Most label travelling as an expensive hobby that they set aside for the future, with exotic locations in mind that they think only exist abroad. While tourism in Bangladesh is getting some much deserved exposure, there are still many stunning locations that few people know about.
Saqeeb Niloy, a freelance filmmaker, videographer, and an avid traveller, is someone who embraces a more unorthodox approach, challenging perceptions about travelling and discovering new places in Bangladesh.
A trip in 2013 to the Nafakhum Falls changed how he looked at traveling. A hidden gem at that time, it was very difficult to get there and he realised just how thrilling travelling could be, and what a treasure-trove Bangladesh was—for nature lovers and thrill seekers alike.
Instead of looking at places people have already explored, Niloy looks for untapped destinations. Preferring to always travel with a local’s perspective, he asks the locals their favourite attractions and that’s led him to discover stunning but relatively unknown gems like Kristong, Jowtlong, Shaing Pra, Mongol Para, Patlai, Tinap Saiter—and that’s just in Bandarban alone.
According to him, stepping outside his comfort zone and immersing in local culture through his adventurous trips, really help him gain new perspectives. “At the end of the day, knowing that you’ve explored and done these things on your own really reinvigorates your self-belief like nothing else. If I can take this on, I can do anything. Additionally, it makes for some really good stories and life lessons,” Niloy adds.
In a recent solo trip to Rowangchari, where he had to cross a steep trail, he saw an old, local woman, crossing the same dangerous path with a large pile of wood on her back. She was carefully going one step at a time. Copying her, he managed to cross the trail. Looking back, Niloy says it also taught him about our love for life and our fear of obstacles, but he added that through careful observation, we can get over daunting hurdles quite easily.
Whether it’s travelling solo or in groups, Niloy’s tip is to plan out potential routes at first, then figure out costs and to always have a flexible schedule that’s open to changes. Another tip is to properly pack, so as to ensure that you’re prepared for whatever adventure life throws your way.