Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fardeen Eco Cottage

I am sitting across from Teknaf Game Reserve at the dining table of the Fardeen Eco Cottage with Salahuddin and his brother Ziauddin as the sun sets with family and friends who are helping to expand their Eco-cottage. We plan to take a trek tomorrow across the peninsula led by Salahuddin, who has lived here all his life and presently runs the cottage and has trained as an eco-guide.

A team will be mapping the trek with GPS, as it is the first time it has been scouted for visitors to walk. There are wild elephant in the mountains and nearby. Elephants yesterday came very near Salahuddin's house and destroyed his banana tree. Some folks saw the elephants up in the mountains as well, near where we are hiking. We will be hiking with Forest Guards who do carry rifles just in case! But the idea is to try out the trail which crosses the peninsula and finishes up at the beach.

The distance is very easy, just 3 kilometers. But since the trail is not fully scouted we are giving all morning to the trek and leaving at 6AM. Other members of our team will be driving around to the very tip of the peninsula and coming to pick us up at Noon. We will all go up to see some coastal sites, including a waterfall, and visit some communities and then return to the eco-cottage tomorrow night.

It is an exciting day as Wasama has arrived as well from Contic, a wonderful boat building and tourism company. He is out now scouting boat launching sites, and we are all talking about combining the beautiful traditional boats his company builds for journeys on the Naf River with beach and forest trekking and wildlife watching. The Naf forms the border with Burma and flows south into the Bay of Bengal just east of where we are sitting.

Our team mapped all of the areas with tourism potential on our last visit, and we printed out very large GIS maps for this visit to review all the potential boating and hiking areas with local community members, private sector and government. We are already well underway with the vetting process having met with the private sector and government as well as local community and getting their endorsement to proceed.

The overall plan is to undertake an ecotourism management plan that would be bioregional and we are having meetings both at the local and national level about this. But for the next 2 days we are in the field scoping boating and trekking options. The whole community is very excited and so are we!


  1. It sounds really beautiful there and an exciting part of the project. This is the part I loved so much on my project in Costa Rica, working with people on their first ideas, envisioning routes and trails and what they'll be able to offer to future visitors. Enjoy! And thanks for sharing with us how it's done!

  2. Geez--scouting boating and trekking options. Sounds like a very difficult job, this ecotourism consulting gig!

  3. This eco cottage (and the area in general) sounds like the kind of place I might wanna visit when I'm finally done moving to Bangladesh. Great blog, btw.


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