I woke up when the warm rays of sun seeped through the broken fences of the jumghar (a temporary hut built in the middle of farmland). I looked around and saw some of my tourmates yawning and trying to wake up.
Although we were exhausted from yesterday's journey, we could not stay in bed any longer. We had to start preparing for our trek. Our team leader Lalon Bhai was already up.
We did not plan to spend the night at the jumghar. Our plan was to stay at the nearby Silopi Para. But when you are out trekking in the mountains, plans are bound to change.
Last year in August, seven of us decided to summit two of the highest peaks in the country, Thindawl Te Tlang and Kreikung Taung in Bandarban. Other than this, we simply wanted to spend some time apart from our busy lives in the city and enjoy the beautiful mountain sides.
In the mountains, during the months of May and June, usually a chilling wind begins to blow at dawn. We were not prepared for it now. I was saved by wearing my raincoat, but the rest of the team were quite miserable.
Without delaying any further, we packed up our bags, freshened up at a jhiri (small waterfall) and started walking towards Silopi Para. We reached there in half an hour. Even though it was early morning, the Para residents were already busy working. We went straight to the house of one of our good friends, Pakon Da.
Till then, all we had eaten were some dry snacks and boiled noodles. Reaching Silopi Para gave us the confidence to cook some khichuri. While the khichuri boiled away, we looked around the Para.
Silopi Para is the most important area in this region with quite a lot of facilities such as a primary school and helipad. We noticed many residences with satellite TV connections.
Right past Pakon Da's house is a graveyard. Although it looked ancient, it was actually fairly new. The view from the helipad was beautiful. The area had a phone network, so we could make all our necessary phone calls from here.
By this time, our khichuri was cooked. Who knew eating plain khichudi with only green chillies could taste so heavenly! Once we were done eating, we began to walk again.
Our day's mission was to climb up to the Thindawl Te and Kreikung Taung mountain peaks. If we finished on time, we would stop at Hatichara Para for the night. Within a few hours, as we reached deeper into our trek, the surroundings grew more beautiful.
We saw jum fields scattered all around us. The small paddy shoots were swaying in the wind, the same wind that felt cool and relaxing on our skin.
This was certainly not the first trekking experience for us, but we never witnessed the surreal beauty of the mountains the way we did this time. There are not enough words to describe our feelings.
After resting at a small jumghar, we began walking towards the Thindawl Te peak. Right before the peak was a huge, dense bamboo forest.
As soon as we entered it, we were attacked by hundreds of tiny insects. They wanted to crawl all over us and get inside our clothes. We tightly covered our faces with gamchas and somewhat safely crossed the dangerous forest.
At last we found our summit point. We took a small break here to take photos and GPS readings.
Thindawl Te Tlang is one of the 10 highest mountains in Bangladesh at a height of almost 3,150 feet. It lies in between Silopi Para and Thindawl Te Para. You can see many other peaks including Keokradong from here.
After our summit was over, we climbed down. We had to cross the forest full of insects again! This time, I decided to run and as luck would have it, I got a ligament injury. The pain was quite intense and I limped throughout the rest of the journey.
From our second summit, we got two local guides who would take us to mountain through Hatichara Para. Instead of taking the path towards Thindawl Te Para, we took another road which leads towards Kreikung Taung mountain. We reached the peak at 1:30pm in the afternoon.
Kreikung Taung has a height of around 3,104 feet. The summit point had dense bushes so there was no place for us to sit and relax for a bit. After photo sessions and GPS reading, we started walking towards Esom Para.
We crossed waterfalls and steep mountain roads and one particular area was covered in dense, high grasses where it was quite possible to get lost. The road we took is usually not preferred by trekkers but we decided to walk through it anyway.
At last we came down from the mountain and the guides left us. We came to Esom Para, which was fairly quiet. We saw some astonishingly huge herds of cattles here, which are probably sold in Ruma Bazar.
There were some ripe jackfruits hanging from a tree nearby and we could not resist having them. We took permission from the karbari (community leader), who knew us from our previous treks. He gladly let us eat the fruits and we gave him some medicines from our stock in return.
The sweet and juicy jackfruits gave us the energy we needed to walk to Hatichara. Hatichara Para was a small, neat place, much to our liking. The rest of the evening was spent well.
At night, our tourmate Marium Apu cooked a huge chicken for us (it weighed nearly three and half kilos!) and dinner was absolutely delicious. And our perfect tour came to an end.
10 highest peaks in Bangladesh
- Saka Haphong in Thanchi, Bandarban (3,465 ft)
- Zow Tlang in Thanchi, Bandarban (3,353 ft)
- Dumlong in Bilaichori, Rangamati (3,314 ft)
- Jogi Haphong in Thanchi, Bandarban (3,251 ft)
- Keokradong in Ruma, Bandarban (3,235 ft)
- Maithai Jama Haphong in Bilaichori, Rangamati (3,174 ft)
- Thingdawl Te Tlang in Ruma, Bandarban (3,149 ft)
- Mukhra Thuthai Haphong in Bilaichori, Rangamati (3,129 ft)
- Hajachora Haphong in Thanchi, Bandarban (3,105 ft)
- Kreikung Taung in Ruma, Bandarban (3,083 ft)