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  • Overview

    From elaborate clothes and ornate taxis, to crowded cities, tiny Bangladesh is bursting at its seams. Famous rivers, the world's longest beach, ancient ruins and sacred religious sites abound, all without the fingerprints of commercialised tourism.

    Visitors usually venture out from the capital, Dhaka, where cramped streets connect a sprawl of low buildings in the frenetic city centre. Rain-washed colonial structures and an ever-present cacophony of car horns and rickshaw bells lend the capital an unmistakable energy. It is as intimidating as it is intoxicating. Fortunately, the locals are renowned for their friendliness, and their inquisitive streak. Both go a long way to making travellers feel welcome. Delicious Bengali cuisine helps too.

    South of Dhaka, the Jamuna River leads into Sundarbans National Park: famous for its mangrove forests, and as one of the Bengal tiger's last refuges. As with the country in general, the best way to travel the jungle-choked region is by boat.

    The country's lesser-known attractions include the Buddhist remains at Paharpur, and the 15th-century mosques and mausoleums of Bagerhat. Both of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Poor infrastructure and an undeveloped tourist industry make it difficult to move around Bangladesh with any speed. Luckily, these realities don't hurt the adventure travellers can enjoy in the country. All told, it's a place to relax and open up to new ways of being, rather than tick off sights.

    From a safety perspective, travellers should avoid the Chittagong Hill Tracts, though not the city of Chittagong or other parts of Chittagong Division. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have arrived in the south-east of Bangladesh, following ongoing violence in Burma since August 2017. The Bangladeshi authorities regulate access to the areas where the Rohingya are accommodated.

    Also, terrorists are very likely to carry out attacks across the entire country. They target security forces, though they may aim future attacks at public gatherings and foreign nationals.

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    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Bangladesh has a very wet climate defined by its subtropical monsoon seasons. Most of the rain falls from late May through October, followed by a cool season till February, and a hot summer from March to mid-May. Summer temperatures in Bangladesh average above 90°F (32°C) and are at their peak in April. Summer is also very humid and prone to hailstorms.

    The rainy season in Bangladesh runs from June to September, during which the country sees three quarters of its annual rainfall. Bangladesh suffers yearly cyclones and floods, which occur most often between May and June, and October and November. The country is a high-risk earthquake zone.

    Bangladesh is a good winter sun destination for Northern Hemisphere travellers. The best time to visit is between October and February, when the weather is mostly sunny and dry, and temperatures average around 75°F (24°C).

    Osmani International Airport
    Location: Osmani International Airport is located six miles (9km) north of Sylhet.
    Time: GMT +6
    Getting to the city: Taxis are a cheap and popular option, though buses and pick-up cars are also available.
    Car Rental: Hertz, Avis, Budget and Alamo are among the car hire companies represented at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available for transfers into the city.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include first aid, ATMs and foreign exchange, cafes and restaurants (halal), and prayer rooms.
    Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
    Location: 11 miles (17km) north of downtown Dhaka
    Time: Local time is GMT/UCT + 6
    Getting to the city: An airport shuttle bus runs regularly to Dhaka. Taxis and tuk-tuks are also available.
    Car Rental:
    Facilities: Currency exchange counters, post office, duty-free shopping, ATMs, small restaurants, and car-hire kiosks are available.
    Parking Long and short-term parking is available.
    Money:

    The local currency is the Bangladeshi Taka (BDT). Major cities have ATMS, though credit cards are usually only accepted in Dhaka. Travellers will find the best exchange rate in private shops. Also, travellers are not allowed to leave with more currency than they declare on arrival.

    Language:

    The country's official language is Bangla. English is the main foreign language.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current in Bangladesh is 220 Volts, 50Hz. Round-pin plugs, flat-blade plugs, triangular three-round-pin plugs and parallel flat pins with grounding-pin plugs are all common.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: United States passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa; visas can be issued on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. They can apply to extend their stay.

    UK nationals: British passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. Visas valid for 30 days can be issued on arrival. They can apply to extend their stay.

