Planning to visit Bangladesh? Find out how to plan your two weeks in Bangladesh: itinerary, what to do in Bangladesh, where to go in Bangladesh, and how much does it cost to visit Bangladesh.
It started the way you always want a new trip to start: I didn’t want to go and our plane had a mechanical problem, prompting a plane change in Bangkok…
I was hoping the Universe had heard my pleas but the second plane got us to Dhaka, Bangladesh safely…
I was not enthused about visiting Bangladesh because, truthfully, I was afraid. I was afraid of the unknown, I was afraid of everything I had ever heard about this country on the news…I was afraid the building we were staying in would collapse (we visited in September 2013 – after Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident.)
Needless to say, nothing of the sort happened and once I let my guard down and welcomed the unknown, I was able to appreciate and embrace Bangladesh, but it was hard.
Traveling on a whim, we had not made plans for Bangladesh. As soon as we arrived, we were slapped with a hefty fee of USD $50 for our visa on arrival. Pretty expensive for a country you (me) did not want to visit. With only a hotel name in Dhaka, I picked up a couple of travel brochures at the airport to give us some inspiration in case there would be no WiFi. These brochures and research done during limited WiFi times gave birth to the following itinerary:
Dhaka – the capital of Bangladesh and where we landed. Dhaka can make you shy. It is loud, in your face, colorful with the worse traffic I have ever witnessed. But, there are parts that are wonderful and make you forget the chaos.
Overnight on a rocket steamer from Dhaka to Khulna – we wanted to visit the Sundarbans and discovered a nice way to get there was to take a rocket steamer overnight. An interesting and understandably recommended experience.
Mongla: visiting the Sundarbans – the Sundarbans of Bangladesh is a reputable attraction. People come to witness a tiger (but often end up seeing a tiger’s paw or just monkeys).
Chittagong – a dynamic university town where we enjoyed meeting university students of Bangladesh and witnessed textile waste landfill.
Watch: 10 minutes clips showing the textile waste landfills in Chittagong, Bangladesh
Cox Bazar – longest continuous stretch of sand in the world, running for 125km long.
Srimangal – a slower pace, a quieter part of the country. We visited the tea plantations and tasted the delicious 7-layer tea!
Sylhet – major city in the north-east of Bangladesh. We stopped in Sylhet before crossing the Tamabil/Dawki border to get to India.
IMPORTANT: if you are exiting the country by land, you HAVE to pay the departure tax of 350 Taka (USD $3.50) in cash at a Sonali Bank branch.
Overall, our two weeks in Bangladesh was an interesting adventure. It was an adventure that challenges you. It is in your face (sometimes literally) and you have to adapt to it. Most people do not speak English and have rarely seen a foreign person, so get ready to draw, talk with your hands and be stared at (more out of curiosity than anything else).
I most likely could not have handled such an experience at the beginning of our travels so I am glad it happened after 9 months on the road. Thanks to all the friendly people we met and its culture, I am very grateful to have experienced Bangladesh – it opened my eyes and mind for the better. If you are seeking that type of raw and real travel experiences then you will not be disappointed by Bangladesh!
We spent on average less than USD $20 per person in Bangladesh (flight to Bangladesh not included in total average spending but cost of visa is included). Food in Bangladesh is delicious and cheap, very similar to Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. Hotels in Bangladesh are of good standards and pricing is reasonable for backpacking standards.
Have you been to Bangladesh? Share your travel experiences with us in the comments below! We love to hear from you!
Happy Travels !!xx
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Wonderful info – thank you! This week I will be traveling to Bangladesh solo and without a tour, and have been a bit nervous. You’ve helped ease my mind and answered so many questions with these posts! Thank you! Any tips on getting to Srimangal (or are they included and I overlooked them??) Cheers! – Anika, Miss Maps –
Hi Anika, thanks so much for your message. I’m so happy you found the information useful! Hope you are enjoying your trip to Bangladesh. To go to Srimangal, which i’ll post very soon, we went back to Dhaka and took an overnight train to Srimangal. The route was very scenic and comfortable. I hope this helps and please do not hesitate if you have any other questions 🙂 happy travels and be safe xxx PS: you have to have the seven layer tea when in the region, a real treat!
Thanks for your decision to visit Bangladesh, despite the trouble of the aircraft, and all the accumulated negative press of many years!
Bangladesh is one of the least travelled destination in the world because of it’s negative news. And no one ever done anything to make a positive image of the country. That’s why people who finally make it to Bangladesh become so much surprised to see that practically this country is nothing like they’ve heard about all those years. Your post will help others have some first-hand idea about Bangladesh. Thanks for writing this!
For the interested readers, here is a list of what people say about their experience of security situation in Bangladesh, which might encourage more people to visit the country: https://nijhoom.com/bangladesh-security-situation/
Regards from Bangladesh! 🙂
I am from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a small country, but there are many beautiful and historical places here.
Thanks for visiting our country.
Thank you for your note, we enjoyed Bangladesh and its delicious food, too! xx