In the year 2020, I embarked on an unforgettable journey deep within the Kaptai Lake, venturing to the enchanting places of Bilaichori and Uluchori. Kaptai Lake, the largest man-made lake in Bangladesh, spans an expansive 55,000 acres. Yet, its origins are shrouded in a tragic history. To harness hydroelectric power, a dam was constructed in the Kaptai River, resulting in permanent flooding of fertile farmland and the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of people to the hill area. Over half a century has passed since that somber chapter, and today, Kaptai Lake has transformed into a renowned tourist attraction.
This expedition revolved around two days of serenity, spent aboard a luxurious houseboat, immersing myself in the lake’s natural beauty. While I typically favor more adventure-filled journeys, the allure of this relaxing sojourn beckoned me, thanks to the insistence of two of my dear friends. As the story unfolds, you’ll discover that these two leisurely days on the lake turned out to be an unexpected delight.
Onboard the “SwapnoDingi” Houseboat
Our floating abode, the “SwapnoDingi” houseboat, featured six elegantly appointed rooms, each equipped with attached washrooms and air coolers. The boat’s amiable crew bore the responsibility of guiding us through various scenic spots and ensuring our culinary and lodging needs were impeccably met. I must admit, they executed their duties flawlessly, leaving us with no room for complaints.
Our journey began with an overnight bus ride, culminating in our arrival at Kaptai in the morning. The houseboat, poised on the lake’s edge, awaited our arrival. With seamless transition, we disembarked from the bus and boarded the boat, instantly surrounded by the tranquility of the lake. As the boat embarked on its voyage, we were greeted with welcome drinks and a hearty breakfast. With room keys in hand, we freshened up and explored the boat’s well-appointed seating arrangements, the perfect vantage point to behold the lake’s natural splendor.
Our initial destination was the enchanting floating bridge, one of the rare floating bridges in Bangladesh. This unique site also featured an ancient temple, where we lingered for an hour. The boat then transported us to a private island with an adjoining resort. While we had the option to spend the night in the resort, the boat’s air coolers and comfortable facilities convinced us to stay onboard, anchored amidst the lake’s allure.
Chasing Waterfalls and Exploring Tribal Neighborhoods
Our second day was dedicated to discovering the captivating waterfalls of Hajajhora and Shuvlong. Regrettably, Hajajhora waterfall lacked the rush of water we had hoped to witness, and the weekend crowd at Shuvlong waterfall left little room for serenity. Nonetheless, we savored our time at the falls, taking a refreshing swim at Shuvlong. Later, we ventured into a tribal neighborhood, immersing ourselves in the local culture and customs.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, we concluded our exploration and made our way back to Rangamati. That same night, we commenced our return journey to Dhaka, carrying with us cherished memories of our idyllic sojourn on the mesmerizing Kaptai Lake.
Our voyage to Bilaichori and Uluchori within the Kaptai Lake region was a serene interlude, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It served as a reminder that even in the midst of calm waters, there are captivating stories to be told, memories to be made, and the timeless allure of nature to be celebrated. The tranquility of the lake, the charm of the houseboat, and the glimpses of the region’s history left an indelible mark on our hearts. As the ripples of our journey continue to echo in our memories, we look forward to new adventures and tales yet to be written.