Sajek Valley: The Land of Clouds
If we call Sajek Valley the queen of hill for its natural beauty then it will not be overstated. If a poll is arranged to vote beautiful places in Bangladesh then this undulating area will surely take the top position. Because of its green surroundings, pleasant weather and peaceful condition, it is known as the paradise of Bangladesh. It is the roof of Rangamati.
It is also called the land of clouds. Team of clouds plays in Sajek Valley in the embrace of scenic forest and mountains. Walking through the clouds and touching it with hands will make someone excited. Going to Sajek through the kingdom of cloud by zigzag and ups and downs hilly roads which resemble big snake spirals is really something great.
Panoramic view of the countryside from the top of the mountain and the wave of clouds will enchant the visitors. It is an all-weather tourist spot where all weathers are felt on the same day. In the morning, the ambient area is covered with thick clouds that one cannot see the bottom standing on top of the mountain.
Sajek is named after a river that flows into the Karnafuli River in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Things which attract tourists here are sun set, rain, morning, evening, and night and aborigine people. Visitors can also buy indigenous peoples’ product from haat (market) for their friends and family members.
Where is the location?
Sajek is a union at Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati district. Sajek, the biggest union of Bangladesh, is large in size. It is even larger than many upazilas of Bangladesh. It is located towards North-East from Khagrachari district. It is 1800 feet above sea level. Original Sajek valley consists of two neighbourhoods- Ruilui and Kanlak. In local language, these two places are called para. Indigenous people of Lushai, Pankua, and Tripura mainly live in Sajek. It is 10 km distance from Sajek to Mizoram of India. Sajek is famous for orange orchard.
Sajek is such a place where, if you are lucky, you can see three forms of nature in 24 hours. Sometimes, the weather is very hot. A little later rain starts falling suddenly and sometimes later the surroundings may be covered with the blanket of fog. At night when, thanks to solar, light illuminates on the apex of this remote mountain, it creates a tremendous circumstance. Many children sit under road light and read books or they get engaged into playing.
There are three helipads in Sajek. Beauty of each helipad is different from others. In addition, you can go to Komolong Para from Ruilui by walking. This area is beautiful and situated much higher than sea level. Do not forget to eat orange during the season of orange. Orange found in Sajek is best in Bangladesh. A small loom industry has been built for the residents of Ruilui Para by Bangladesh army. Beautiful towels and lungi are available here.
When do you go Sajek Valley?
If you want to go Sajek Valley only for travelling then winter is the most suitable time. But if you like adventure and want to see the real beauty of the mountains then visit there during rainy season.
How do you go Sajek Valley?
There are many direct buses from Dhaka to Khagrachari. You can take bus from Gabtoli and Saidabad bus terminals. You will get both AC and non-AC buses. Price range of ticket is between Tk 520 and 700.
From Khagrachari, there are three ways to reach Sajek – Chander Gari, CNG and Motorcycle.
The most popular way is to reserve a jeep (local name of it is Chander Gari) from Khagrachari city. It will take BDT 4500-5500 as rent. Fifteen people can sit on one car. If there are many people then you should go there by Chander Gari with fun. The thing is that it will take BDT 4000-5000 if you go there and return before the sun set, but if you stay there at night in that case I can show you two ways. One, after reaching Sajek, you will leave the car, but take driver’s number and tell him to come if you call. The second way is stay at Sajek at night and then when you will return next day, you will find many Chander Gari going back empty after offloading passengers. You can return to the city with one of them at a cheap rate.
If there are few people then you can take CNG from Khagrachari to go there. It will cost around BDT 3000.
In addition, you can visit Sajek by motorcycle. In that case, you will have to first go to Dighinala from Khagrachari city. Afterwards, you can visit Sajek from there by motorcycle. Three people, including driver, can sit on a motorcycle. You can reserve motorcycle two-way around by Tk 1000-1200. If you can bargain, fare will be decreased a little bit. You can go to Dighinala from Khagrachari by bus which will cost each person Tk 45 as rent.
Where do you stay?
Accommodation is perhaps the main problem here. There are very few resorts or rest houses. So, if you go Sajek Valley during government holidays, you will not find any place to stay.
There are two beautifully decorated resorts- Runmoy and Sajek, which are managed by Bangladesh army.
Runmoy resort- This beautiful and well-furnished resort is located at the end of Ruilui Para. When you will see this two-storied rest house for the first time, it will be hard for you to believe that you are travelling somewhere in Bangladesh. We are used to watch this type of house in English movies. So, it may seem to you that you have come to travel abroad. It has five rooms. Maximum four people can live in each room. Room rent in ground floor is BDT 4450 and first floor BDT 4950 for civilians while foreigners will have to spend US$ 100 and 150 respectively. There are also five tents which are named chronologically, such as Rock Tents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Each tent can accommodate four people. For that you will have to spend BDT 2850.
