Where to go
In the capital of Dhaka, you can take a boat ride at the Sadarghat docks to cross the Buriganga River, wander the alleys of Old Dhaka or explore the ruins of Lalbagh Fort, and eat biryani and kebabs on the street. You can ride the Rocket - the romantic paddle-wheel steamer ship - for an overnight adventure, take a daytrip to Sonargaon and Muktagacha, visit the mangroves of Sundarbans National Park and catch a glimpse of the Royal Bengal tiger! Or experience the Islamic architecture of Bagerhat and the cultural city of Kushtia.
Bangladesh has more than just a fair share of ancient relics. Check out Buddhist ruins at Paharpur, Hindu ruins at Puthia, Islamic ruins at Gaud, and the remains of the ancient city of Mahasthangarh. Explore the elegant grounds of Natore Rajbari and the exquisite architecture of Kantanagar Temple.
Near Sylhet, visit Adivasi villages and cycle through the tea plantations of Srimangal to taste seven-layer tea. Walk the paths of Lowacherra National Park and hike to the remote Hum Hum Falls! In Chittagong, you can trek the trails of the Hill Tracts and discover the tribal villages of Bandarban. Relax along Kaptai Lake and Rangamati. Experience the unspoilt and peaceful Maheskhali Island, the corals of St Martin's Island, and the holiday resorts of Cox's Bazar- the longest beach in the world.
Domestic flights centre on the hub of Dhaka, connecting major tourist destinations. A car offers unlimited freedom, but you'll have to hire a driver as well - a good thing considering the high accident rates. Buses are cheap and convenient, but unfortunately crowded and uncomfortable. For a better option, take a private coach. Trains are comfortable but much less extensive than buses. Book in advance to get a ticket. Water travel is supreme in Bangladesh, with over 8000km of waterways, so get on a boat to catch a glimpse of the locals' lives.
Within cities, you have a dazzling variety of choices: bicycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, taxis, tempos (larger shared rickshaws), and sometimes, nazaman (a kind of mini-tractor). Most people go with the auto-rickshaws, also known as CNGs.
Do's and Don'ts
Do dress conservatively. In general, cover your shoulders and knees.
Do ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in the rural areas.
Don't use your left hand to eat or to pass objects, as it's considered unclean.
During the fasting month of Ramadan, don't eat or drink in front of Muslims.
Did you know…?
Bangladesh’s national animal is the Royal Bengal Tiger, the largest member of the cat family. The tiger can eat as much as 40 kg of meat in one go! These majestic creatures are unfortunately endangered... However, the Sundarbans National Park contains approximately 400 tigers, the largest single population in the wild. Take a boat around the safari and perhaps even spot a tiger!
Rickshaw art is a big deal in Bangladesh. Every city has a fleet of colourful rickshaws painted with eye-catching designs and owners take pride in building and decorating their rickshaws. The most popular decorations? The larger-than-life faces of Bangladeshi actors and pop stars. Hop on one now, for an interesting, eco-friendly ride.
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