Bangladesh or officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a state in the Southern Asia. The country shares its borders with India and Myanmar. The south-east part is washed by the Bay of Bengal. The capital city is Dhaka.
The climate in Bangladesh is tropical. The hottest and the wettest season lasts from June to October. The best time for visiting Bangladesh is from October to February. It is not recommended to travel to the country during Ramadan because of the probable shortage of food.
The official language is Bengali. In the districts, people speak ethnic dialects. The major religions are Hinduism and Islam. The resorts of Bangladesh offer various activities for the tourists such as excursions, fishing, hiking, surfing, and sailing.
Those who want to spend the time on the beach should head right to Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong or a small island Saint Martin.
The Rangamati district with its untouched forests and waters is the main destination or ecological tourism. The local lakes are a popular place for diving in lotus fields.
If you like temple architecture, you can take a trip to the holy places in Dhamrai district, Paharpur, and Puthia village.
The tourists can also visit the museum and research centre in Radzhhashi and the lovers of history and architecture should see the sights of Bogra and Sonargaon.
Anyone can get to know closer the everyday life of the local tribes visiting the settlements near Sylhet. Excursions to Sylhet tea plantation are also very popular among the tourists.
For shopping, go to Khulna, Dhaka or the handicraft market in Dhamrai.
One can take a direct flight to Bangladesh only from Great Britain to Sylhet with Biman airlines. Emirates, Jet Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Air India offer transit flights to Dhaka from the countries of the European Union with a transfer in Dubai, Mumbai, Istanbul, and New Delhi.
The CIS citizens also have to take transit flights. Qatar Airways, Aeroflot, and Thai offer flights from Moscow. From Minsk, the tourists can fly with Etihad, Austrian, Biman, and Belavia. IUA, Royal Jordanian, and Turkish Airlines offer the flights from Kiev. Air Astana, Ural Airlines, Flydubai, Uzbekistan Airways, and Air Moldova fly from other CIS countries.
From India, the tourists can take a train in Calcutta running to Dhaka.
The citizens of CIS and EU countries must obtain a visa to travel to Bangladesh. The tourists from the Russian Federation can get a visa right at the airport. Such a visa allows them to stay in the country for fifteen days.
The tourists from other CIS countries and people who want to stay in the country for a longer time must obtain a visa beforehand submitting the documents to the Embassy of Bangladesh. Personal presence is not obligatory. It usually takes seven days to process the documents for a visa.
A visitor visa is valid for ninety days.
The Customs legislation of Bangladesh does not contain any restrictions concerning the import and export of foreign currency. However, any sum of money must be declared. The export of national currency is limited to 100 taka (BDT) per person. There is a rule to keep all the sales receipt confirming the expenditure of imported currency, but this rule is not strictly observed.
It is allowed to bring in the following goods duty-free:
- personal clothes, shoes, and accessories;
- a limited amount of alcohol, tobacco, and perfume;
- souvenirs and gifts the total cost of which does not exceed 500 BDT.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- seeds and oils;
- food including meat, flour, and rice;
- unclassified maps at a scale less than 1/250 000 and relief maps;
- some drugs.
The tourists are not allowed to export from Bangladesh:
- wild animals and their skins;
- antiquities and items having an archaeological value;
- old coins and gold in bars or in sheets;
- souvenirs and crafts the total cost of which exceeds 3.000 BDT.
The Bangladeshi cuisine is truly considered one of the most diverse cuisines in South Asia. It absorbed the cooking traditions of India and Great Britain and it was greatly influenced by the Muslim cooking style. The staple food here is grains, rice, lentils, vegetables, fruits, poultry, seafood and fish.
Staying in Bangladesh, the tourists will be offered such exotic dishes as a roasted snake or spiced insects. Among more common meat dishes are curry chicken prepared according to the traditional recipe.
The lovers of seafood and fish can treat themselves to the bounties of the Bay of Bengal and the local lakes. We also recommend steamed shrimps with coconut and mustard Chingri Malai Curry, fish delicacies Masor Koni and Masor Petu, shrimps with curry and coconut cream Prawn Malai Curry, and Horioh maas from goldfish.
The vegetarians will also like the Bangladeshi cuisine as it contains a lot of vegetarian dishes. A mix of different types of lentils Dal, rice, a vegetable stew with spices Sabji, mashed potatoes Alu Pitika or roasted vegetables Bhaji can be served as a side dish or a separate dish.
For the first course, you will be served a carrot soup, chicken soup with corn, lentils soup Masoor Dal and Spinach soup with chicken broth, potatoes and greens.
Those who have a sweet tooth can treat themselves to a cheese cake Chena poda, coconut dessert Loskora, sweet cheese cream Mishti doi, and milk and sugar dessert Sandesh.
A meal I usually served with a beverage from cane sugar Akher Rosh, milk whipped with salt, Ghol and Ampannu from a boiled green mango juice.
The official currency in Bangladesh is the Taka (BDT) which can be divided into100 paisas. The bank notes from 1 to 500 taka, 1 and 5 taka coins and 5 to 50 paisa coins are in circulation. Be aware that it is not possible to exchange the national currency outside the country.
The tourists can easily pay with US dollars.
One can exchange the currency at banks and in exchange offices. We recommend you against exchanging money with the locals because of a grea risk of a fraud. It is a problem to exchange money in the districts.
Credit cards are accepted only in large hotels in the capital city.
The tourists can cash traveller’s checks only at international banks. It is better to have checked in sterling pounds and US dollars.
There are tax-free shops at the airport in the capital city and you can buy the things there only by providing the ticket and international passport.
To avoid pocket-picking, do not carry valuable things and large sums of money.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Bangladesh
Anyone can visit the three sites from the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The ruins of largest on the Indian Subcontinent Buddhist vihara at Paharpur. At the very centre is the stupa surrounded by the monks’ cells. The total area of the monument is 85.000 square metres. This sacred place is surrounded by the wall depicting Buddha. As the archaeologists say, this building was erected during the period from 781 to 821.
In Bangladesh, you will have a chance to see the Mosque City of Bagerhat earlier known as Khalifatabad. This place is respected by the locals as a source of the Muslim religion in Bangladesh. This architectural complex is an example of the skillfulness of the ancient builders. 360 mosques are well-preserved here as well as some public houses, mausoleums, bridges, roads and water reservoirs made of burnt bricks. This ancient city was a prosperous community in the 15th century B.C.
Those who love nature should visit the largest mangrove in the world Sundarbans. The total area of this place is 6.000 square kilometres and it is under UNESCO protection. This reserve is the habitat for Bengal tigers, crocodiles, deer, snakes, and birds. Sundarbans plays an important role in protecting rare species of animals.
In Bangladesh, there are also five UNESCO candidate sites.
The archaeological site Mahansthangarh and its Environs is the early city Bengal, which existed in the 3d century B.C. This is the oldest settlement on the territory of Bangladesh. In the centre, there is a citadel wit the total area 180 Ha. In Mahansthangarh, the tourists will see the ruins of temples, old houses, mausoleums, and palaces.
Those who love history should visit the Group of monuments which includes over 50 objects of the old religious and political centre. The scientists say that it was Lalmai-Mainamati which served as a source for spreading Buddhism on the south-east of Asia.
The Lalbagh Fort in Dakha and the Halud Vihara, the Buddhist monastery Jaggadala Vihara in Radzhhashi also have a great cultural and historical value.
Souvenirs in Bangladesh
- decorative dishware and bamboo photo frames;
- national clothes;
- coconut oil;
- pink pearls and pearl jewellery;
- handmade textile;
- masks from coconut shell.