Bangladesh travel guide and Bangladesh travel blog

Bangladesh Travel: 30 Things to Know Before you Go.

by Ellie Cleary

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A large number of people view this post regularly in search of Bangladesh travel advice and information about travel in Bangladesh. We try to keep it as up to date as possible (we last updated it in January 2019) – to help us do this please let us know about your experiences travelling in Bangladesh that may help fellow travellers. Please comment below or get in touch via our contact page. Thanks! 

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Bangladesh Travel: Know Before you Go.

My time in Bangladesh in December 2017 was a whirlwind and full of surprises (both good and occasionally uncomfortable). It was all the more full of surprises because of the lack of information available online about travel in Bangladesh – many Bangladesh travel blogs were written several years ago, pre 2015 when already low international tourist numbers decreased. And of course, Bangladesh is a country which (sadly) not many foreign travellers make it to…Yet.

So with that in mind, these I’ve put together these Bangladesh travel tips to help you determine if travel in Bangladesh is for you, and information to help you plan your trip to Bangladesh!

solo female travel in Bangladesh travel blog

Misty mornings in rural Bangladesh

Is Travel in Bangladesh for You?

Bangladesh is without doubt one of Asia’s undiscovered gems, but unfortunately (mostly due to a mixture of political instability and natural disasters), Bangladesh has gathered not the best reputation internationally. Bangladesh has yet to experience much tourism and is mostly un-touristed: a foreign face will excite a lot of attention and interest, almost always of a friendly and kindly nature. “Excuse me mam, your country?” were probably the words I heard spoken most to me on my trip.

As an un-touristed destination, Bangladesh is relatively free from the tourist-scams that are common in neighbouring India. On the other hand, Bangladesh also lacks much of the infrastructure of neighbouring India, and travelling around can be hard work. Roads can be unpaved, traffic is dire in some places (mostly Dhaka) – for more see the transport section – and transport conditions are basic at best. English is not widely spoken, which can make independent travel difficult in more rural areas.

Bangladesh can also be raw: along with the beautiful landscapes, people and places, expect to see a lot of poverty, and a huge amount of pollution and dirt. Don’t come if you’re not comfortable with dressing conservatively, sitting in crowded transport, and experiencing a variety of conditions. Perhaps the best description of Bangladesh I’ve heard is a “more raw version of India” – but even that comparison falls a long way short of the variety and richness of culture available in Bangladesh, and the positive surprises that this small but bustling country has in store for travellers who make it there.

Perhaps it’s time to find out about Bangladesh for yourself?! 😉 

Bangladesh travel guide and Bangladesh travel tips

Village life en route to the Sundarbans.

Travel to Bangladesh: Visas.

1. First things first: do check the current political situation and travel advisories of your country for Bangladesh before booking your trip. The country has experienced political turmoil in the past, and the situation can change quickly. You can find the UK travel advisory for Bangladesh here.  Make sure you take out good travel insurance.

2. Visa on Arrival. Citizens of many countries can get a Visa on Arrival for Bangladesh if flying in to Dhaka airport, if you are travelling for tourism (tourist visa) and plan to stay less than 30 days. You can find up to date info on the Bangladesh visa on arrival here.

3. Overland from India. I took the Maitree Express international train from Kolkata (India) to Dhaka, however train travel between India and Bangladesh is not valid for the visa on arrivalAt the time of writing visa on arrival was available at the land border crossed by bus between India and Bangladesh. I found this thread on the Lonely Planet forum helpful for planning my visa. Because I was travelling by train between India and Bangladesh, I got my visa in advance at the Bangladesh High Commission in London, UK, a couple of months before hand. Processing time was slow (the embassy held on to my passport for nearly 10 days) so plan well in advance! My visa was valid for 3 months from date of issue.

Another option from India would be to get your Bangladesh visa in Kolkata (Calcutta). In addition to the twice weekly Maitree Express, there’s also a train that runs from Kolkata to Khulna, which can be useful for heading straight to the south west of Bangladesh from India.

Bangladesh travel guide and blog

Sun sets as the Maitree Express train from Kolkata pulls into Dhaka.

Bangladesh Travel Intro: Customs & Culture.

