Tinap Saitar, the largest waterfall in Bangladesh, was once shrouded in mystique, accessible only through arduous multi-day treks.
Moreover, a couple of years ago, there was an accident where an army officer and his wife died 200 meters before the Tinap Saiter, at Paindu Khal. Following that incident, this waterfall remained out of tourists' sight until our visit.
However, a game-changing development by the Bangladesh army altered the landscape of adventure in Bandarban. In this article, I will share our incredible journey to explore Tinap Saitar in just one day, a feat once considered both astonishing and impossible.
Very Unusual Preparation
Tinap Saitar had long held a reputation as one of the most challenging hiking routes in Bangladesh, typically requiring four to five days to reach. Its untouched majesty was preserved due to its remote location, but that was about to change.
The Bangladesh army, in pursuit of its undisclosed objectives, developed routes deep within the heart of Bandarban. These routes remained unpermitted and hidden from the public eye, leaving the mighty Tinap Saitar still untouched and hidden from most trekkers.
The allure of conquering Tinap Saitar in a single day proved irresistible, and a small team of adventurers, including myself, decided to take on this audacious challenge.
The first step was securing forged wedding invitations from tribal communities. These documents would serve as our legitimacy if we encountered the army or other authorities. To blend in and avoid suspicion, we also included a few amateur tourists in our group to accompany us till the hike starting point.
The Extraordinary Journey
Our journey was a combination of bus, jeeps, boats, and motorcycle rides, peppered with exhilarating treks. The route involved traversing a maze of landscapes, crossing rivers, and navigating challenging terrain.
As is often the case with such adventures, not everything went according to plan. In an unforeseen twist, an informant tipped off authorities about our expedition to Tinap Saitar. Our drivers had to abandon us on the opposite side of a river.
Resourceful and quick on our feet, we managed to defuse a potential encounter with the army by presenting the wedding invitations, which had been our insurance against such situations.
After securing alternate transportation, we reached the base camp, bringing us within a two-hour hike from the crown jewel, Tinap Saitar, the grandest waterfall in Bangladesh.
A Near-Death Encounter and Viral Incident
On our way back, one of our guides experienced a near-death situation. A heavy rainfall started, causing the rocks to become extremely slippery and the water levels in the Paindu Khal rose dramatically. As a result, a few of our group members were unable to cross the Paindu Khal. The guide positioned himself between the rocks, and some of the members used his shoulder to navigate across. At one point, our guide lost his grip and began moving toward the waterfall. Fortunately, about 100 meters before reaching it, he managed to anchor himself. This incident later became viral content on Facebook.
Tinap Saitar’s untouched grandeur had long eluded explorers, but our one-day trek shattered the constraints of the past. It was a day filled with challenges, surprises, and the satisfaction of conquering a mighty natural wonder. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we headed back to Bandarban, our hearts filled with the indomitable spirit of adventure. Our journey to Tinap Saitar served as a testament to human perseverance and an enduring love for exploring the unknown.