Maheshkhali is the only island with hills in Bangladesh. It is famous for Hindu and Buddhist temples, sea view, coastal plantations, fish processing, green coconut, various sea fishes, battle leaf cultivation, saltpan etc.
It is a very desirable place for tourist to visit Maheshkhali through the blue sea of Maheshkhali channel. From Cox’s Bazar it is about 20 km distance and you may go there through some launches or through speedboat. In the way of Maheshkhali, the fishing boats, people doing fishing, birds, coastal plantations and overall the blue sea will amaze you. This beautiful island can be visited within a day or more specifically by spending few hours
Boat stops at the jetty point; from there you can hire some local engine vehicles to visit around the island. Otherwise, you can walk to the nearest attractions and later hire a vehicle. It is about 300-400 m concrete walking trail, which leads to the famous Hindu temple of lord Shiva. Many legends are popular about the divinity of this temple. Within the temple, there are many small temple and once in every year a big festival and fair take place here. Thousands of devotee visit this place and temple in that time.
After that, you may visit nearby hills, a Pagoda, battle leaf cultivation etc. also you may find some interesting local hand made products there to shop. The green coconuts of Maheshkhali is very sweet in test and very energizing. These are very popular to tourists. Battle leaf is also another popular item of Maheshkhali to some tourists
From the temple spot by a local vehicle, you will go to the Rakhain Buddist Temple. There are two temples one is larger than the other one. In the lager one, there are several temples with the different sculptures of lord Buddha, his divine advices and journey are also portrayed there. Besides there is a Rakhaine (ethnic community) market with their traditional clothing and other products. A few kilometers ahead, another Buddhist temple is located.
Many fish drying activity take place in Maheshkhali, and a large number of local community people live on fishing. Different types of fishes are available here. Tourists collect good quality dry fish from here. This island provide a good chance to collect dry fish from the producers
In the way, back you can stop to see the traditional saltpans, which are located besides the road. You may find the steps of salt production. In the small channels of Maheshkhali you will see boats carrying bamboo, these bamboos are mainly come from Chittagong Hill Districts and used in different activities including battle leaf cultivation.
You can take your food in local hotel, where varieties of sea fishes are available.
If you are interested in further exploring, you may go to the other side of Maheshkhali. It will take few hours in local vehicles. Fishing activities, more coastal plantations are there. However, a rich patch of mangrove plantation surrounds the jetty point and the walking trail. You will find variety of mangrove species planted there and they are trying to adopt naturally now with different adaptation mechanism. Moreover, different birds species are available in this coastal plantation. Another good idea of observing the coastal plantation, biodiversity and interaction with sea is travel around the island by boat.
In summary, it is a complete package of sea, hill, forest, biodiversity, culture, food, ethnicity and diverse livelihoods. A few hours and few hundred taka will cost but the experience will be a life long pleasure.