Sajek resort- This round-shaped magnificent resort is placed at the centre of Ruilui Para. You will be astonished seeing its external look, but its interior design will make you more fascinate. If you want to make your journey comfortable then you should book room here. It is a little bit expensive. It has four rooms only, including one VIP room. The rent of the VIP suit is BDT 15,000. Rent of another room is 12,000. Other two rooms will cost BDT 10,000 each per day. Foreigners will have to spend US$ 200-250. You have to book through Giri Thebar of Khagrachari cantonment. Here are the numbers: 01859025694, 01847070395.
Apart from these, you will also find some quality resorts managed by private owners and local tribal people. One such resort is Alo Resort, which is said to be the biggest resort. It is run by NGO Alo. This neat and well-organized resort is located in Riului Para and very close to Sajek resort. It has six rooms, including four double rooms and two single rooms. Rent for double room is BDT 1000 and single room is BDT 700.
Megh Machang- If you want to enjoy the beauty of the green hills and cloud to the fullest then you should try to book one of the cottages of Megh Machang. It has three separate cottages made with bamboo. These eco-resort type cottages are located at Ruilui Para of Sajek Valley in Rangamati. Per day rent of each cottage is BDT 3000. In each cottage, 5-6 persons can stay. Each cottage has attached bathroom. One can enjoy natural scenario through window and balcony. For booking and other information, you can contact in this number- 01822-168877.
Emmanuel resort- This ordinary resort is suitable for those who want to stay with their friends or with those who do not have any problem staying here. However, if you want to stay with your family members then it is not an ideal resort. It has eight rooms and one common bathroom. Room that charges BDT 1500 as rent has two double beds and room with a rental fee of BDT 700 has two single beds. For further information and booking, contact through: 01865349130, 01869490868 (bKash).
Sara Resort- It is another resort located in Ruilui Para. It has four rooms with three attach bathroom and one common bathroom. Rent of each room is BDT 1000. If you book four rooms then it will cost BDT 3600. Each room has one bed which can accommodate two people. Rooms are a bit small in size. This rest house is made by tin. It has solar system. Contact number: 01554534507.
Ruilui Para club house- This semi-concrete house was build by army as club for people living in this area. If there are more tourists and you cannot find any place to live then you can stay here. Almost 15 people can stay in this club house. For that, each person will have to spend BDT 150-200. Bedding will be provided by caretaker. If you want then you can cook food by yourself or tell the caretaker to do this for you. It will not cost more than BDT 200. Students or those who are in need of a place to live at a cheap rent can stay here. There are two toilets. You can use one for free and for another one, you will have to pay Tk 200. Contact number: 01838497612, 01860103402.
You can even lodge in tribal houses in Kanlak Para. It may cost around BDT 600-1000, including food also. To make your journey more memorable, you can do camping near Sajek. There are many places in Ruilui Para for campaign. Before campaign, inform the security forces. Before travel, you have to be sure whether there is any empty room in resorts and you should book the room by phone before your departure.
Where do you eat?
If travellers stay in Sajek resort, Runmoy resort, tents and Alo resort then their foods will be arranged from their respective resorts. If you stay in club house then you can manage food by caretaker. Those who will do camping or stay outside on tent can eat food at Maruti Hotel or System restaurant or some other nearby hotels run by tribal people. You will have to give order of your food at least two hours ago. Per meal will cost Tk 150-200. If you order at army-run canteen, they will cook food for you, but here price is comparatively a bit high.
You can contact earlier for the arrangement of food. If there are a few people, they can go to the restaurant directly and order food. If you order only rice and vegetable, the person who is in charge of this resort can arrange it. It will be better if you buy fish/ meat from Machalong hat. It will be better if you stay one night in Sajek.
What are the nearby tourist spots?
Hajachara and Taiduchara waterfalls, Ruilui Para Church, The Horizon Garden, Chengi Golf House are some beautiful places where you can visit if you have enough time in your hand.
Some important tips:
While going Sajek Valley, do not forget to take power bank. It will help you to keep your mobile switch on. As there is no electricity, you cannot charge your mobile in a resort. Mobile network is a big issue. Network of very few telecommunication companies, such as Robi and Grameen is available here. So, you can buy a SIM of any of these companies. It will keep you connected with your nearer and dearer people. There is scarcity of drinking water. It will be better if you carry bottles of mineral water from the nearby bazaar. Buy chocolates for tribal children. They greet tourists with a hope of getting candy from them. If they do not get it, they will feel disheartened. Mosquito-borne diseases are very common in hilly areas. Take precautionary steps to stay away from these deadly diseases.
Here is a video of Sajek Valley. The duration of this video is 6 minute 22 seconds. In this video, you will see the heavenly beauty of this locality. I am sure that this video will increase your inquisitiveness to visit Sajek Valley.