Where the 'Fun Never Sets'
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
I went to Cox's Bazaar for the first time in 2010 with my sister and cousin. I was extremely excited because of all the 'it's AMAZING's I heard from all the people who have been there previously. We stayed at one of the local resorts and that was probably the most enjoyable part of that trip. The beaches, the ocean, they were all breathtaking. But what disappointed me was the lack of beach activity. All I could see everywhere I looked were couples holding hands and walking down the shore. There was no excitement, no thrills, nothing to get your adrenaline going. And isn't that what visiting the beach all about?
This year, I went again with some of my friends and assumed it would be another one of those trips where I would just sit back, relax and lazy around the resort. But then we came across something new. While driving around marine drive and crossing Inani Beach, we saw a bright yellow banner. With an eye catching colour, the attention was grabbed as soon as we set our eyes on it. The big banner read 'Fun Fest'. A burst of excitement hit all of us as we looked over to the beach and saw something for the first time in Bangladesh. A number of tourists and locals together were enjoying the heck out of some rare beach activities!
Fun Fest is directed by two young hopeful entrepreneurs, and cousins, Ishnad Chowdhury and Tadib Muqtada. Like me, the two cousins came back from abroad and visited Cox's Bazar. Going home disappointed, they came up with a plan. That plan was to make use of the wonderful beaches that we are blessed with to their potential and increase the tourism to an amount we truly deserve owning the longest beach in the world.
“We went back to Cox's Bazar to do some surveys and found out that there's a proper structure by the government that one must follow to launch the kind of thing we were planning on launching. We asked around and found out about the Cox's Bazar beach committee. Their key tourism guide was Nurul Islam from Parjatan and we approached him directly. He was the one who helped us get promoted and spread the word among the committee. He is probably one of the most progressive and supportive people we met throughout this journey,” says Ishnad Chowdhury.
With Japanese produced boats, engines from Japan and equipment from Malaysia and India, Ishnad and Tadib launched the first ever beach activity programme in Bangladesh. “We started all our planning and programming around September last year and we were ready and active by December. So far, we've been pleasantly surprised by the crowd and attention that we have received. Our target audience were young adults and university goers, and we assumed that boys would mostly be interested in such activity. To our surprise, girls are just as daring and fun. Elderly people, younger people, everyone seems to be enjoying it and we're loving every bit of this journey so far!” says Tadib Muqtada.
The two young hopefuls now have bigger and better plans for the country and hope to make sure that every part of our country has something exciting for the younger generation to get their thrills from.
The activities provided are just as exciting as you would imagine. Regular Parasailing will cost one Tk 1200 while the super fun Para sailing, where the activity will not only last longer but one will get to stop in the middle of the ocean and get one's feet to touch the water, will cost Tk 1500. Land sailing will cost one Tk 300 and Tk 500, respective of how long they want the ride. The Zorb ball is a rubber ball where two people can get in and be rolled around the beach! This activity will cost Tk 300 for two people. The Fly Fish is more like a banana boat bouncing around with a short flight and costs Tk 1500 for four people. The Dry Para sailing costs Tk 500 and is more like an alternative to Para sailing which can sometimes be impossible to do due to strong breeze. Fun Fest assures to give you safety measures and promises to make sure that each and every one of their customers are both satisfied and safe. “We have two surprise rides coming up and we're very excited. Hopefully, the business will flourish even more soon and our tourism will also increase,” adds Ishnad. With an experienced trainer like Christopher Yusuf, there can hardly be any doubt in one's mind before getting on one of these rides.
Everything about this trip was worth remembering mainly because of the thrills my friends and I had gotten from Fun Fest. Anticipating their new activities, we're already planning another trip to the beach soon to get another dose of Fun Fest! Join us, won't you?