Travel to Bangladesh is one of the closing possibilities in South East Asia to trip journey with a genuine feel of adventure: Heading off the crushed tune and into a united states that does now not have an hooked up tourism infrastructure, mainly no longer for overseas tourists. Bangladesh tour is still, in many ways, a trip into the lesser known.
My time in Bangladesh was once a whirlwind and full of surprises (both desirable and on occasion uncomfortable). It was once all the extra full of surprises due to the fact of the lack of records handy on-line about journey in Bangladesh – many Bangladesh journey blogs have been written quite a few years ago, pre 2015 when already low global vacationer numbers decreased. And of course, Bangladesh is a united states of america which (sadly) no longer many overseas visitors make it to…Yet.
We’ll additionally assist you to work out if tour to Bangladesh is proper for you.
So with that in mind, these I’ve put collectively these Bangladesh tour hints to assist you to decide if a tour in Bangladesh is for you, and data to assist you in layout your time out to Bangladesh!
Know Before Decide Travel to Bangladesh
Bangladesh is besides doubt one of Asia’s undiscovered gems, however unluckily (mostly due to a combination of political instability and herbal disasters), Bangladesh has gathered no longer the first-rate popularity internationally. Bangladesh has but to journey a whole lot tourism and is primarily un-touristed: a overseas face will excite a lot of interest and interest, nearly constantly of a pleasant and kindly nature. “Excuse me mam, your country?” have been likely the phrases I heard spoken most to me on my trip.
As an un-touristed destination, Bangladesh is rather free from the tourist-scams that are frequent in neighbouring India. On the different hand, Bangladesh additionally lacks plenty of the infrastructure of neighbouring India, and journeying round can be tough work. Roads can be unpaved, site visitors is dire in some places (mostly Dhaka) – for greater see the transport area – and transport stipulations are primary at best. English is no longer broadly spoken, which can make impartial journey tough in extra rural areas.
Bangladesh can additionally be raw: alongside the lovely landscapes, humans, and places, count on to see a lot of poverty, and a large quantity of air pollution and dirt. Don’t come if you’re now not relaxed with dressing conservatively, sitting in crowded transport, and experiencing a range of conditions. Perhaps the excellent description of Bangladesh I’ve heard is a “more uncooked model of India” – however even that evaluation falls a lengthy way brief of the range and richness of lifestyle reachable in Bangladesh, and the high-quality surprises that this small however bustling united states of America has in save for visitors who make it there.
Visas for Travel to Bangladesh
- First matters first: do take a look at the present-day political scenario and tour advisories of your united states of America for Bangladesh earlier than reserving your trip. U. s . has skilled political turmoil in the past, and the state of affairs can exchange quickly. You can discover the UK tour advisory for Bangladesh here. Make positive you take out exact journey insurance.
- Visa on Arrival. Citizens of many international locations can get a Visa on Arrival for Bangladesh if flying into Dhaka airport, if you are visiting for tourism (tourist visa) and sketch to remain much less than 30 days. You can discover up to date information on the Bangladesh visa on arrival here.
- Overland from India. I took the Maitree Express global instruct from Kolkata (India) to Dhaka, alternatively, an educated tour between India and Bangladesh is now not legitimate for the visa on arrival. At the time of writing visa on arrival was once accessible at the land border crossed via a bus between India and Bangladesh. I determined this thread on the Lonely Planet discussion board useful for planning my visa. Because I used to be traveling by way of teaching between India and Bangladesh, I received my visa in development at the Bangladesh High Commission in London, UK, a couple of months earlier than hand. Processing time was once gradual (the embassy held on to my passport for almost 10 days) so graph properly in advance! My visa was once legitimate for three months from the date of the issue.
Another alternative from India would be to get your Bangladesh visa in Kolkata (Calcutta). In addition to the twice-weekly Maitree Express, there’s additionally an instruct that runs from Kolkata to Khulna, which can be beneficial for heading straight to the southwest of Bangladesh from India.
Customs & Culture:
A little history. Until 1947, Bangladesh used to be a phase of India and was recognized as “East Bengal”. In 1947 when India won independence from British colonial rule, the sub-continent used to be additionally partitioned into India and Pakistan, main to the greatest migration disaster in history. 14 million human beings grew to become refugees as many Hindu households moved from Pakistan to India and Muslims from India to Pakistan. Bangladesh was once acknowledged as “East Pakistan” and was once ruled from Islamabad in (West) Pakistan – something that was once unpopular with many Bangladeshis. In 1971
Bangladesh (with the help of India) fought Pakistan for independence and grew to become the unbiased u. s . of Bangladesh that it is today. Bangladesh’s populace is a brilliant a hundred and forty million, 14 million of which are packed into the capital, Dhaka. But that variety is developing each day – as greater and greater of the rural populace come to the capital town in search of work that is extra moneymaking and invulnerable than agriculture. Things get a little crowded from time to time!
Religious variety: Although Bangladesh has a Muslim majority, there is a giant Hindu populace at some stage in the country. There are additionally tribal communities in the Chittagong hill tracts, and Bangladesh has a developing wide variety of immigrants from Myanmar (both earlier than and specifically because of the present-day Rohingya crisis). In many components of the USA there is non-secular concord between Muslims and Hindus, though in different locations there continue to be tensions.
A pleasant hi: there It can be hard to distinguish who is what faith to the un-trained eye – no longer all Muslim girls cowl their hair, some Hindu ladies do cowl their hair… Why does it matter? The fundamental greeting in Bangladesh is the Muslim “Asalaam Aleikum” alternatively Hindus use the Bengali “Nomoshkar”. If you’re now not sure, you can play it secure with “good morning” or “hello”!
