Recently domestic tourism has flourished manifold in Bangladesh. But fifty years back there were few touristic destinations where people could travel and get amused in Bangladesh. A better and well off people only visit those places. That time no stable middle-class community was grown in Bangladesh. People only go to Cox’s Bazar, Sundarban & Sylhet area. But with the passage of time new spots are created and discovered for tourism. And those spots have the capacity to attract people across the Bangladesh. Now we can name many places located in Bangladesh and those areas are beautiful and attractive tourism spots. Among these places Sajek Valley is now considered one of the beautiful tourism destinations in Bangladesh. It is true that Sajek is not that much familiar and known to the people of Bangladesh a couple of years back. But recently the beauty of Sajek is uncovered and unveiled and hundreds of people everyday visit Sajek and take night-stay there. People can enjoy there the natural beauty of hills, forest, sun rising, tribal lifestyle and tribal food also. There are unique combinations of hills, valley, forest, springs and tribal culture. And anybody can enjoy it in Sajek area Sajek is located in Rangamati Hill District but the land route to go to Sajek is from Khagrachari. On the way to Sajek from Khagrachari one can see the terrains of hills and tribal villages located in the roadside and the tourists have to cross Dighenala, Baghaihat, Kachalong, Baghaichari, and Machalong. Even after the zero point of Sajek one has to cross Ruiluipara to go to Konglak peak. Climbing Konglak peak is another attraction of Sajek tour.
There are hundreds of functional resorts, rest houses/guesthouses in Sajek and some resorts are under construction. Mainly Lusai tribe people reside in Sajek area. They are running many shops, restaurants, tea-stalls and coffee shops. In those shops one can find many items which come informally from the neighboring Indian State of Mizoram. It is understood that the tribal people have some sort of informal connectivity with Mizoram. Everybody knows this situation. It is also known that many students of Lusai community take education in the Mizoram State of India. For that reason English is widely spoken by the shopkeepers at Sajek as the English is the medium of education in Mizoram.
There are many heights & slopes on the way to Sajek from Khagrachari and the zero point of Sajek is about 75 km from Khagrachari town. About 6/7 km short of Sajek zero point the high altitude Sajek area started on the way to Sajek main place. The road in between resorts and bazar is comfortable for vehicles plying. Tourists or travellers will like it. In the evening Sajek turns enkindled & festive look as hundreds of tourists wander in front of different shops & resorts having tea/coffee and other snacks. Though, Sajek is not connected with national power grid right now. But soon the power line is yet to be connected. Right now the source of electricity is solar panel and generator. Mainly youngsters are very much fond of Sajek valley tour as it is a bit adventurous to climb up to the peak of Konglak hill. The festive look continues up to the mid night and it will be more scenic and beautiful in full-moon night. Sometimes, there have some cultural functions arranged by local people held in demo-Lusai village or elsewhere on the road side. Tourists can also enjoy these functions. The main public transport to go to Sajek is Chander Gari. Chander Gari is a kind of old remodeled hood-off local jeep. About10/12 persons can take seat there. Beside chander gari, there are also Mahindra plying on this road. From Khagrachari to Sajek, the journey is very attractive. One can see the natural beauty of hills, terrains, tribal villages, rivers, limited agricultural field, springs, forest etc. And in the comfortable weather the journey is more attractive.
From Baghaihat point all the vehicles towards Sajek are escorted by the security forces for the safe journey to Sajek and on return from Sajek at about 3 pm security forces escort the vehicles to the Baghaihat point on the way back to Khagrachari. This is the regular phenomena. To chalk out a program for Sajek tour people should also include the other two touristic important spots at Khagrachari in the travel plan. The two spots are Alu Tila and the other one is Khagrachari Horticulture Park. The total tour plan will be incomplete without visiting these two places. People can also take their lunch & supper in two restaurants at Khagrachari named as ‘System Restaurant’ & ‘Bamboo Shoot Restaurant’. These two restaurants are must visit restaurant at Khagrachari. Different tribal items prepared with tribal recipes and general Bengali items are also available here.
Forming a group of 10/12 person to visit Khagrachari & Sajek is very much ideal and economic to those who are from Dhaka or somewhere else. They have to make a plan for one night-halt at Sajek. Maybe the travel plan is like as follows:
That group of 10/12 person starts for Khagrachari by night coach service and after reaching Khagrachari in the following morning they have to have freshened up and breakfast in any restaurant or moderate hotel. After that they have to hire a Chander Gari which will cost not more than taka 10 thousand up & down from Khagrachari to Sajek with one night stay. They will start at about 10 a.m. from Khagrachari and reach Khagrachari at about 1p.m. Then they will take resort for night stay. After having freshened up & lunch they can go to Ruilipara and Konglak hill peak. Konglak is about 7/8 km from Sajek zero point. Near to Konglak hill they will see hundreds of people going to climb up to Konglak peak with the help of two bamboo sticks. Huge bamboo sticks are available there. Tribal people sell these sticks at a cost of taka 10 per stick. At Sajek only teletalk and Robi signal are available but on the Konglak hill top one may get grameen signal sometimes. Staying some time that group will come down from the peak and back to the resort by evening. In the evening Sajek turns very festive look. Tourists used to sit in front of different shops/restaurants/tea stalls/ coffee shops. And one can shop small souvenir items there. By 8 to 9 p.m. tourists used to take their supper in different restaurants and resorts. One can get many tribal items there. After that they will go back to the resorts for sleep.
Next morning sun-rising is most attractive event in Sajek. People are very much eager to enjoy this moment. At dawn tourists flock to the Helipad area of Sajek and enjoying sun-rising. The moment sun rises on the horizontal line over the hills is very attractive & memorable. After that they will come back to the resort and take preparation to leave Sajek. At about 10 a.m. all the vehicles start for Khagrachari following the same way organized by the security forces.
Reaching Khagrachari and after having lunch tourists can go to Alu Tila and Khagrachari Horticulture park. Staying there some time they need to take preparation to leave Khagrachari to catch the Dhaka bound buses.
Some Tips for night stay at Sajek:
1. Tourists should take torch light, candles, mineral water bottles and match boxes;
2. Teletalk and Robi SIM should be taken for communication;
3. Solar power and generators are the sources of electricity and tourists should
need completion all their necessities by11p.m.as the power supply might not be available at mid-night.
The writer is a freelance contributor.