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  • Overview

    Anyone visiting Bangladesh can look forward to a storybook setting of famous rivers, ancient ruins and arresting religious sites. The country's tourism infrastructure is still relatively undeveloped, so adventurous travellers can expect a captivating and authentic experience.

    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 that is as intimidating as it is intoxicating. Fortunately, locals are renowned for their friendliness and their inquisitive streak, which, along with delicious Bengali cuisine, go a long way to making travellers feel welcome.

    The Sundarbans National Park lies south of Dhaka and is famous for its mangrove forests, and for being 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 remains of the Buddhist monastic complex at Paharpur (the most spectacular pre-Islamic monument in Bangladesh), 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, but travellers can still enjoy themselves. All told, it's a place to relax and open up to new ways of being, rather than tick off sights.

    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: The airport has a selection of car hire companies.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available for transfers into the city.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include first aid, foreign exchange and ATMs.
    Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
    Location: Five miles (8km) 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: A host of Bangladeshi car rental companies are available.
    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 and Chittagong. Travellers will find moneychangers at Dhaka airport, as well as at most top-end hotels and banks in big cities.

    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:

    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, and anyone heading to rural communities and the outdoors will need immunisations for rabies and Japanese encephalitis as well.

    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.

    It's best to seek help outside the country for serious conditions.

    Tipping:

    Tipping in Bangladesh is not expected but welcome.

    Safety Information:

    Bangladesh is generally safe and few visitors encounter serious crime during their stay. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing occur on crowded buses and at busy markets, but are less common than in other parts of Asia. Visitors can minimise risk even further by concealing jewellery (or not wearing any), travelling during the day, and avoiding public transport if they're exploring alone.

    The country has a history of political violence and the domestic situation can become tense. Aggression is very rarely directed at foreigners but travellers should look out for warnings in the media before visiting. The Chittagong Hill Tracts as well as the Myanmar and Indian borders have turned violent in the recent past, so travellers should think carefully before visiting these regions.

    Poor road and traffic conditions make city transport dangerous, while ferries are often perilously overcrowded. Monsoon-season cyclones and flooding are a threat, especially in coastal regions and near rivers.

    Local Customs:

    Food is always consumed with the right hand in Bangladesh and visitors should remember to wash their hands with water after eating. Shoppers can bargain hard in public markets but not in stores, where goods and services have fixed prices; foreigners should apologise if they accidentally touch someone with their feet.

    Local laws, customs and traditions reflect that Bangladesh is a mainly Islamic country, so visitors should ensure that their actions don't cause offense, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Among other things, same-sex relations are illegal and visitors should dress modestly.

    Travellers should also note that Bangladesh is a male-dominated society, despite having prominent women in government.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Bangladesh is +880, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Travellers with unlocked phones can purchase local SIMs; cafes, restaurants, all top-end and most midrange hotels provide free wifi.

    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 (250ml), 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