Bandarban is one of the most popular hill tract in Chittagong Division. 4,479.02 km^2 is it’s total area seems like holding all the greenery of Bangladesh. Nature has not skimped to portray it with all the beauty it could. When I hear of it, I can only imagine large hills, springs coming in between hills, cliffs and the picture of hill Khum.
You need to roam around those hills if you really want to absorb all the beauty in your eyes. Whether summer or monsoon , no matter which time it is of year, it won’t surprise you less with it’s immense glory.
You would see indigenous communities around besides tourist places. Their different culture will take you to another world fantasies.
Instead of all these, the one place Kingdom of Khum has taken all the attention of tourists. Debotakhum is one of them. Many know this as – Golden Khum and Marmas call it Thongchi Khum.
Union of Kocchoptoli, situated at Rowangchhori, has Tarasa canal, and the canal includes Shilbandha Para, from which Debotakhum is reachable for tourists; the most deadly and adventurous Khum of Bandarban. The khum is laid down in between large rocky hills. These hills are called – Sippi hills and the depth of the Khum is – 60 to 100 feet and width is around 600 feet long. You need bamboo raft to reach the end. Now, coming to the name – Debotakhum, why is it named so?
Locals have some folk tales about it, once an old man saw a larger tortoise here in the Khum, as it is way larger than normal one, he immediately sensed it as a God in form of tortoise. From then on, it’s called Debotakhum, a place of God. Locals still believe that some unnatural creatures are still there. All these folktales and nature together created an undeniable attraction there for tourists .
To reach Debotakhum, you need to go Bandarban, then Rowangchhori, two ways to go, one is local bus amd another is – Chander Gari. If you are a gang of tourists, it’s better to hire Chander Gari which you need to hire before the tour started from Bandarban, as it’s crowded enough. Then you need to ne done with some important works, like hiring a local guide here. After that two copies of your national ID card should be submitted at local Police station with your name signed up. They will.give a form and you should keep it carefully. Starting the main journey, from Rowangchhori to Kocchoptoli, the road will be much rocky and sloppy-vertical one so that you will feel riding a roller-coaster. It will take 35-40 minutes like this. After that reaching Lira Gao Army camp, you have to submit all the papers and register again. After that trekking starts. Do not take big backpack and remember that for your own good, it’s tough to carry in this kind of trekking, but the road to Shilbandha is soothing.
Sometimes the path is between cliffs of the hills, and sometimes it’s into the wood, and by agricultural land. Winter is most suitable season to walk on this and monsoon would give tough time to new comers here. Summer will give heat and Monsoon can be dangerous as you can sleep a bit but it’s not that risky to be worried. Walking like this, you will reach Shilbandha within one hour. You can stop there and take rest. The place is filled with culture and you would be amazed to see their homes, attire and language. Marmas there are really welcoming. After rest, start the journey again, after 10-15 minutes, you can notice small hill shop. Not so far, you will notice the boat stopage, from there you would reach Debotakhum by 10 minutes of boat journey.
Before taking raft, taste their lemon tea, it will give you another level of energy. Take a life jacket at any cost, and then feel the kayaking riding the raft. You would find it difficult to operate at first, but later you will enjoy once you get used to it. One raft can take two person, your guide will help you in raft. The deeper you go inside Khum, it would be more calm there and you will see floating yourself in between two hills when you look up where sunlight barely reaches. That moment is undescribable in words, heavenly feeling, you should go to feel exactly how amazing it feels!! Enjoy it but return before 6pm amd you have to report Army camp that you safely reached. So try to be a bit fast while coming back.
How to go
- Chittagong / Dhaka to Bandarban
- From Bandarban (Jeep Car/ Chander Gari) to Rowangchhori and Kocchoptoli
- From Kocchoptoli to Shilbandha Para by walking
- Shilbandha to Debotakhum by Raft
Where to stay
Generally most tourists, go to one day tour at Debotakhum, there is no hotel-motel or resort, so you can stay at Kochhoptoli or Shilbandha Para, but have to take permission before.
You have to do breakfast part at Bandarban, then lunch at Kocchoptoli or Shilbandha Para, im that case, you need to book before.
- You need to take, 2 copies of national ID photocopy
- Don’t throw trash anywhere
- You need to be respectful and friendly to indigenous community there
- Return to Kochhoptoli Army Camp before 6pm at evening.