Bangladesh might not be the first country you think of when selecting a travel destination, yet it has a lot to offer. If visiting here, you will be one of the few tourists around, which means the country is unspoiled. You will be a curiosity here instead of a commodity and Bangladeshis will swarm around you asking questions or simply staring. You will be invited for tea everywhere.
There is more. If you like Indian food you will be in for a treat as Bengal cuisine is delicious. Did you know that Bangladesh is home to the largest stretch of beach in the world? Neither is it completely flat, in the northeast you have hills, with colourful tribes and beautiful tea plantations. Then there are the mesmerizing rivers that crisscross the country while in the south you have the famous Sundarbans National Park where tigers find refuge from human encroachment. For the culturally inclined there are interesting sights scattered all over the country.
- Dhaka, the chaotic capital, is the first point of entry for most visitors. Walk around Shankharia Bazaar, take a small boat on the Buriganga River, or visit the modern National Assembly Building.
- Take the slow boat to Barisal or Khulna to get a taste of river-life
- Try to spot a tiger in the Sundarbans National Park
- Visit the World Heritage listed mosques around Bagerhat
- Stroll along the world’s longest uninterrupted sand beach at Cox’s Bazar
- See the sun rise and set over the Bay of Bengal from the same beach at Kuakata
- Hike among the tribes and forests of the Chittagong Hill Tracts
- Drink some tea and stay in the cool air at atea-plantation in Srimangal
- Lay on the beach on St. Martin’s Island, Bangladesh’s only coral island
- Learn about Bangladesh’s long gone Buddhist past at the World Heritage site of Somapuri Vihara, once the biggest Buddhist monastery south of the Himalaya
- You will need a visa to enter Bangladesh, which you can get either at home or at an embassy/consulate in a neighbouring country. Visa-on-arrival is also possible in some cases.
- Having been part of the former British Empire means that English is relatively well understood and you should easily be able to get by with it.
- Transport is easy, with plenty of options from buses, to trains and boats, and in the city a cycle rickshaw will get you a long way for very little.
- Bangladeshis sometimes stare — this is because tourists are so rare that they are a curiosity. Be prepared for penetrating stares like you’ve never been stared at before!
- Pollution can be a problem in Dhaka and other bigger cities.
- Bangladesh is an Islamic country, though a tolerant and relatively liberal one with a large minority of Hindus. Still, dress conservatively and don’t drink in public.
- Monsoon season is from late May till early October. Best time to visit is from October to February.