Dublar Char, Bangladesh

Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Do you spend your vacations chasing gorgeous sunsets? You need to be facing west, of course. A view of the water, preferably clear and warm, is a must, too. Then you need someone with whom you can share it. Mother Nature takes over from there.

If you’re truly this low maintenance—are you really?—there’s a spot you need to see in South Asia. It’s in Bangladesh, a small country with a turbulent history. It’s part of Satkhira, the southwest corner that borders West Bengal, India. Plus it’s inside the Sundarbans, a dense mangrove forest that’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wildlife sanctuary.

Dublar Char is a remote island at the edge of the Bay of Bengal. There are no hotels or resorts here. There aren’t any restaurants or tour companies either. There is a seafood-processing center, though. It turns fish into shutki (dried fish) to sell at the market and export to nearby countries. It attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims for its three-day Rash Mela festival and holy bath, as well. But your reason for coming is the beach.

The white-sand beach is beautiful. Traditional fishing boats are tied up at the waterline. Rustic, temporary houses line the edge of the sand. So do sheets of blue plastic, on which fishermen lay their catch of the day. White seagulls dive into the warm water for their own meals. A soft sea breeze keeps the humidity at bay. Aside from a few passing ships, nothing stands in the way of an epic sunset.

Like so many other low-lying islands in the world, Dublar Char is in trouble. The small island is already underwater for much of the year. During the dry season, from October to March, fishermen descend on the island and set up makeshift structures. The pilgrims arrive in November with the full moon. While tourists, more and more each year, join boats heading down the Poshur River from Mongla, Bangladesh’s second-busiest port. So how adventurous are you really feeling?

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