Offers of hospitality: the spotlight of Bangladesh (for me at least) has to be its people. Expect to get a lot of (usually friendly) attention, inquiries as to your household (ladies – if journeying with a man or solo – it’s satisfactory to say you are married) and provides of tea, dinner, lunch. Culturally, it’s essential to Bangladeshis to be welcoming to visitors so do no longer sense beneath stress to receive dinner invites except they are repeated quite a few times, even though equally if you can spare a few minutes to have a cha (tea) with a new friend, it may additionally make for one of your favorite memories.
Money. The foreign money in Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi Taka. Officially it’s no longer on hand outdoor of Bangladesh, on the other hand, there are trade retail outlets in the Sudder Street location of Kolkata that will be in a position to provide you Taka in trade for your Rupees. If coming with the aid of a bus from India, you can change cash at the border, even though watch out of touts! If flying in, then get your Taka at the airport at an ATM or trade counter. It’s best to trade USD into Taka at trade retail outlets in Bangladesh. Not all ATMs receive overseas cards, and there are reviews of playing cards being regularly swallowed (eek) so take a look at earlier than pushing your card in the slot. I used the Standard Chartered financial institution ATMs with my visa debit card and discovered that to work OK.
Language. Bangla (or Bengali) is the language of Bangladesh and is generally equal to the Bengali spoken in India. The principal distinction you will locate is in stages of spoken English in Bangladesh: English is now not extensively spoken, specifically backyard of cities, and bulletins on transport, at stations, and so forth are now not in English. Younger human beings (eg students) are greater in all likelihood to talk English than the older generation. Numbers are written in Bangla script, which potential checking instruct numbers for trains, uber registration plates, and even fees can be a bit of a pain. If you can analyze how the Bangla numbers appear in increase you will be at an advantage!
Timings and weekends. Bangladesh is on GMT+6, making it 0.5 hours beforehand of India. The weekend is both one or two days (depending on what job you do) – absolutely everyone has Friday (the Muslim sabbath) off, and government, financial institution and (some) workplace employees additionally have Saturday off.
Political Demonstrations and Strikes. Given the unstable political scenario in Bangladesh, keep away from politics and any demonstrations. Hartals (strikes) are frequent, can reason transport chaos and demonstrations, the recommendation is additionally to steer properly clear and say in your motel if you come upon one (I did no longer at some stage in my time in Bangladesh).
Keep a watchful eye on your matters whilst traveling. Petty theft is a difficulty – especially with cell phones. Cycle rickshaws are an open goal and are nicely prevented at some stage in darkness, and CNG’s have been targeted too. If you have a fancy phone, think about getting a lower-priced one for use in Bangladesh. On trains, youngsters are acknowledged to climb onto the rooftops of carriages and dangle every different down after darkness to attempt to snatch property thru open home windows (I definitely witnessed this) so – make certain windows are closed. This is ordinarily petty theft and from what I noticed and heard violent crime is a long way much less of a trouble than opportunistic snatching.
The Buses. Many buses run in a single day which is the most unsafe time to tour given that toll road security is non-existent. There are frequently terrible collisions, the Dhaka – Chittagong dual carriageway is particularly notorious. Roadside conveniences (aka toilets) are additionally very few and a long way between in Bangladesh (especially for ladies!) making a bus tour a nightmare for the tiny-bladdered amongst us (me). I propose taking the education if you can! On buses, females normally sit down at the front of the bus (and the guys behind).
There’s no denying, Bangladesh is now not the best vacation spot for (solo) woman travelers. That said, I was once overwhelmed with the recognition and lack of problem I skilled as a woman touring by myself to Bangladesh from most people.
Understand that a unique policy can practice for women. A reality of tour in Bangladesh is that for many people, culturally, there are unique expectations and roles for ladies than for men. For instance, most Bangladeshi ladies do now not journey (alone) after darkish – so to continue to be safe, it’s recommended to observe their lead. There are frequently “family” areas in eating places (sometimes curtained off) for ladies/couples/households to sit down in – they’re sincerely an incredible way to get some peace and quiet, however as a vacationer it’s excellent if you take a seat in the fundamental region as well.
Dress conservatively to admire the neighborhood lifestyle as nicely as to venture yourself in the proper way. The exceptional garb for female in Bangladesh (I found) is a salwar kameez, which is nearby fashion Indian / Bangladeshi tunic, free trousers, and a scarf which can be draped throughout your chest or over your head. Not solely are these made of cool (cotton) fabric, however, they’re maybe the comfiest factor ever to wear! Plus you can get as vibrant as you like. If the nearby costume is now not your style, stick with saggy full-size trousers, lengthy tops that cowl your behind, and a scarf to cowl your chest/head. In popular make certain your full legs are covered, palms down to elbows, and keep away from any tight garments and cleavage. Covering hair is non-compulsory however in my journey overlaying hair simply earns recognize and diminished male attention.
The nice for last: Why go to Bangladesh?? We study over-tourism and mass tourism on a nearly weekly foundation now. We see all too without difficulty that tourism doesn’t continually have fine consequences, mainly in locations that grow to be swamped with visitors. So why no longer take the u. s. like Bangladesh that is little visited, and frequently perceived negatively by means of the outdoor world and provide it go? It’s arguably locations like Bangladesh that can advantage most from (the proper form of) tourism: bringing extra connection and perception from the backyard world, and bringing monetary advantages to communities that see little. So, why now not supply it a go?