4. A little history. Until 1947, Bangladesh used to be part of India and was known as “East Bengal”. In 1947 when India gained independence from British colonial rule, the sub-continent was also partitioned into India and Pakistan, leading to the largest migration crisis in history. 14 million people became refugees as many Hindu families moved from Pakistan to India and Muslims from India to Pakistan. Bangladesh was known as “East Pakistan” and was governed from Islamabad in (West) Pakistan – something that was unpopular with many Bangladeshis. In 1971 Bangladesh (with the support of India) fought Pakistan for independence and became the independent country of Bangladesh that it is today.

5. Bangladesh’s population is a staggering 140 million, 14 million of which are packed into the capital, Dhaka. But that number is growing every day – as more and more of the rural population come to the capital city in search of work that is more lucrative and secure than agriculture. Things get a little crowded from time to time!

things to know for travel to Bangladesh

One thing you’ll see a lot of in Bangladesh: its friendly people!

6. Religious diversity Although Bangladesh has a Muslim majority, there is a sizeable Hindu population throughout the country. There are also tribal communities in the Chittagong hilltracts, and Bangladesh has a growing number of immigrants from Myanmar (both before and especially since the current Rohingya crisis). In many parts of the country there is religious harmony between Muslims and Hindus, although in other places there remain tensions.

7. A friendly hello It can be difficult to distinguish who is what religion to the un-trained eye – not all Muslim women cover their hair, some Hindu women do cover their hair… Why does it matter? The main greeting in Bangladesh is the Muslim “Asalaam Aleikum” however Hindus use the Bengali “Nomoshkar”. If you’re not sure, you can play it safe with “good morning” or “hello”!

8.  Offers of hospitality the highlight of Bangladesh (for me at least) has to be its people. Expect to get lots of (usually friendly) attention, enquiries as to your family (ladies – if travelling with a man or solo – it’s best to say you are married) and offers of tea, dinner, lunch. Culturally, it’s important to Bangladeshis to be welcoming to guests so do not feel under pressure to accept dinner invitations unless they are repeated several times, although equally if you can spare a few minutes to have a cha (tea) with a new friend, it may make for one of your favourite memories.

solo female travel in Bangladesh travel blog

Some of the many friendly faces I met in Bangladesh.

Travel in Bangladesh: Practicalities.

9. Money. The currency in Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi Taka. Officially it’s not available outside of Bangladesh, however there are exchange shops in the Sudder Street area of Kolkata that will be able to give you Taka in exchange for your Rupees. If coming by bus from India, you can exchange money at the border, although beware of touts! If flying in, then get your Taka at the airport at an ATM or exchange counter. It’s easiest to change USD into Taka at exchange shops in Bangladesh. Not all ATM’s accept foreign cards, and there are reports of cards being frequently swallowed (eek) so check before pushing your card in the slot. I used Standard Chartered bank ATMs with my visa debit card and found that to work OK.

10. Language. Bangla (or Bengali) is the language of Bangladesh and is largely the same as the Bengali spoken in India. The major difference you will find is in levels of spoken English in Bangladesh: English is not widely spoken, especially outside of cities, and announcements on transport, at stations etc are not in English. Younger people (eg students) are more likely to speak English than the older generation. Numbers are written in Bangla script, which means checking coach numbers for trains, uber registration plates, and even prices can be a bit of a pain. If you can learn how the Bangla numbers look in advance you will be at an advantage!

Bangladesh top travel tips

Finding peace and tranquility in the Sundarbans.

11. Timings and weekends. Bangladesh is on GMT+6, making it 0.5 hours ahead of India. The weekend is either one or two days (depending on what job you do) – everyone has Friday (the muslim sabbath) off, and government, bank and (some) office workers also have Saturday off.

12. Political Demonstrations and Strikes. Given the unstable political situation in Bangladesh, avoid politics and any demonstrations. Hartals (strikes) are frequent, can cause transport chaos and demonstrations, the advice is also to steer well clear and say in your hotel if you encounter one (I did not during my time in Bangladesh).

