With the number of Test venues in Bangladesh growing, disappointingly Australia will be playing at the same again as I know many love to tick the box on new grounds. As it is, we start in Chattogram (formerly Chittagong) which we know well so it makes our preparation for your time with us a lot easier, even with the very few tourist attractions.
My strongest desire to visit Chattogram is to get back to the infamous ship-breaking beaches of Bhatiari. It's never been easy getting in due to the negative exposure the industry receives but sharing a love of cricket with the business operators has always been our ticket into this unbelievable stretch of oily shallow water. If nothing else, the merchandise stores along the highway have an amazing wealth of maritime memorabilia, stripped from the ships before they're slowly broken up.
PHOTOS: Bhatiari Beach is one of the unique places to see in Bangladesh. It's not pretty, but it is definitely unforgettable.
If you come for the Tour Game you will have 14 nights at this splendid hotel and when you see the pool you won't want to go anywhere but the cricket. Though there's no special attraction to Chattogram aside Bhatiari Beach, I love the calmness compared to Dhaka. You can walk about without the same intensity but with 3 days after the tour game and before the Test there's a great chance to spend time outside Chattogram especially Rangamati Hill District and Kaptai Lake formed by the damming of the Karnaphuli River.
Rangamati is the largest district in Bangladesh, is home to Kaptai National Park, and borders India to the North and Myanmar to the South. Leave early for the 2-hours drive to visit a tribal museum, Chakma's King's Palace, and indulge in a traditional tribal lunch on the hilltop before cruising across crystal clear Kaptai Lake to Shuvolong Waterfall and back to the iconic Hanging Bridge! It will be a long day, but a great one that is included in your 6-night Tour Game Experience.
PHOTOS: The Iconic Hanging Bridge Under Kaptai Lake On The Left
If arriving just for the 1st Test, the hotel will collect you from the airport at any time, though you can't check-in before 1pm. The day before the test can be spent orienting yourself with Chattogram and the Karnaphuli River where you can take a fishing boat for an eye-opening paddle between the tankers and freighters. Or, like me, go to a 'saloon' for an invigorating head shave with a cut-throat.
We will have dinner the night before the Test where you will get your match tickets, your awesome Floral Shirts, and detail on how to get to the game. We've not included transfers to Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium as it is easier to grab an auto-rickshaw for $1 instead of us charging you $20 for a bus that gets stuck in traffic. Getting home after play is the same, and at your convenience.
PHOTOS: The battle of the boats on the Karnaphuli River
Each night we will find a secret watering hole but as nothing in Chattogram is too far away, you can always come for at least one before rolling home in a cycle rickshaw! In keeping with previous Experiences, we will have another dinner on the evening of Day 5 as a chance to farewell those leaving us.
Should the game finish early we will take a trip to Rangamati (payable at the time) if you haven't already been, otherwise on 'Day 6' we will go ship-wrecking. Entry preparations will have been made before the Test so we won't have to haggle our way in. If this doesn't interest you, come anyway and tee-up at Bhatiari Golf Club if you prefer, or just sit at the bar!
PHOTO: Where Ships Go To Die, Bhatiari Beach
After the Test, I will fly to Dhaka for the 2nd Test on June 17 and suggest you do the same. You need to book your own flight to Dhaka but this should be the return flight booked to get you to Chattogram from Dhaka. Whenever you choose to fly, the hotel will gladly return you to the airport on one of their regular shuttles and in Dhaka, the gracious folk of the Amari will pick you up.