the former Circuit House where President Ziaur Rahman was assassinated, this museum documents his life and the history of the region.
Travel Tip: It’s an important historical site for those interested in the political history of Bangladesh, so give yourself time to absorb the information.
9. Ship Breaking Yards
The ship breaking yards of Chittagong are a sight to behold, known for being one of the world’s largest ship-breaking industries. The vast stretch along the coast where massive old ships are dismantled is both impressive and thought-provoking, highlighting issues of labor and environment.
Travel Tip: This is not a typical tourist destination and requires permission to visit, so contact a local tour operator who can arrange a safe and legal visit.
10. Chandanpura Mosque
Chandanpura Mosque is noted for its striking architecture and vibrant color scheme. This historical mosque is one of Chittagong’s most famous landmarks and is especially picturesque at sunset.
Travel Tip: As with any place of worship, ensure you are dressed respectfully, and try to visit outside prayer times if you are a non-Muslim visitor.
11. Nandan Kanan Buddhist Temple
Situated in the heart of Chittagong, this Buddhist temple is known for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful statues. It is a testament to the religious diversity of the city and a peaceful retreat from the urban bustle.
Travel Tip: Visitors should remain quiet and respectful as this is a place of worship and meditation.
12. Cox’s Bazar
While not in Chittagong itself, no visit to the area would be complete without a trip to Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s longest natural sea beach. It’s about a three-hour drive from the city but well worth the journey for the breathtaking coastal scenery.
Travel Tip: Avoid the monsoon season if you’re looking for beach time, and be prepared for crowds during peak tourist seasons.
13. Mohamaya Lake
Approximately 2.5 hours’ drive from Chittagong, Mohamaya Lake is an emerging tourist destination known for its scenic beauty and the artificial lake that offers boating facilities.
Travel Tip: Visit early in the morning to enjoy the mist over the lake and less crowded boating experiences.
14. Butterfly Park Bangladesh
This park is the country’s first butterfly park and houses an eco-friendly environment for butterflies. It is a place to enjoy natural beauty and learn about butterfly conservation.
Travel Tip: This can be a great educational experience for children, so it’s perfect for families.
15. Sitakunda Eco Park and Botanical Garden
This eco-park and botanical garden are home to the Chandranath Hill and its Hindu temple, as well as the Suptadhara waterfall. It’s a place of natural beauty mixed with spiritual significance.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a bit of hiking if you plan to visit the temple or the waterfall.
FAQ About Things to Do in Chittagong, Bangladesh
What are the must-visit places in Chittagong?
Chittagong is known for its natural beauty and cultural sites. Must-visit places include Patenga Beach, the World War II cemetery, the Foy’s Lake amusement park, and the Batali Hill for panoramic city views.
Can I explore the Chattogram Hill Tracts?
Yes, but due to the sensitive nature of this region, foreign visitors require special permits to explore the Chattogram Hill Tracts. The area offers stunning landscapes and a glimpse into the lives of various indigenous communities.
Are there any historical landmarks to visit in Chittagong?
Absolutely! The city is home to the Court Building, the Commonwealth War Cemetery, and the Portuguese Anderkilla Church, all reflecting the rich history of Chittagong.
What wildlife experiences are available in Chittagong?
You can visit the Dulahazra Safari Park, which is a short drive from the city. It offers the chance to see Bengal tigers, crocodiles, and various species of birds and deer in a semi-wild environment.
Where can I find the best local cuisine in Chittagong?
Chittagong is famous for its spicy and flavorful seafood. You can find the best local cuisine in restaurants around the city, especially in the Kazir Dewri area known for traditional Chittagonian dishes.
Is there an opportunity to go boating or fishing in Chittagong?
Yes, you can enjoy boating and fishing at Kaptai Lake, which is within a couple of hours’ drive from Chittagong. It’s a popular spot for scenic boat rides and angling.
What shopping experiences does Chittagong offer?
Chittagong offers a vibrant shopping experience with markets like New Market and Chawkbazar, where you can find local handicrafts, textiles, and jewelry.
Are there any cultural or religious sites to visit in Chittagong?
Yes, the city hosts several cultural and religious sites such as the Chandanpura Mosque and the Hindu temples in the Pahartali area, showcasing the city’s religious diversity.