A trip to Bangladesh is one of the last chances in Southeast Asia to experience a true adventure: to get off the beaten track and into a country that doesn’t have a well-developed tourist infrastructure, especially for foreign tourists. travel in Bangladesh Journey into the little known in many ways.
Bangladesh Travel: Know Before you Go.
Editor’s note: Many people regularly check this post in search of Bangladesh travel advice and information about travel in Bangladesh. We try to keep it up to date (our last update was in January 2020) – to help us do this please tell us about your experience Traveling in Bangladesh may help other travelers. Please leave a comment below or get in touch via our contact page. Thanks!
My time in Bangladesh has been a whirlwind of surprises (both wonderful and occasionally uncomfortable). This is all the more surprising due to the lack of online information on Bangladesh travel – many Bangladesh travel blogs were written a few years ago before 2015 When the already low number of international tourists dwindles. Sure, Bangladesh is a country that (sadly) not many foreign tourists go to…but.
We’ll also help you decide if traveling to Bangladesh is right for you.
So with that in mind, I’ve put together these Bangladesh travel tips to help you decide if traveling in Bangladesh is right for you, as well as information to help you plan your trip to Bangladesh!
Misty mornings in rural Bangladesh
Contents Bangladesh Travel: Know Before You Go. Is Bangladesh Travel Right For You? Bangladesh Highlights Bangladesh Accommodation Recommendations Bangladesh Day Trips & Activities Bangladesh Travel: Visas. Bangladesh Travel Introduction: Customs and Culture. Bangladesh Travel: practicality. Getting Around: Traffic in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Women Travel Safe and Tips for Solo Female Travelers. Bangladesh Packing List – What to Wear in Bangladesh Eat and drink while traveling in Bangladesh. Why travel to Bangladesh?
Is Travel in Bangladesh for You?
Bangladesh is certainly one of Asia’s undiscovered gems, but unfortunately (mainly due to a mix of political instability and natural disasters) Bangladesh doesn’t have the best reputation internationally. Bangladesh hasn’t experienced much tourism yet and most of it doesn’t :a Foreign faces are almost always friendly and kind and attract a lot of attention and interest. “Excuse me about your country?” is probably the phrase I hear the most while traveling.
As a non-tourist destination, Bangladesh is relatively free from the tourist scams common in neighboring India. On the other hand, Bangladesh also lacks much of the infrastructure of neighboring India, and getting around can be hard work. Roads may be unpaved and traffic is terrible in some places Places (mostly Dhaka) – see the Transport section for more info – transport conditions are basic at best. English is not widely spoken, making it difficult to travel independently in more rural areas.
Bangladesh can also be pristine: in addition to beautiful landscapes, people and places expect to see a lot of poverty and a lot of pollution and grime. If you are not used to dressing conservatively sitting in crowded traffic and experiencing various Condition. Perhaps the best description of Bangladesh I’ve ever heard is “a more raw India” – but even that comparison falls short of the diversity and richness of Bangladeshi culture and the positives that this small but bustling country brings far from surprise Shops are prepared for travelers who get there.
Maybe it’s time to see Bangladesh for yourself? ! 😉
Village life en route to the Sundarbans.
Highlights of Bangladesh:
Here are some of my Bangladesh travel highlights and recommendations to help you start your Bangladesh travel planning!
Where to Stay in Bangladesh
Nishorgo Cottage in Srimongal is eco-friendly and set in beautiful gardens. This is a popular choice for foreign visitors to the area and can help arrange visits to nearby tea plantations.
Gol Kanon Eco Lodge the Sundarbans is a true opportunity to experience rural life in the Sundarbans region.
Clean, well-located and reliable options in Dhaka include: 71 Hotel Dhaka in the city center with access to the old city or Four Points by Sheraton Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan hotel.
Mermaid Eco Resort at Cox’s Bazaar. An eco-friendly option close to the beach.
Click here to compare Dhaka hotels and rates on Booking.com or search for more selection of hotels in Bangladesh on Agoda.com.
Recommended Bangladesh day trips and activities
Go on a tour of Old and New Dhaka
Tour the highlights of old Dhaka by rickshaw (not to be missed)
Travel to Sreemongal – the tea capital of Bangladesh
Explore the historic Rajshahi in northwestern Bangladesh
More things to do in Bangladesh:
Travel to Bangladesh: Visas.