Want to visit Bangladesh’s famous Sundarbans? 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 travel around Bangladesh is that travelling between different regions of the country all too often means stopping back in Dhaka. It is possible to go by train directly from North West (eg Rangpur & Rajshahi divisions) to South West by train without going via Dhaka, similarly it is possible to travel from Sylhet (North East) to Chittagong (South East) directly by train. Buses connect the divisions to Dhaka, but not commonly to each other. So consider that some extra time to get familiar with Bangladesh’s bustling capital!

14. Take to the water. In Southern Bangladesh, it’s all about the water. Although, despite being famous for its waterways, Bangladesh’s waterways are actually shrinking. Due to lack of maintenance and dredging, Bangladesh’s rivers are silting up, resulting in fewer being usable for (large) shipping and ferries, and also causing an increased level of flooding. Today, Bangladesh has 4,800km of navigable waterways in the dry season and over 8,000 in rainy season. Ferries are common due to the shortage of bridges (rivers are very wide here!), and overnight ferries, called launches, ply the route south from Dhaka to cities in Khulna division and Barisal, which are good jumping off places to explore the famous Sundarbans.

One of the highlights of my trip to Bangladesh was my trip on the “Rocket” paddle steamer from Dhaka to Morrelganj – these 1920’s vessels that used to be the fastest ferries in Bangladesh are now a fabulous way to slow down and travel back in time. Whereas many launches (ferries) have questionable safety records and can be dangerously overloaded during holidays, the Rocket is well maintained.

Travel tips for Bangladesh

Sunrise from the Rocket paddle steamer to the Sundarbans.

15. Take the Train. Apart from experiencing slow travel on the Rocket, one of the best ways to travel in Bangladesh is to take the train. Trains are in general comfortable (providing you’re not copying some of the locals who climb up to the roof), although the railway network is old. Intercity trains are generally good, comfortable and reliable. Mail trains however are slow, nearly always (very) delayed and use very old and decaying rolling stock. I loved meeting locals on my train journeys and had a good experience travelling by train to Sylhet from Dhaka on the Parabat Express.

Check train times on the Bangladesh Railways website (available in English) but tickets need to be booked in person at the railway station you’ll be departing from – trains open for booking 5 days prior and sell out quickly! If your train is sold out, then ask around and you may be able to buy a ticket from a shop inside or adjoining the railway station for a little extra 😉 . If all attempts fail and you need to get on a certain train, your best bet is to just get on and negotiate with the ticket checker once aboard…

travel tips for Bangladesh

Don’t worry.. you won’t need to sit on the roof, and Intercity trains are smarter than this one.

16. Brace yourself… for the Dhaka traffic. I’d heard stories about the Dhaka traffic, and thought “it can’t be that bad” – well it was. So prepare yourself. Two hours to cross town is nothing unusual. Because of this many buses are slow and uncomfortable as a way to travel. Dhaka is supposedly building a metro.. but completion is nowhere in sight.

17. Getting around Dhaka on Three Wheels. One of the most efficient ways to get around the Dhaka traffic is on three wheels – either in a (cycle) rickshaw or in an auto rickshaw (called a CNG). Cycle rickshaws are only available for short hops and are to be avoided at night – hang on to your belongings and the rickshaw for a bumpy ride!  Uber was recommended to me as a great alternative, especially at night. Communicating with the driver without Bangla can be tricky, but I managed to get friendly English-speaking locals in Dhaka to help with that.

Bangladesh travel guide

Train vs CNG (tuk-tuk) past the tea gardens of Srimangal.

18. Keep a watchful eye on your things while travelling. Petty theft is an issue – particularly of mobile phones. Cycle rickshaws are an open target and are best avoided during darkness, and CNG’s have been targetted too. If you have a fancy phone, consider getting a cheap one for use in Bangladesh. On trains, kids are known to climb on to the rooftops of carriages and dangle each other down after darkness to try to snatch belongings through open windows (I actually witnessed this) so – make sure windows are closed. This is mostly petty theft and from what I saw and heard violent crime is far less of an issue than opportunistic snatching.

