Travel guide for first-timers in Bangladesh

Bangladesh hosts world’s longest natural sandy beach, largest mangrove forest and three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are much more to see in Bangladesh. But the real beauty of Bangladesh is found in remote villages. You may get a glimpse of it on your way to visit some place outside Dhaka.

You will see vast fields of yellow, green, and golden crops dancing with warm breeze, large trees swinging in the wind, birds pecking fruits, squirrels jumping from branches to branches in the home free delight of noonday sun. Tired peasants rest under the shade of huge banyan trees playing their flutes, roads filling with the scent of drying paddy grains, haystacks, children looking after cattle and scaring off the fowls that try to get away with a few grains. The rivers, canals and wetlands of Bangladesh become live in summer. The nature gets greener, healthier, happier, and fills with life and activity.

Nature decorates Bangladesh with a mystic tone in winter. It becomes calm and tranquil. Morning is misty and cold. Dense fog could be seen even in crowded cities. In villages, the fog gets too thick for the sun rays to penetrate. Dew drops could be seen on every leaf of trees and blade of grasses. They glitter like pearls as the morning sun caress em with its warm light. In winter, millions of guest birds come to Bangladesh and they are even thinking about settling here once and for all. Villagers are simple but very hospitable. They are loving and respectful.

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When should you visit Bangladesh

If you don’t mind rain, humidity and heat, and a bit of adventure, summer could be a great time to visit Bangladesh and immerse in the remnant natural beauty at its utmost simplicity, originality, and dynamism. If you just want to enjoy the sandy beaches or touch the clouds standing on a hill top, winter is your time.

What places to visit and where to stay in Bangladesh

Whenever you are planning to come, visit SylhetBandarban, and Cox’s Bazaar, which are the best tourist destinations in Bangladesh. Best places to stay at are Nazimgarh resorts, Dusai resorts located in Sylhet division. Sairu Hill Resort in Chittagong hill district, and Royal Tulip or Long Beach in Cox’s Bazaar. They are my personal favorite.

But my most favorite is traveling to remote villages in autumn. If you are visiting Bangladesh for the first time, that may not be a good idea for you of course. Thus, the above places were recommended. You will love staying in any or all of those places. Just remember, in summer, the price is half of what it is during winter.

 

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Food and Transportation

Food and transportation is inexpensive. Western food is available in restaurants in all major cities. Most hotels and resorts have restaurant that serves western food.

Also, the exchange rate is very good for foreigners here. 1 USD equals to about 80 BDT. You should exchange your currency at airport. Most stores don’t accept foreign currencies. Of course, you may purchase stuffs using your credit card in any supermarkets.

Budget

If you are tight on budget, you need not worry. There are plenty good hotels and resorts in Bangladesh that would cost you $25 to $75 a night in summer (double the price for winter). You should book your hotel room online. It is highly recommended as it’s less expensive and hassle-free. If you are thinking about staying in the above mentioned places for five nights, it might cost you (assuming you have a child and wife with you) from $800 to $1500 including food and transportation depending on when you visit.

If you are visiting alone or with your girl friend, it wouldn’t cost you anymore than $700 to $1000.

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What to wear

Bangladesh is a safe place to be. Wear decent clothes when outside your hotel, and there won’t be anything to worry. Decent clothes could be shorts and shirt for men, for women, trousers or even shorts (depending on the place) and shirt. At your resort or hotel, you are free to wear anything according to the policies of the resort or hotel.

Transportation

You’ll land at Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka. From Dhaka, you can go to the recommended tourist spots in Bangladesh by air, by bus, or by train.

By air

You may travel to most big cities in Bangladesh by air; however, domestic air do not always follow strict schedule. Even though it wouldn’t take you more than an hour to go anywhere in Bangladesh by air, but rescheduling of flight or other delays could happen. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens more often than you would want. Air travel might cost you twice as much as travel by bus but it’s worth it.

By bus

Road trip to some place outside Dhaka is often very irritating due to traffic jam. Dhaka to Cox’s bazaar ac bus might cost you BDT 2000 or $27 for one person.

By train

Train travel is more comfortable and comes with the benefit of seeing the better and undiscovered parts of Bangladesh on the way. You may travel in first class, which is air conditioned. Also, it costs less traveling by train.

Shopping

Garment products are comparatively inexpensive in Bangladesh. But if you want to buy something original to Bangladesh, you would want to visit Arong.

Things to remember

Please check this government website on visiting Bangladesh. It has some really useful information.

Bangladesh used to be a land of river. It was a land of wondrous natural beauty blessed with six seasons that were easily distinguishable from each other. Sadly, much of that has changed since India built that Farakka barrage, which has been disrupting natural water flow to the rivers of Bangladesh. Also, global warming has made summer and winter more acute in Bangladesh. In summer it gets humid and hot, with the highest of 41 degree centigrade (yet not as much humid and hot as in other Asian countries such as Singapore or Thailand), and in winter it gets cold at night (9 degree centigrade in villages). The temperature remains at a comfortable 18 to 26 degree centigrade during daytime in winter.

If you are interested you may get in touch with the author of this article, who will be delighted to help you with any information you might require on traveling Bangladesh.

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