1. First things first: Always check the current political situation and travel advisories for Bangladesh in your country before booking travel. The country has experienced political turmoil in the past, and the situation could change quickly. You can find UK travel advice for Bangladesh here. Make sure to buy good travel insurance.
2. Visa on arrival.Citizens of many countries can obtain a Bangladesh Visa on Arrival when flying into Dhaka Airport if you are on a tourist (tourist visa) and plan to stay less than 30 days. You can find the latest information on Visa on Arrival for Bangladesh here.
3. Overland from India.I travel from Kolkata (India) to Dhaka by Maitree Express international train, but visa on arrival is not available for train travel between India and Bangladesh. At the time of writing, visas on arrival are available at land borders crossed by bus between India and India Bangladesh. I found this post on the Lonely Planet forum very helpful in planning my visa. Because I was traveling by train between India and Bangladesh, I got my visa in advance at the Bangladesh High Commission in London, UK months in advance. Slow processing time (Embassy held Almost 10 days in my passport) so plan ahead! My visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
Another option from India is to get a Bangladesh visa in Kolkata (Kolkata). In addition to the twice-weekly Maitree Express, there is also a train from Kolkata to Khulna, which is useful for direct travel from India to southwestern Bangladesh.
The sun was setting as the Maitri Express from Calcutta pulled into Dhaka.
Bangladesh Travel Introduction: Customs and Culture.
4. A little history. Until 1947, Bangladesh was part of India and was known as “East Bengal”. When India gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947, the subcontinent was also divided into India and Pakistan, resulting in the largest immigration crisis in history. 14 Millions of people became refugees as many Hindu families migrated from Pakistan to India and Muslims from India to Pakistan. Bangladesh is called “East Pakistan” and is ruled by Islamabad in (West) Pakistan – which is unpopular among many Bangladeshis. 1971年 Bangladesh (with the support of India) fought for independence with Pakistan to become the independent state of Bangladesh today.
5. Bangladesh has a staggering 140 million people, 14 million of whom live in the capital, Dhaka. But that number is growing every day – as more rural people come to the capital in search of more lucrative and safer jobs than farming. Things get a little crowded from time to time!
You will see many things in Bangladesh: friendly people!
6. Religious Diversity Despite the Muslim majority in Bangladesh, there are still a considerable number of Hindus throughout the country. There are also tribal communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and there is a growing Burmese immigrant population in Bangladesh (in the current Rohingya crisis). In many parts of the country, there is religious harmony between Muslims and Hindus, although tensions remain elsewhere.
7. Friendly Greetings It can be difficult for the untrained eye to tell who is what religion – not all muslim women cover their hair, some Hindu women cover their hair…why does it matter? The main greeting in Bangladesh is Muslim “Asalaam Aleikum” but Hindus Use Bengali “Nomoshkar”. If you’re not sure, you can safely use “good morning” or “hello”!
8. Hospitality The highlight of Bangladesh (at least for me) has to be its people. Expect to receive many (usually friendly) inquiries about your family’s concerns (ladies – if traveling with men or solo – best to say you are married) and a light refreshment dinner Lunch. Culturally, welcoming guests is important to Bangladeshis, so don’t feel pressured to accept dinner invitations unless they repeat a few times, likewise if you can spare a few minutes to have a cup of tea with your new friends (tea ), this might help your one Favorite memory.
Some of the many friendly faces I met in Bangladesh.
Travel in Bangladesh: Practicalities.
9. Money. The currency of Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi Taka. Officially, it’s not available outside of Bangladesh, but there are exchange shops in the Sudder Street area of Kolkata that can exchange taka for rupees. If coming from India by bus, you can exchange Beware of touts though, there is money at the border! If flying in, collect your Taka at an ATM or exchange counter at the airport. Converting US Dollars to Taka is easiest at exchange shops in Bangladesh. Not all ATMs accept foreign cards and there are reports of cards being swallowed frequently (eek) So check before pushing the card into the slot. I used a Standard Chartered ATM with my Visa debit card and it worked fine.
10. Language. Bengali (or Bengali) is the language of Bangladesh, which is basically the same as Bengali in India. You will find differences in the main spoken English in Bangladesh: English is not widely spoken, especially outside the cities and for traffic announcements Stations, etc. are not in English. Young people (such as students) are more likely to speak English than older generations. Numbers are written in Bengali script, which means checking train plates for coach numbers and even prices can be a bit of a pain. if you can understand how Check the Bengali numbers in advance and you will be at an advantage!