19. The Buses. Many buses run overnight which is the most dangerous time to travel given that highway safety is non existent. There are often bad collisions, the Dhaka – Chittagong highway is especially notorious. Roadside conveniences (aka toilets) are also very few and far between in Bangladesh (especially for ladies!) making bus travel a nightmare for the tiny-bladdered amongst us (me). I suggest taking the train if you can! On buses, women generally sit at the front of the bus (and the men behind).

a travel guide to Bangladesh and travel tips for Bangladesh

When the slowest means of transport is actually the fastest 😉

Safe Female Travel in Bangladesh & Tips for Solo Female Travellers.

20. There’s no denying, Bangladesh is not the easiest destination for (solo) female travellers. That said, I was overwhelmed with the respect and lack of hassle I experienced as a female travelling alone to Bangladesh from most people.

21. Understand that different rules can apply for women. A fact of travel in Bangladesh is that for many people, culturally, there are different expectations and roles for women than for men. For instance, most Bangladeshi women do not travel (alone) after dark – so to stay safe, it’s advisable to follow their lead. There are often “family” areas in restaurants (sometimes curtained off) for women / couples / families to sit in  – they’re actually a great way to get some peace and quiet, but as a tourist it’s fine if you sit in the main area as well.

Want more on solo female travel in Bangladesh? Read about my reality of travelling solo in Bangladesh here. 

22. Dress conservatively to respect the local culture as well as to project yourself in the right way. The best clothing for women in Bangladesh (I found) is a salwar kameez, which is local style Indian / Bangladeshi tunic, loose trousers, and a scarf which can be draped across your chest or over your head. Not only are these made of cool (cotton) fabric, but they’re possibly the most comfortable thing ever to wear! Plus you can get as colourful as you like. If local dress is not your style, stick with baggy full length trousers, long tops that cover your behind, and a scarf to cover your chest / head. In general make sure your full legs are covered, arms down to elbows, and avoid any tight clothes and cleavage. Covering hair is optional but in my experience covering hair definitely earns respect and decreased male attention.

Solo female travel in Bangladesh travel blog

Sporting my salwar kameez in Dhaka at the Sadarghat

23. Plan and book ahead. Bangladesh is not the place for winging-it or for finding accommodation after arriving in the evening in a new place. It’s better to book accommodation and travel ahead so that you can plan for how to reach your destination safely. Agoda.com and Booking.com both have a decent range of hotels that you can book online. I found using these, and calling hotels directly to be the best way to book accommodation – all too often, emails went unanswered. It’s best to avoid very budget accommodation, which in any case often is “not suitable” for women.

Search hotels in Bangladesh on Booking.com here.

24. Be prepared for different reactions if you are travelling alone. The overwhelming reception I received in Bangladesh was one of kindness, welcome and respect. Solo female travellers, are, however something of an unknown in Bangladesh, and many people wonder why on earth a woman would travel around the country alone. Expect lots of questions about what you are doing, what you think of Bangladesh, and your family status (if in doubt, say you are married 😉 ).

25. Get a local SIM card to stay connected. This can equally apply for all travellers, but especially for solo ladies it’s useful to be able to open up google maps or call someone in case you need help. I got a Grameenphone SIM card in Dhaka – you need to go to one of the Grameenphone stores together with your passport and a passport sized photograph. 10 minutes later I walked out smiling with a fully activated Bangladeshi number! (Indian bureaucracy please take note…)

travel in Bangladesh travel guide

Don’t forget and enjoy the ride of travel in Bangladesh.

26. Bangladesh is not a high-hassle country. Since the country is not used to many foreign tourists, you’ll experience little of the hassle here that is prevalent in some other parts of Asia. Some cab / CNG drivers may chance their luck and up the fare, but I found these to be the exeeption rather than the rule. On the male-attention front, stares are the most notable thing and these can be diverted to some extent by covering your hair and dressing to fit in. 99% of attention is general curiosity. During my trip I had one bum-fondle on a bus – I turned around and shouted at the guy and gave him a good hard stare. That seemed to do the trick. If you experience any hassle, making a scene is generally a good tactic to get help from others.

