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Overview

Fought over for centuries by Mughals, Burmese invaders and British colonials, Chittagong is the gateway to Bangladesh's steamy south, where beaches and islands give way to rolling hills full of Buddhist tribes and jungles that spill across the border to Myanmar. Until 1945, this was something of a backwater, but independence from India cut the delta off from its main port at Kolkata, and Chittagong expanded to fill the gap. Today this is the busiest port in the country, and the frenetic docks and ship-breaking yards have become unlikely tourist attractions. Although most visitors quickly move on to the hills and beaches, Chittagong also has ...

Fought over for centuries by Mughals, Burmese invaders and British colonials, Chittagong is the gateway to Bangladesh's steamy south, where beaches and islands give way to rolling hills full of Buddhist tribes and jungles that spill across the border to Myanmar. Until 1945, this was something of a backwater, but independence from India cut the delta off from its main port at Kolkata, and Chittagong expanded to fill the gap. Today this is the busiest port in the country, and the frenetic docks and ship-breaking yards have become unlikely tourist attractions. Although most visitors quickly move on to the hills and beaches, Chittagong also has a scattering of historic mosques and museums. The local beaches are nothing compared to the sand around Cox's Bazaar, but Chittagong is a handy starting point for trips into the fascinating Chittagong Hill Tracts, where the villages of Bangladesh's Buddhist hill tribes spill across the islands of Kaptai lake.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to April, avoiding the rain-drenched monsoon and the cyclone season in May/June and October/November.