    CA nationals: Canadian passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. Visas valid for 30 days can be obtained on arrival. They can apply to extend to their stay.

    AU nationals: Australian passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. Visas valid for 30 days can be obtained upon arrival. They can apply to extend their stay.

    ZA nationals: South African passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. However, South Africans with proof of Bangladeshi origin can obtain a 30 day visa on arrival. They can apply to extend their stay.

    IR nationals: Irish passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. Visas valid for 30 days can be obtained upon arrival. They can apply to extend their stay.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand passport holders require a valid passport as well as a visa. Visas valid for 30 days can be obtained upon arrival. They can apply to extend their stay.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Although some visas are available on arrival these are limited and inconsistently 'given out'. Visa fees depend on embassy and nationality. Israelis are denied entry. A return or onward ticket is required and departure tax depends on onward destination.

    Travel Health:

    Medical facilities aren't close to the quality of most western hospitals. Travellers with serious conditions should seek help outside the country. Also, travellers should see a physician four to six weeks before they arrive to receive necessary immunisations, and begin taking anti-malaria and typhoid medication.

    All ordinary immunisations must be current. Hepatitis A and B immunisations are recommended. Travellers heading to rural communities and the outdoors will need immunisations for rabies and Japanese encephalitis as well. Tuberculosis is also on the rise in Bangladesh.

    Travellers' diarrhoea is the most common affliction. Visitors should drink bottled water and be sceptical of undercooked foods. A yellow-fever vaccination certificate is required for all travellers older than one who are arriving from yellow-fever infected areas.

    Tipping:

    Tipping in Bangladesh is not expected but welcome.

    Safety Information:

    The security situation in Bangladesh is fluid. Consequently, travellers should contact their local embassy for advice closer to when they plan to visit.

    All protests should be avoided in case they turn violent. Chittagong Hill Tracts should be avoided by all tourists as they have experienced political unrest and violence in the past.

    Theft and armed robbery are problems, especially in poor urban areas. Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common and directed at foreigners. Travellers should avoid walking or taking public transport at night because of crime.

    However, city transport can be dangerous due to road and traffic conditions at all times. Ferry trips also suffer fatalities every year. Monsoon-season cyclones and flooding are a threat, especially in coastal regions and near rivers.

    Local Customs:

    The left hand is considered unclean and generally isn't used to greet people or pass food. It is common to eat with one's hands.

    Women dress conservatively and often don't shake hands with men in greetings. People are addressed with a suffix denoting their relative age, so addressing unknown people as older brother or sister is common.

    Bangladesh is an Islamic and a male-dominated society, despite having prominent women in government.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Bangladesh is +88. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom) and city codes are in use (e.g. 2 for Dhaka). Most cell phones work on a GSM network with prepaid SIM cards.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Bangladesh may bring with them 200 Cigarettes, 50 Cigars or 225g of tobacco. Travellers are also granted an amount of perfume reasonable for personal use, and gifts of up to 500BDT in value. Non-Muslims may have two bottles of liquor.

    Bangladesh Embassies:

    Bangladesh Embassy, Washington DC, United States of America: +1 202 244 0183.

    Bangladesh High Commission, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7584 0081.

    Bangladesh High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 0138.

    Bangladesh Embassy, Canberra, Australia:+61 2 6290 0511.

    Bangladesh High commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 343 2105.

    Bangladesh Consulate, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 302 0545.

    Foreign Embassies in Bangladesh :

    Embassy of the United States of America, Dhaka: +880 2 5566 2000.

    British High Commission, Dhaka: +880 2 55668700.

    Canadian High Commission, Dhaka: +88 2 55668444.

    Australian High Commission, Dhaka: +880 2 58813101.

    South African High Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka: +94 11 246 3000.

    Ireland Embassy, New Delhi, India: +91 11 4940 3200.

    New Zealand High Commission, New Delhi: +91 11 4688 3170.

    Bangladesh Emergency Numbers : Ambulance, fire, police: 999
    Bangladesh