27. Bangladesh is not for everyone. While Bangladesh is beautiful and full of travel delights, It’s certainly not a country that I would recommend visiting alone without some experience of travel in other developing countries under your belt. Expect it to be a little rough-going from time and be prepared to forego your morning Latte for a few weeks.

travel tips for Bangladesh

the beautiful sixty-domed mosque in Bagerhat, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Packing List – What to Wear in Bangladesh

28. In general Bangladesh is a humid, warm country, and you’ll want light, durable clothes that cover you. Winters in Dhaka and the northern part of the country, as well as the hills in Bandarban do get chillier at night between November – Feb. If travelling during winter pack layers that you can add for the colder regions, such as a fleece, sweater or light jacket.

Showing flesh is not the done thing in Bangladesh – you’ll want clothes that cover you and are loose fitting. Women should cover their legs fully (no shorts) and their arms at least past the shoulders. It’s also not common to see men in shorts, either – jeans and t-shirt are the “uniform” of most young Bangladeshi men.

Packing for Bangladesh
Clothing

  • Loose fitting, sleeved shirts or tunics – We love these ones for women. Avoid solid white as the dust will spoil it easily – patterns disguise dirt better! Cotton or linen shirts/t-shirts are fine.
  • 2-3 Light Scarves – useful for draping over your head / chest – go as colourful as you like! And don’t take too many as you’re sure to buy some there 😉
  • Loose fitting linen/cotton pants for women
  • Closed slip on/off shoes similar to VANS / TOMS (that you don’t mind getting dirty!) are ideal as you’ll likely want to protect your feet while travelling & walking around cities, and a pair of flip-flips for hanging out in, too.

Toiletries

  • Ladies – Tampons are not available in Bangladesh (except perhaps in the chemists of upmarket Gulshan, Dhaka), and avoid use of sanitary napkins due to inadequate waste disposal. We recommend using non-polluting protection such as a menstrual cup, washable pads, or period underwear
  • Try to bring plastic-free, organic/chemical free soap and shampoo bars, as often waste goes straight into the water.

Read more about how to avoid single use plastic when you travel here

Electronics

  • Bangladesh’s power sockets are a fun mix – including 2 round pin european style, 3 round pin and 3 square pin. So a multi way travel adaptor (or 3) is a must!
  • Make sure to bring a power bank for long bus, launch and train journeys

Staying Healthy in Bangladesh

  • A first aid kit is highly recommended for Bangladesh – bring disinfectant liquid, cream, plasters, broad spectrum antibiotics, mosquito repellant, sunscreen and meds for stomach upsets. In case you do need medical help, Dhaka followed by Chittagong have some higher quality medical facilities available.
  • Travel Insurance! A must for Bangladesh – don’t leave home without it. We always use True Traveller and love them.
  • Water filtration / purification equipment & water bottle – see below!

Food and Drink while Travelling in Bangladesh.

29. It’s all about the fish! Bengalis are passionate about their fish, and no less so in Bangladesh than in West Bengal on the other side of the border. Bangladesh is great for non-veg eaters: the staples are Biryani (chicken and egg – best eaten with hands!), fish curries, and for breakfast expect to enjoy your yummy Bengali paratha with egg and subji (vegetables). For vegetarians (such as me) it’s a little trickier-  if you eat eggs then that helps. My staples became dal boona (thicker yellow dal – the standard Bangladeshi dal I found to be very watery), veggies, and of course.. lots of rice. Along with more than a few eggs thrown in by locals concerned by my lack of meat intake!

30. Tap water is not safe to drink and unfortunately, filtered water (UV or RO) is much less available in Bangladesh than it is in neighbouring India. I travel with a refillable water bottle so that I can avoid buying plastic bottles of water (there’s more than enough plastic floating in Bangladesh’s rivers already), but finding filtered water to refill it with on this trip was a little more challenging. On several occasions I resorted to asking for hot water (boiled water – so that I knew it was safe to drink). I also carried my Steripen UV water filter with me and used that to purify regular tap water in my bottle. I love and highly recommend the steripen having used it on several trips now.

Check out our Steripen and favourite water bottle for travel in Bangladesh here.

travel tips Bangladesh travel blog Bangladesh

One of the staples of Bangladesh: tea! Sweet and with condensed milk is how most locals like it 🙂 

Why Travel to Bangladesh?