Find peace and tranquility in the Sundarbans.
11. Hours and Weekends. Bangladesh time is GMT 6, which is 0.5 hours ahead of India. A weekend is a day or two (depending on what job you do) – everyone has Friday (Muslim Shabbat) off, government bank and (some) office workers also have Saturday off.
12. Political demonstrations and strikes. Avoid politics and any demonstrations given the unstable political situation in Bangladesh. Hartals (strikes) are frequent causing traffic chaos and demonstrations Advice also to avoid and speak to your hotel if you come across one (I did Not when I was in Bangladesh).
Want to visit the famous Sundarbans in Bangladesh? Read more about exploring the world’s largest mangrove forest here!
Getting Around: Transport in Bangladesh.
13. All roads lead to… Dhaka. One of the more frustrating elements of traveling in Bangladesh is that traveling between different parts of the country often means stopping in Dhaka. Can be reached directly by train from North West (e.g. Rangpur and Rajshahi subdivisions) Traveling Southwest by Train Without Dhaka Likewise, it is possible to take a direct train from Sylhet (Northeast) to Chittagong (Southeast). Buses connect these departments to Dhaka, but are infrequent with each other. Therefore, please consider spending some time familiarizing yourself with the Bangladeshi The bustling capital!
Old Dhaka scenery and colorful rickshaws
14. Get into the water. In southern Bangladesh, it’s all about water. Despite its reputation for waterways, Bangladesh’s waterways are actually shrinking. Due to lack of maintenance and dredging, rivers in Bangladesh are silting up, making them usable for (Large) shipping and ferries, also causing flooding. Today, Bangladesh has 4,800 kilometers of navigable waterways in the dry season and more than 8,000 kilometers in the wet season. Ferries are common due to the lack of bridges (the river is wide here!) and overnight ferries called launch plys Route south from Dhaka to the cities of Khulna district and Barisal which are good starting points to explore the famous Sundarbans.
One of the highlights of my trip to Bangladesh was my trip from Dhaka to Morrelganj on a “rocket” paddle steamer – these 1920’s boats used to be the fastest ferries in Bangladesh and are now a great way to slow down and go back in time Way. while many launch (The ferry) has a questionable safety record, can be dangerously overloaded during the holidays and rockets are well maintained.
Sunrise from the rocket paddle boat to the Sundarbans.
15. Take the train. Apart from experiencing slow travel in a rocket, one of the best ways to travel in Bangladesh is by train. Although the rail network is old, the trains are generally comfortable (provided you’re not copying some rooftop-climbing locals). Intercity Trains are generally nice, comfortable and reliable. However, postal trains are almost always (terribly) delayed and slow using very old and decaying rolling stock. I love meeting locals on train travel, and the train journey from Dhaka to Sylhet with Parabat Express was also a pleasure.
Check train times on the Bangladesh Railways website (available in English), but book tickets in person at the station you’ll be departing from – trains open up to 5 days in advance and sell out quickly! If your train is sold out, ask around and you might be able to Buy your tickets from the shops inside or next to the train station and pay a little extra 😉. If all else fails and you need to board a certain train, your best bet is to get on and negotiate with the conductor…
Don’t worry.. you don’t need to sit on the roof, intercity trains are smarter than that.
16. Be prepared for Dhaka traffic. I had heard stories about traffic in Dhaka and thought “it can’t be that bad” – and it was. So prepare yourself. It’s not uncommon to travel two hours across town. Because of this, many buses are slow and uncomfortable in some way Go travel. Dhaka is said to be building a metro… but it’s not in sight yet.
17. Explore Dhaka by trishaw. One of the most efficient ways to get around Dhaka’s traffic is by taking a trishaw – a (bicycle) rickshaw or an auto-rickshaw (known as a CNG). Rickshaws are only good for short trips and should be avoided at night – stick with it Your belongings and the rickshaw bump! Uber was recommended to me as a great option, especially at night. Communicating with drivers without Bengali can be tricky, but I managed to find friendly English-speaking locals in Dhaka to help with this.
Take a CNG train (tuk-tuk) past the tea plantations of Srimangal.
