Cox’s Bazar to St. Martin’s: Longest see beach in the world and the most southern point of Bangladesh

Cox’s Bazar, the longest sea beach in the world. That is quite a statement is it not? But, it is a true one! The sea beach of Cox’s Bazar is long, an astonishing 155 kilometres long! And all those kilometres are unbroken, so 155 kilometres of sand, rocks and sea. Cox’s Bazar is one of the most visited touristic places in Bangladesh.

On the other hand we have St. Martin’s, the most southern point of Bangladesh. St. Martin’s is a small Island (only 8 square kilometres!) about 9 kilometres from the peninsula of Cox’s Bazar – Teknaf. It is also near the Myanmar border, located in the bay of Bengal. The Island is famous for being the only coral island of Bangladesh.

In this blog I will take you on a tour of our 3 nights stay at Cox’s Bazar, including a day trip to St. Martin’s.

Cox’s Bazar

As stated in the first paragraph, Cox’s Bazar is basically a very long, huge and stretched out beach. We stayed at the Sea Crown Hotel, which was OK. Because we were with a big group of 10+ people, we had to book a lot of rooms in advance. A lot of the good hotels were already taken, so we settled with this one.

Our hotel was located right in the heart of the city of Cox’s Bazar, right at the beach. The beach in front of the hotel was great, because it was not crowded. The best thing about the hotel? A sea view room :-).

The weird thing about Bangladesh, the locals all go to the ‘main beach’, which makes it super crowded. All they do is take selfies and so many pictures, you think you are at a kid’s first birthday, sweet 16 party, a wedding and a concert all at once. But that makes life easier for you, just go a bit away from the main spots and you have a calm and relaxing beach day!

Of course Bangladesh is a Muslim country, so do not act surprised if you see people getting in the water with their usual clothing. Just respect that. And do not try to attract a lot of attention on yourself. How I did that? Well, building a sand castle with all the kids in our group while I am shirtless (a 100 KG white guy) catches some attention between all the selfie kings and queens ;-).

Really, staying at the beach is the same as in Spain, Mexico or anywhere in the world. Only difference is that in Cox’s Bazar, people not only enjoy the nature around them but they prefer to take a lot of photos and selfies.

Crab’s beach

If you stay a bit longer at Cox’s Bazar, be sure to ask any driver to take you to the crab’s beach (in Bengali “Kakra beach”). During the day you will find thousands of crabs who live on the beach crawling around. The beach has a big wooden bridge you have to cross, after  that you can walk straight ahead towards the beach side.

Unfortunately we went at night, but still saw a lot of crabs chilling around us. There are also a lot of locals trying to catch shrimps and larger crabs.

Oh, and the view at night is amazing! Be sure to stay till the sun sets for an awesome picture.

There are also dozens of markets for you to discover. Here they sell everything related to the ocean, from coral (pretty, but over the recent years the corals have seen deduction by 25%) to decorations made with sea shells. Be sure to bargain for a better price!

You can find a lot of activities near the beach as well. Riding a jet sky, doing parasailing are amongst the dozens of things to do. Costs are not that high, with 1,500 BDT for 3 to 4 minutes for just parasailing and 2,000 BDT for 3 to 5 minutes if you also want to touch the water with your feet in between the parasailing.

But the best part? Fresh fish! Try the most tastiest fishes ever in Cox’s Bazar area, prepared fresh for you!

Cox’s Bazar is a nice getaway from the traffic in Dhaka or Chittagong. Still, sadly some people here also do not respect the nature and throw their garbage at the sea, this goes for the two main beaches (Laboni beach and Kolatoli beach) visited by a lot of tourists. In the city it sometimes smells like the sewers. But, the beaches outside of these two are really clean and proper! For example Inani sea Beach is pretty to visit (near the Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort- a 5 star accomodation).

Cox’s Bazar is a good visit while staying in Bangladesh. Flying there is easy, with a direct flight from Dhaka being only one hour. You can also take a bus which will take you around 10 hours. Trust me, the flight is worth avoiding the traffic hassle.