31. The best for last: Why go to Bangladesh?? We read about over tourism and mass tourism on an almost weekly basis now. We see all too easily that tourism doesn’t always have positive consequences, particularly in places that become swamped with visitors. So why not take a country like Bangladesh that is little visited, and often perceived negatively by the outside world and give it go? It’s arguably places like Bangladesh that can benefit most from (the right kind of) tourism: bringing more connection and understanding from the outside world, and bringing economic benefits to communities that see little. So, why not give it a go?

Have you been or would you consider travel to Bangladesh? What else would you add to these Bangladesh travel tips or would you want to know? Let me know in the comments section below! 

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Bangladesh travel guide with all you need to plan your trip to Bangladesh!

 

 

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43 comments

Freeoversea February 1, 2018 - 9:40 pm

This looks amazing! We are going to have this in mind when we go there. Bangladesh is on our bucket list and we must make it 🙂
Love the post!

Safe travels,
xx

Reply
Chris Desmond February 22, 2018 - 2:53 am

Great report Ellie (finally) 🙂

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Ellie March 14, 2018 - 4:08 pm

Thanks Chris!! Was great meeting you in Bangladesh

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Sandy Tatham February 23, 2018 - 4:43 am

Lovely post, thank you Ellie! I spent one month in Bangladesh in November-December 2013, just before the last elections. I didn’t realise it was going to be such a dangerous time to be there, with much firebombing of public transport (and subsequent deaths). I happily spent most of my time walking around and meeting people in Old Dhaka near my budget hotel which was also not far from Sadarghat. Then I took the Rocket south, hoping for the hartals (transport strikes) to be lifted, but that wasn’t the case. Instead I stayed for ten days in Morelgang, and carefully explored the surrounding area during the daytime with local help, and had an amazing time. The local people were beautiful. I’m looking forward to returning soon!

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Ellie March 14, 2018 - 3:26 pm

would love to hear about it if you return Sandy, I’m curious if Bangladesh has changed much between 2013 and now.. I am sure the beautiful smiles of Bangladesh remain the same however! Happy travels,

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Abbas Mandal March 20, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Hello Ellie,
This is a nice idea on Bangladesh.It does fell great to be reading a Foreigners view ones culture.I really liked how you described how to come to Dhaka from Kolkata.I some times goto Kolkata since have relatives thete.Have you visited Hooghly,(45 km from Kolkata).You ought.I am writing on that place since orginally I come from there.But grew up in MiddleEast.(since age 4-17).So I was relearning culture (authentic). Though I have an IT company.I do like history,travel and have a travel blog.

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Milu Siddique February 27, 2018 - 6:23 pm

Just read your beautiful post. Thank you Ellie. I’ve also read our ozzie friend Chris’s lovely post on Bangladesh trip today. Your hard work Ellie, will go a long way raising people’s awareness on eco sustainable tourism. I will always remember how you asked for boiled water to avoid using bottled water onboard the Sundarbans tour boat. Best wishes,

Reply
Ellie March 14, 2018 - 10:54 am

Thank you Milu for your kind words! I really appreciate them. Ah yes the water situation on the boat.. brings bike nice memories despite the rain! I hope all is well with you. Best regards, Ellie

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Agness of Etramping February 28, 2018 - 1:19 pm

I love such hidden gems and non-tourist places like Bangladesh, Ellie! Reading your post made me realized that Bangladesh is the perfect destination for me, as I love countries full of controversies and which will awake mix of emotions!

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Ellie March 14, 2018 - 10:53 am

Hi Agness, then definitely recommend you go to Bangladesh! It’s a beautiful country full of even more kind people, from my experience at least! happy travels,

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M HASAN CHOUDHURY August 3, 2018 - 9:01 pm

Very genuine and enjoyable reports. This will be useful for me and my family, we do travel to Bangladesh frequently.
I am from Bangladesh, live in Springfield MO, retired, but I am returning periodically to the ancestral village, usually in the dry season ie fall, winter and spring Thanks.

Reply
Joanne @ Travel Visa UK August 14, 2018 - 8:36 am

This is lovely and inspiring to read! Hi Ellie, thanks for the inspiring and informative article. I am looking forward to planning a trip to Bangladesh!