18. Take care of your belongings when traveling. Petty theft is a problem – especially cell phones. Rickshaws are an open target best avoided in the dark, as are CNGs. If you have a fancy phone, consider getting a cheap one for Bangladesh. On trains, kids have been known to climb on the roofs of carriages after dark and shake each other, trying to grab possessions through open windows (I witnessed this firsthand) So – make sure the windows are closed. It’s mostly petty theft, from what I’ve seen Violent crime is far less of a problem than opportunistic robberies.
19. The bus. Many buses run overnight, which is the most dangerous time to travel because road safety is non-existent. The Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway is particularly notorious for frequent severe collisions. Roadside amenities (aka toilets) are also few and far between Bangladesh (especially the ladies!) makes bus travel a nightmare for the fainthearted among us (me). I recommend taking the train if you can! On the bus, women usually sit at the front of the bus (men sit in the back).
When the slowest form of transportation is actually the fastest 😉
Bangladesh Women Travel Safe and Tips for Solo Female Travelers.
20. It cannot be denied that Bangladesh is not the easiest destination to reach for (single) female travellers. That said, as a woman traveling to Bangladesh alone, I was overwhelmed by the respect and carefreeness most people showed me.
21. Know that different rules apply to women. It is a fact of traveling in Bangladesh that, for many, culturally, expectations and roles for women are different from men. For example, most Bangladeshi women don’t travel (alone) after dark – so to be safe It is recommended to follow their lead. There are often ‘family’ areas in restaurants (sometimes separated by curtains) for women/couples/families to sit – this is actually a great way to get some peace and quiet, but as a tourist, if you sit in the main area well as well.
Want to learn more about women traveling solo in Bangladesh? Read the reality of my solo travel in Bangladesh here.
22. Dress conservatively to respect the local culture and present yourself in the right way. The best clothing for Bangladeshi women (I found) is the salwar kameez, which is a local style of Indian/Bangladeshi tunic and a scarf that can be draped over your chest or head. Not only are these made of a cool (cotton) fabric, but they are probably the most comfortable thing to wear! Plus, you can get any color you want. If local dress is not your style, wear baggy trousers, a long top that covers your back and a scarf that covers you chest/head. In general, make sure your legs are covered from the arms all the way to the elbows, and avoid tight clothing and showing cleavage. Covering the hair is optional, but in my experience, it definitely earns respect and reduces male attention.
Showing off my Salwar Kameez at Sadarghat in Dhaka
23. Plan ahead and book ahead. Bangladesh is not ideal for impromptu shows or looking for accommodation after arriving in a new place at night. It’s best to book accommodation and travel well in advance so you can plan how to get to your destination safely. Both Agoda.com and Booking.com have There is a huge variety of hotels that you can book online. I’ve found that using these and calling the hotel directly is the best way to book accommodation – emails often go unanswered. Best to avoid very low-budget accommodation, which is generally “not suitable” for women in any case.
Search for hotels in Bangladesh on Booking.com.
24. If you are traveling alone, be prepared to react differently. The warm welcome I received in Bangladesh was one of kindness and respect. However, solo female travelers are not well known in Bangladesh and many wonder why women travel around one country. Expect lots of questions about what you’re doing, your thoughts on Bangladesh, and your family situation (if in doubt, say you’re married 😉).
25. Get a local SIM card to stay connected. The same applies to all travelers, but especially for single ladies, it can be useful to open up Google Maps or call someone just in case. I have a Grameenphone SIM card in Dhaka – you need to go to one of the Grameenphone Keep it with your passport and a passport-sized photo. 10 minutes later, I walked out with a fully activated Bangladeshi number smiling! (Attention Indian bureaucrats…)
Don’t forget and enjoy traveling in Bangladesh.
26. Bangladesh is not a troubled country. Since the country isn’t used to many foreign tourists, you’ll encounter few of the hassles here that are prevalent in some other parts of Asia. Some taxi/CNG drivers may try their luck and raise fares, but I’ve found these to be exceptions rather than rules. In the presence of men, the gaze is the most noticeable thing, which can be diverted to some extent by covering hair and clothing. 99% of attention is general curiosity. On my travels, I met a bum on the bus – I turned around and yelled at the car Guy, gave him a hard look. This seems to do the trick. If you’re in any trouble, shouting is often a good strategy for getting help from others.
27. Bangladesh is not for everyone. While Bangladesh is beautiful and full of joys to travel to, I definitely do not recommend that you visit the country on your own without having travel experience in other developing countries. Expect it to get a little tough over time Get ready to skip your breakfast latte for weeks.
