Do you want to see the mountains and waterfalls? Or do you have the wish to float over blue water? The outdoor enthusiasts often fall into dilemmas to choose between these two desires. Kaptai Lake in Rangamati can save you from this situation. Here you will instantly mingle with the winding mountain roads, waterfalls, and the alliance of water-green. Let’s go into details about this largest in volume artificial lake in South Asia with an area of up to 11,000 sq-km.
Historical background of Kaptai Lake
From 1956 to 1962, the then government of Pakistan constructed the Kaptai Dam on the Karnafuli River for a hydroelectric power plant with US funding. As a result, 54,000 acres of agricultural land in the Rangamati district was flooded and this Kaptai Lake was created.
In addition, 606 sq-km of unclassified forests and 75 sq-km of government-protected forests were drowned. A total of one lakh people from about 18,000 families were displaced.
The dam is 670.6 meters long and 54.7 meters high and has a 745 feet long spillway with 16 water gates attached to it. This spillway can discharge 5 lakh 25 thousand cusec feet of water per second.
The specialty of Kaptai Lake, Rangamati
The tourism industry of the Rangamati district has developed around Kaptai Lake. There is a famous 335-feet long hanging bridge over this lake. You have to buy a ticket for BDT 30 for getting on the bridge. The entire lake is surrounded by high and low hills and creepy winding paths. With this fear in mind, when you see the clouds surrounding the mountains are playing as a reflection in a huge pond, your travel-thirsty mind will want to stay there like a bird or an aquatic duck.
The lake can be traveled by renting a trawler. On the way, you can enjoy the angelic beauty of the Shuvlong waterfall, coming down from a hill about 140 feet high. Besides these, a Buddhist temple and the new Chakma palace stand on the shores of the lake. The old Chakma palace sank into the lake during the construction of the Kaptai Dam.
Here mother nature presents a wonderful combination of various flora and fauna in the overhead mountains as well as diverse species of fish and endless biodiversity living inside the deep waters of the lake. The livelihood of the water-centered people, the environment around the lake including the variety of birds, the hanging bridge, the small islands, etc will fascinate you every moment. Despite being an artificial lake, nature has poured all its beauty into Kaptai Lake.
When to visit Kaptai Lake in Rangamati
You can have a journey to Kaptai Lake all year round. But in the rainy season, the beauty of waterfalls along the lake is at its peak.
How to reach Kaptai Lake at Rangamati from Dhaka
Kaptai can be reached directly by bus from Kalabagan or Saidabad bus stations in Dhaka. The bus ticket price ranges from BDT 800 to 750 for non-AC and BDT 800 to 1000 for AC service. In this case, it takes about 7 to 8 hours to go to Kaptai lake.
For the time being, there is no arrangement to go directly to Kaptai Lake by train. However, if you want to enjoy the railway journey, take the train heading towards Chittagong and travel the next road by bus. The cost of a train ticket ranges from BDT 285 to 1,179 based on the class.
Even if you travel to Chittagong by air, it can save you time a lot. In this case, the air trip may charge from BDT 2,500 to 9,200 time and category wise.
After arrival at Chittagong, you need to get on the bus from the Boddarhat bus stand in Chittagong. From here it will take you about two hours to reach Kaptai Lake and the fare will be around BDT 80 to 120.
Different types of boats are available for hire at the Tobolchhori, tourist wharves, and reserve market. The hourly rent ranges from BDT 1200 to 1500 for speed boats and BDT 500 to 600 for domestic boats.
Where to stay during the trip
For the overnight stay in Kaptai, you better contact the government rest house authorities in Kaptai in advance. It is also possible to spend the night at low cost in the rest houses of the Army, PDB, Water Development Board, and Forest Department subject to the permission of the concerned government office. Rangamati can be a better place to spend the night as it is close to Kaptai. Room rent of hotels in Rangamati can range from BDT 400 to 10,000 depending on the quality.
Popular cuisine in the locale
There are some restaurants built on small islands in the middle of Kaptai Lake. You can buy lunch and/or the necessary food items from there. Alternatively, you can have some delicious food in the floating restaurant adjacent to the naval base. The local restaurants are available every day from 10 am to evening.
Places to enjoy nearby Kaptai lake
To enjoy Kaptai Lake from very close to the water, you have to come to a picnic spot called Lake Paradise. A boat trip to Kaptai Lake from here can be a memorable experience for you. You can observe this eye-catching beauty by reserving a speedboat or a boat. You can rent an engine-driven boat for one hour between BDT 200 and 300 rent.
The tourists enjoy the thrill of kayaking here. In addition to Lake Paradise, Zoom Restaurant offers boat trips and kayaking. You can start kayaking on the Karnafuli river near Kaptai. What is more? There is an amazing opportunity for you to have fun by riding a cable car in Sheikh Russell Ecopark.
Besides, when you visit Kaptai, put Kornfuli Hydropower Station on your bucket list. If you have time, do not miss Navy Camp Picnic Spot, Zoom Restaurant Picnic Spot, and Waggachhora Tea Estate.
A vacation tour to Kaptai Lake of Rangamati can rejuvenate your soul. It is important to be aware of the environment while traveling. Be careful about spoiling the ambiance by throwing garbage on the lake water and other places. It is the moral responsibility of every tourist to stay cautious about the environment and encourage the other travel companions to refrain from such activities. Love the heavenly Kaptai Lake, at the end of the day, the peaceful lake will pacify your soul.
Source: United News of Bangladesh