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David October 17, 2018 - 10:19 pm

Great report Ellie. Given me lots of ideas and guidance for my forthcoming 4 week trip to Bangladesh next month.
Especially interested in your Eco Lodge stay in the Sundarbans. Is it a good (and more authentic ) way of seeing the Sundarbans? Do I need to do a 1-3 day boat cruise as well or is the Eco Lodge with its canoe excursions etc a suitable alternative?
Finally is it easy to get a boat to the lodge?
Keep up the fine work on those blogs.
David

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Ellie October 20, 2018 - 3:52 pm

Hi David, thanks! Wonderful to hear you will be visiting Bangladesh. Yes the eco lodge is great – it is simple but has kind and welcoming owners, and is very peaceful. Did you see this post with more information? https://soultravelblog.com/sundarbans-trip-bangladesh/
The company I organised my trip to the eco lodge with is called Avijatrik (https://avijatrik.org). We had some communication challenges about how long the journey would take but overall they were fine. They can arrange a boat to take you to the eco lodge from Mongla. I would highly recommend taking the Rocket from Dhaka to Morrelganj or elsewhere near the Sundarbans if you like a bit of history, this was one of the highlights of my trip.
As regards exploring the Sundarbans – you could stay a little longer at the eco lodge and do several days of exploration (they can probably fix you up with a larger boat if you want to go further) and this would be just as good as a “live aboard” boat.
Have a great trip!

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Nayun October 30, 2018 - 5:55 pm

My mother tongue is bengali and I am from Asia only.Since I already know the language and being an Asian my clothing is also quite modest,will there be any other problems I can face here?Or is there anything you want to warn me against?

P.S. -I just speak bengali,I can’t read it though ):

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Ellie November 17, 2018 - 4:48 pm

Hi Nayun, if you speak Bengali that will help a lot! Just keep an eye on your phone in crowded places Dhaka as there is some pickpocketing occurring – but for the most part Bangladesh is a warm and welcoming country. Enjoy!

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Sam November 12, 2018 - 11:54 pm

Hiya! I’m really keen to visit Bangladesh in Jan/Feb, great blog – thanks. I’m planning to travel solo – did you meet many other solo travellers? Little nervous about that.

If you had to choose the top 3 places for a two-week trip, where would you recommend?

Thanks,
Sam

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Ellie November 17, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Hi Sam, great to hear you’re planning a trip to Bangladesh! Yes I did meet other solo travellers – mainly in the region of Sreemongal and also on the Rocket boat down to the Sundarbans (travelling in 1st Class). The Sundarbans is the most popular trip south of Dhaka (highly recommend taking the rocket from Dhaka), but my favourite region of Bangladesh was the north east – the tea gardens of Sreemongal and the surrounding countryside were peaceful and beautiful, and further north the city of Sylhet is laid back and friendly with a good level of English spoken. I recommend Nishorgo Eco Cottage in Sreemongal. Good luck and happy travels!

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Samuel Igoe November 18, 2018 - 4:51 pm

Flights booked! Many thanks for getting back to me on this! Sam

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Munia November 13, 2018 - 9:08 pm

Thanks for being honest.you’re also a sweet and kind person that’s y you loved Bangladesh😊
Im from Bangladesh and im also a solo traveler.

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Ellie November 17, 2018 - 4:48 pm

Thank you Munia, nice to meet you! Wishing you happy journeys 🙂

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Ken Weiss December 13, 2018 - 9:01 pm

HI Ellie

I am heading to Dhaka in March to live and work (ESL Teacher) so finding your post really helped, thanks. I am an experienced traveler and although I have been to Nepal and India I have been “happily warned” that not even those experiences will prepare me for Bangladesh, especially the traffic.

Thanks again

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Ellie December 14, 2018 - 1:20 pm

Hi Ken, that’s great to hear! I think you’ll be just fine 🙂 the Dhaka traffic is quite something though! Where will you be based? Wish you an amazing time in Bangladesh – i’m sure you’ll fall for the warmth of Bangladeshi hospitality! Happy travels.

