So, you've planned out the perfect itinerary for your beach trip. You've jotted down all the essentials, packed in extra shorts, and got all your trip hashtags ready. But there are a few things that will ruin your meticulously crafted travel plan.
DON'T PICK A HOTEL WITHOUT KNOWING ITS LOCATION
Air conditioning, free breakfast, and other amenities aren't the only things that can make or break your stay at Cox's Bazar. A lot of people downplay the significance of the location of the hotel they're staying in. Imagine you just got off the bus or plane and you now have to travel for 30-45 minutes to get to your hotel because the roads leading up to it haven't been repaired for ages. Moreover, the hotel is far away from every single place you wanted to visit — the beach, the restaurants, the markets, everything. This will significantly increase your cost of transport and eat up a chunk of your total travel time. Research the location of your hotel and its surroundings before you book rooms.
DON'T STICK TO SAFE OPTIONS WHEN CHOOSING RESTAURANTS
Believe me, I know a lot of people who go to Cox's Bazar and only resort to KFC or the overhyped restaurants like Poushi and Jhawban for their meals. Why eat the same food you eat every day in Dhaka? Opt for all the different options available. There is a variety of seafood restaurants by the road leading up to Shugandha beach that serve amazing grilled or fried delicacies. Moreover, you get to pick which particular fish/shrimp/crab/squid they have on display. It's a different feeling altogether to have the perfect bhetki fish you picked out from the choices on offer. Plus the loitta fry is always amazing no matter which restaurant you go to. Cox's Bazar is teeming with these gems of restaurants and you'll be able to find even more exotic culinary experiences if you feel adventurous enough.
DON'T GO TO THE BEACH ONLY DURING THE DAY
During good weather, a sunny day on the beach sounds great. You get to rock those shades and play with all sorts of bright colours that are too flashy for the monotonous grey colour palette of the megacity. A different but equally enjoyable experience is staying out on the beaches till late at night. If you go with a group of friends, you'll have the best time. Deep conversations about life, laughing to old memories, and listening to some chill music might sound great at any time of the day but at night with the waves gently grazing the shore, a cool breeze in your hair and a gallery of stars above, it is truly something to be experienced.
DON'T BE DISRESPECTFUL TO THE LOCALS
It's okay to do whatever you want as long as it helps you have a good time and doesn't disturb others. Going up to random strangers and telling them to strike a sad pose so that you can take their photo for likes on Facebook is definitely not cool. Also, while you will be carrying a lot of packets of chips, juices, and what not, make sure you use the recycle bins on the beach. If you can't find one, hold on to your empty packets till you come across one. Do not litter. Locals are not there to pick up your trash.
DON'T FOCUS ON JUST TAKING PHOTOS
Ultimately, you're there to make memories that will last you a lifetime. While photos do serve as memoirs that can evoke feelings of nostalgia of days gone by, you should never be fully immersed in taking photos all the time. Enjoy the sunsets by the beach by actually looking at the environment around you; don't keep your smartphone/DSLR aimed at the sun while you wait for the perfect photo op. A few photos are good enough. You don't need a thousand pictures of the sun clogging up your phone gallery. Chances are you'll delete them anyway. But your experiences will last you a lifetime no matter what.
Shahrukh Ikhtear is a sub-editor at SHOUT who stresses himself out while trying to learn marketing. Send him pictures of Philip Kotler as blessings at fb.com/sr.ikhtear