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Things to Know Before You Travel to Bangladesh

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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Things to Know Before You Travel to Bangladesh


Looking to travel to Bangladesh? Consider yourself one of the lucky few who actually consider traveling to this beautiful yet complicated region of the world.


Sure, at first glance, Bangladesh seems like a busy, haphazard, and even wild destination.


But, the more you learn about it, the more attractive it becomes. Even if only out of curiosity, be sure to check out and follow these tips before you travel to Bangladesh.


  1. Plan for the Arrival


As with any destination, your preparation should include having return booking proof if you plan on getting your visa upon arrival.


Be sure to take a screenshot of your hotel reservation or print it out. You’ll need these documents as soon as you get to the airport to ensure a smooth check-in process.


Why do you need to screenshot the hotel reservation, you ask? Because Bangladeshi authorities simply won’t accept anything less before they let you through those airport gates into their country. They want proof that you are indeed going to the place you claim to have booked into.


Also, do yourself a favor and exchange your dollars for the local currency (Taka) because most ATMs in the country don’t accept any other currency.


  1. Get Ready for the Roads of Dhaka


Bangladeshi traffic is always hectic. Get used to it. You might also have a hard time figuring out which bus to take or what their destination is due to the language barrier. This is common as most Bangladeshi residents don’t speak English or any other language than their mother tongue.


Luckily, there are plenty of CNGs to choose from that are more than happy to take you to your destinations. These carriages are like tiny tuk-tuks but don’t be surprised if your driver’s driving makes you feel as though you’re in a professional drag race.


Avoid the rainy season, as this is when the streets tend to get waterlogged due to poor sewer system infrastructure. Needless to say, the roads here are dirty so you’ll do well to wear a sturdy and dark pair of shoes and leave your Yeezy pair at home.


If you make an appointment with someone, make sure to leave your hotel at least one or two hours before because it’ll definitely take you longer than expected to reach your destination.


  1. People Will Stare at You a Lot


Bangladesh doesn’t get a lot of foreign visitors so you’ll most likely get a lot of stares from locals as a result. It’s the same thing that foreign tourists often encounter in places like India, except here it’s a smidge more pronounced.


Of course, the locals mean no harm by staring but they’re just fascinated at seeing a new face and they’re curious about where you come from.


If you’re usually an anxious person, be sure to avoid trains as the staring can feel intrusive at times.


  1. Try the Train


I know, I just said don’t ride the train if you’re anxious. But, this doesn’t mean that train rides in this country can’t be pleasant.


In fact, riding trains in Bangladesh can be a lot of fun and a great way to travel from town-to-town so you can explore the country.


It’s also more cost-effective to ride a train than it is to try and negotiate for a fair price on a tuk-tuk ride. Riding a train also means that you won’t have to deal with Bangladesh’s bumpy and often chaotic traffic as the trains travel much more comfortably and efficiently.


  1. You Will Make New Friends


There’s no shortage of fanfare and hospitality from the Bangladeshi locals when it comes to welcoming guests into their country.


You’ll find plenty of people wanting to talk to you or take your picture. They might even ask about where you’re from and why you’re visiting.


The great thing about this is that you’ll always have someone to help if you get lost or require assistance in any way. Of course, you may not always be up for a chat with a stranger, especially if you’re tired and jet-lagged.


But, this is a small price to pay for an opportunity to learn about the culture straight from the people and really get a feel of the pulse of the place. Plus, it’s always nice to know that the country you’ll be visiting is filled with friendly locals who are welcoming and hospitable.


  1. Dress Comfortably


You’ll need to observe fairly modest rules of dress in most areas especially in the region outside of Dhaka. Throw on a pair of loose trousers and a kurta and you should be okay.


Not only will you be comfortable, but dressing this way will make it easier for you to blend in with the locals and potentially reduce the amount of attention that you attract to yourself.


Men aren’t as restricted when it comes to what they need to wear. Cargo pants are a good way to go considering the terrain but if you do decide to wear shorts, don’t be surprised if you get a few chuckles from some of the locals when they see your exposed legs.


  1. Pretend You’re Married If You’re Traveling with Your Partner


If you plan to travel to Bangladesh with a significant other, then you should probably go ahead and pretend that you’re married even if you’re not.


That’s because the locals don’t take well to the idea of two people traveling together and sleeping in the same room if they’re not married. This is especially so for the older generation, as the younger people might be more understanding.


In fact, it was some of the youngsters we spoke to that advised us to pretend that we were married in the general public.


  1. Don’t Expect Much from Budget Accommodations


The great thing about travel to Bangladesh is that it’s a fairly affordable destination.


However, we did struggle to find accommodation at first as some of the locals were reluctant to host foreigners in their guest houses.


For best results, keep your expectations low when looking for accommodation in Bangladesh. You certainly won’t find a Four Seasons or a Holiday Inn here.



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