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Ramisha Rahman January 6, 2019 - 12:53 pm

Hii Ellie,
I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I just read your blog and there are some points i agree to and some points which I dont agree to. Firstly women in Bangladesh can dress how ever they like. It all just depends on the places you are visiting. Dhaka is all about diversity. Not only are there muslims there are also hindu religion, christianity, buddhism and many more. Women can stay out after dark but it is preferable to go back from before 12 at night if you are alone because not all places in Dhaka are safe. Over all I liked your blog. I hope your visit to Dhaka was fruitful and you will visit again soon.

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Ellie January 14, 2019 - 7:35 pm

Hi Ramisha, thanks for stopping by! It’s great to hear your perspective and insights. I think for some western women travelling to Bangladesh quite some adjustment in clothing is needed (hence I don’t say travellers should wear what they want). I witnessed the diversity in religions while I visited too and that was great to see. We definitely hope to return to Bangladesh one day, I am a big fan of Bangladeshi warmth and hospitality! I hope that more travellers will take the time to visit your beautiful country.

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Arif Hossain January 19, 2019 - 2:16 am

I Love Bangladesh because this is my Country. Thanks Ellie <3

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Bappy Zahid January 24, 2019 - 8:19 am

Hi,
Just read your blog, I must say you have very good experience here. previously people are not concerned about tourism ,however day by day traveling inspiration increased through the young generation. of course some obstacle here, Thanks to visit Bangladesh, Hope you will come again, next time don’t forget to visit Kishoregaj, Haor area. rainy season you will feel the full vibes of Haor area.

have a good day
Zahid

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Ellie February 16, 2019 - 6:15 pm

Thank you Zahid for your kind words, and yes I hope more travellers get to see the beauty of Bangladesh in future!

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Jennifer Palmer February 15, 2019 - 8:43 pm

Thank you! This was quite helpful. I will be travelling to Bangladesh next week with my two grown sons, for several days of wedding ceremonies for my brother and his fiancee. She is from there, but has lived in New York City for a decade. My family is from Virginia. So this will all be a new experience for us!

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Ellie February 16, 2019 - 6:34 pm

Hi Jennifer, thank you. That will be an amazing experience, Bangladeshi weddings are quite a display from what I’ve heard :-). Will you be travelling to Dhaka? If so just brace yourselves for the traffic. I am sure it will be a wonderful time for you all, as i’m sure you already know, Bangladeshi’s are some of the warmest and most welcoming people I’ve been lucky enough to meet on my travels. I hope you have some time to explore Bangladesh afterwards – the tea region of Sreemongal is particularly green and beautiful if you have time. C

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A day in the life of Bangladesh - GlobeRovers April 22, 2019 - 6:18 am

[…] blogger Ellie from Soul Travel Blog aptly describes Bangladesh as follows: “Bangladesh is without doubt one of Asia’s […]

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Kevin CRAMPTON May 3, 2019 - 10:24 am

Very nice blog article, I am currently travelling in Bagladesh for work (originally from the UK) and can confirm that as of May 2019, the situation is pretty much as you describe it… a warm, welcoming country with friendly people, great food and an underdeveloped tourist industry.

The country is enjoying political stability and security around tourists spots has increased also, large hotels now scan all incoming luggage with airport-style X-ray as part of heightened counter-terrorism.

I concur that it’s a very worthwhile destination.

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Ellie Cleary May 8, 2019 - 9:28 pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for the feedback and happy to hear you are enjoying the Bangladeshi hospitality! We hope you get to explore some of the rest of the country. Enjoy!

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Janie T May 12, 2019 - 7:07 am

Hi Ellie,
This account is truest informative! I had been to Bangladesh in a business trip last month and I had just a day off n decided to wander around Old Dhaka after a long confusion. I contacted a tour company named Taabu Tour and they made my day a reason to return. I took train, been to Old Dhaka, Sadarghat and ship Breaking Yard. I just had a glimpse of life in Bangladesh and this is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating trip in my life what was quite impossible to do alone. I met some warmest people, and truly appreciate the young people who are working to promote tourism in Bangladesh. As I may need to return there for business, I obviously save a week to see more bangladesh!

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Abdullah al Mamun June 16, 2019 - 5:11 pm

The Paddle wheel Rocket steamer now a day run on every Wednesday and Saturday from Dhaka

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