St. Martin’s day trip

First off let me say, the trip was not worth it for me (we went on a crowded weekend which gave me this opinion, if you have a positive experience I would love to hear about it!) the trip to Teknaf on the other hand was worth it.

We rented a van with a chauffeur (around 8,000 BDT) which took us back and forth to our launch (a big, open motorboat). We had to leave around 6 AM, and after a two hour drive we arrived at a small wooden ‘ harbour’ . During our car trip towards the harbour we could really see how stretched out the longest sea beach of the world is. It is huge! We drove around 70 kilometres next to unbroken sea beach, really massive!

Our launch was set to leave around 9 AM, so after a quick Bengali breakfast we took our spot. Sadly there was a lot of mist, so we got a 40 minutes delay.

Of course the recent events with the Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar (Myanmar is just across the natural border of water, so a lot of refugees seek shelter in Bangladesh) can be seen the closer you come to the border with Myanmar.  I will not go into depth about the issue in this blog, there it is a whole other story.

Back to the launch, the return tickets are pretty cheap, 950 BDT for a VIP ticket and 550 BDT for a regular ticket. Note of advice, take a VIP ticket. Do not get stranded with the common folks. Just avoid the big chaos, when you are there you will see what I mean.

After 3 hours of travelling we finally made it to the harbor of St. Martin’s Island. Here we got hold up for another hour, because some military ship with a high ranked officer entered the bay, so the crowd had to wait. After an hour the whole people swarm stormed towards the Island, it was a total chaos.  The view from the ship on the Island on the other hand was perfect, with little fisher boats everywhere!

We straight away took a rickshaw and went to the other side of the Island to enjoy the beach, finally! After renting a small changing room with shower for 500 BDT we were ready to conquer some waves! The beach itself was nothing special, a few local restaurants selling fresh fish dishes, some stalls with stuff to sell and fresh coconuts. Oh, and a lot of goats everywhere on the beach. Be sure to take a cool picture with one of the many fisher boats who rest on the shores :). Oh my favorite fish: Pomfret! It is AMAZINGLY fresh! (you can also get it at Cox’s Bazar)

Sadly, the last ship to return to Cox’s Bazar was at 3 PM, so after 1,5 hour of swimming we quickly hopped back on a rickshaw, ate some delicious fresh fish and got back on the boat.

Oh, and for the more adventurous people: there is a lot of dried fish for you to try ;-).

Getting back on the boat was straight menace. I have never seen so many people pushing everyone and being selfish, for real. It was one of the most annoying things I experienced so far. Instead of being like the Chinese, there are no rules. Everyone had to get on the ships on a small wooden plank and everyone wanted to be first.

Luckily one of the family members of Sam had some connections, this way we could hire some private cabins to avoid the craziness. For 3,000 BDT you can get a one person cabin with a one person bed, for 6,000 BDT a double bed room.

After another 3 hours with the boat we finally arrived at the docks, where our driver was waiting for us. Of course there was a traffic jam because of all the boats arriving at the same time, which gave us another extra half an hour before we could start our 2 hours of driving back at our hotel at Cox’s Bazar.

Apparently the Island used to be very pretty with clear waters and good for diving. The diving part I cannot contribute about, the Island part still has some pretty places to visit. Sadly, the surplus of tourists visiting the Island daily since recent years has influenced the ecosystem of the Island. It effects the turtles who nest on the beach, the amount of fish that fishermen take from the sea to feed everyone and the loss of coral reef.

I did not stay long enough on the Island to really make a good assumption about the entire sight, but I saw a mixture of beauty and the consumption of that beauty by humans. To really grasp the beauty (or not) of the Island, I recommend staying at least one night. After that, please let me know how you experienced it! Do not do the one day trip as I did, it is not worth it.

Best time to visit? Between November and February, the weather is nice and there is no risk on cyclones in that time.

Bangladesh kept surprising me time after time, the country has so much to offer and is diverse in many ways. The southern part of Bangladesh is definitely recommended to visit!


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  1. What an absolutely beautiful and breathtaking place! I would love to visit Bangladesh some day. Wonderful piece and incredible photos too.

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