Beautiful sixty-dome mosque in Baghat, Bangladesh
Bangladesh Packing List – What to Wear in Bangladesh
28. In general, Bangladesh is a humid and warm country and you need light and durable clothes to cover you. Winters in Dhaka and the northern parts of the country, as well as in the Bandarban Mountains, do get colder at night between November and February. If traveling in winter, pack a few You can add a cardigan or light jacket for cooler regions.
Showing the flesh is not acceptable in Bangladesh – you will want clothes that cover your body and are loose fitting. Women should fully cover their legs (no shorts) and have their arms cover at least their shoulders. Men in shorts are not uncommon either – jeans and T-shirts are common The “uniform” of most young Bengalis.
Bangladeshi clothing packs loose-sleeved blouses or tunics – we love these for women. Avoid plain white, as dust can easily damage it – the pattern will hide the dirt better! Cotton or linen shirts/t-shirts are fine. 2-3 light colored scarves – can be used to drape over the head / Chest – As colorful as you want! And don’t bring too much because you’re bound to get some in there 😉 Ladies loose linen/cotton pants similar to VANS/TOMS closed slip-ons (you don’t mind getting dirty!) are ideal for what you might want protect your Feet for city trips and walks, and a pair of flip flops for lounging. Feminine Hygiene Products – Bangladesh does not provide tampons (except for chemists in upscale Gulshan Dhaka) and avoids pads due to improper waste disposal. We recommend Use pollution-free protection, such as menstrual cup washable pads or period underwear Try to carry plastic-free organic/chemical-free soaps and shampoos, as waste often goes directly into the water. Read more about how to avoid single-use plastic when traveling! Electronics Bangladesh power sockets are an interesting combination – consisting of 2 round pin European, 3 round pin and 3 pin. So a multi-way travel adapter (or 3) is a must! Make sure to pack a power bank for long bus and train journeys. Stay healthy in Bangladesh. First aid kit Yes Highly recommend going to Bangladesh – pack antiseptics, plasters, broad spectrum antibiotics, mosquito repellent, sunscreen and stomach upset medication. If you do need medical help, some higher quality medical facilities are available in Dhaka and Chittagong. travel Insurance! Essentials in Bangladesh – don’t leave home without it. We always use True Traveler and love them. Water filtration/purification equipment and water bottles – see below!
Food and drink when traveling in Bangladesh.
29. It’s all about the fish! Bangladeshis are passionate about their fish, no less in Bangladesh than in West Bengal across the border. Bangladesh is great for people who don’t eat vegetables: staples are biryani (chicken and eggs – best eaten with hands!) fish curry and Expect delicious Bengali paratha eggs and subji (vegetables) for breakfast. For vegetarians (like me) it’s a bit tricky – if you eat eggs it helps. My staple became dal boona (thicker yellow dal – I found the standard Bengali dal to be very watery) vegetables And of course a lot of rice. Along with a few eggs thrown by locals worried about my lack of meat intake!
30. Tap water is not safe to drink, unfortunately Bangladesh has much less filtered water (UV or RO) compared to neighboring India. I travel with a refillable water bottle so I can avoid buying plastic water bottles (enough plastic floating in them Rivers in Bangladesh already exist), but finding filtered water to replenish it on this trip was more challenging. A few times I’ve resorted to asking for hot water (boiled water – so I know it’s safe to drink). I also carry my Steripen UV water filter with me and use the Used to purify regular tap water in my bottle. I love and highly recommend the steripen and have used it on several trips now.
Check out our Steripen and favorite Bangladeshi travel water bottles here.
One of the staple foods of Bangladesh: tea! Sweetened and condensed milk is the way most locals like it 🙂
Why Travel to Bangladesh?
31. Last and best: why go to Bangladesh? ? We read about overtourism and mass tourism almost every week now. It’s easy to see that tourism doesn’t always have a positive impact, especially where tourists flock. So why not take such a country Bangladesh is rarely visited and is often viewed negatively by outsiders and abandon it? Arguably, places like Bangladesh have the most to gain from (the right kind of) tourism: bringing more connections and understanding to the outside world, and bringing economic benefits to rare neighborhoods. So why not give it a try?
Have you ever been or would you consider a trip to Bangladesh? Besides these Bangladesh travel tips, what else would you add or would you like to know? Let me know in the comments section below!