Bangladesh is a country defined by water and though the country does experience flooding and some extreme weather, the rivers of Bangladesh (the Padma, Jamuna and the Meghna as well as hundreds of smaller waterways) bring fertility to this lush part of the world.
This densely populated nation of nearly 150 million people has had its hard times since becoming a country in 1971. But today, investment is being placed in its education and health sectors, and the country is seen as progressive with a promising emerging economy.
The capital city of Dhaka is a teeming metropolis in perpetual motion. It’s one of South Asia’s mega cities, known by some as the City of Mosques and by others as the Rickshaw Capital of the World. Dhaka’s old quarter is fascinating — a swirl of narrow streets and bustling bazaars, mosques and Hindu temples.
Visitors can venture out to the highlands and take a trip up to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Those looking for a beach can visit the longest natural sandy sea beach in the world; Cox’s Bazar. The Sundarbans — the world’s largest mangrove forest — is home to exotic flora and fauna including the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Bangladesh is often a jumping-off point for jaunts around India, Nepal, Thailand or Cambodia.
Bangladesh has a tropical climate with mild weather from October through March and hot, humid days from March to June. Monsoon season runs from June to October. Those planning to travel to Bangladesh are generally advised to make sure their travel insurance covers extreme weather events.
Most tourists book their flights to Bangladesh between November and February. This is classed as winter but it is the best time to go visit. Temperatures are cool, averaging between 12 and 20°C but there is almost no rain, and if you book in advance you can find cheap flights to Bangladesh. You’ll find the beaches more crowded due to the high amount tourists, especially during New Years as tourists flock to the beaches to celebrate.
May to July is the rainy season, and it can be quite dangerous in certain parts of Bangladesh when cyclones batter the country, however it can also be the best time of year to see the spectacular scenery springing to life. A lot of festivals and religious events take place during the summer months, with the biggest of the year at the end of Ramadan. Make sure to secure your flight tickets well in advance if your flights to Bangladesh to coincide with one of these festivals as the prices will be a lot more.
Whenever you want to book your flights to Bangladesh, make sure you start looking around and researching at least 3 or 4 weeks in advance, if not earlier if you can. Being flexible is the key to securing the cheapest flights to Bangladesh, as even during the rainy season cheap flight tickets can be difficult to find due to all of the festivals. You can find the cheapest flights to Bangladesh between November and parts of December, and if you book early on you’ll save even more money. If you do visit during festivals, remember that Bangladesh is a Muslim country and alcohol isn’t appropriate.
The length of your flight to Bangladesh will depend on the country of your departure. A flight from London, England, to Dhaka, Bangladesh will take around 11 hours and 45 minutes. Those flying to Bangladesh from places in Asia have a much shorter flight. For example, the flight time from Hong Kong, China to Dhaka, Bangladesh is only three hours and 35 minutes. Those looking to fly to Bangladesh from the United States will have a long trip that necessarily includes a layover.
The biggest international airport in Bangladesh is the Shahjalal International Airport, located in the capital city of Dhaka. More than 30 major airlines fly into Bangladesh and the Shahjalal International Airport, including Air Asia, China Southern Airlines, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. This airport is also the hub of all Bangladeshi airlines.
When packing for Bangladesh, it is important to evaluate when you are traveling due to fluctuating weather and climate. If you are going during the summer, the weather is hot and humid, and therefore demands lighter clothing. June to October brings the monsoon season, and October to March brings a dry, cool winter; be sure to pack clothing appropriate for the weather.
In addition, as Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country, it would be prudent to pack modest clothes like long skirts and long-sleeved shirts that cover your body. You should pack a sunhat for the summer sun and durable shoes for getting around comfortably. You might also consider packing a bag for carrying essentials, a filtration water bottle and a travel umbrella.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is the main airport for flights to Bangladesh, with Dhaka being one of the most popular destinations there. It is situated 13 miles from the city and there a couple of transport options to get into the city. You can pre-pay for a tax from inside the terminal, and go to the taxi stand outside of the airport. If you just want to take any taxi make sure to agree on a fee before you begin your journey. Drivers are known for overcharging tourists who aren’t experienced travelers in Bangladesh. There is also a fleet of cars, Jeeps and micro shuttles that can take you to popular points and hotels around the city. Finally, you can opt to ride the bus. There is a 5-minute walk down the main road and the buses are a lot cheaper than any other option. That said, after 8:00pm buses are extremely hard to find, and they are always very busy and very hot.
Shah Amanat International Airport (CGP) is in Chittagong, southeastern Bangladesh. It’s Bangladesh’s second-largest airfield. And Osmani International Airport (ZYL) is located northeast of the city of Sylhet in northeastern Bangladesh.
Domestic flights within Bangladesh are affordable, with domestic airlines linking Dhaka with Sylhet, and Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. Taking local buses can be an adventure but there are air-conditioned coaches that connect the country’s most popular destinations. The country’s trains are slow, but rail travel can be a wonderful way to see the countryside.
The best way to see Bangladesh is, of course, from a river, and many operators offer boat and ferry trips. In Dhaka, rickshaws (cycle and auto) are the most popular way of getting around but make sure you settle on a price before your trip begins. Yellow and black taxis are also readily available.
Tourists to Bangladesh are treated to a wide array of attractions. From entering archaeological sites to partaking in all manner of activities on the water and beaches, tourists are afforded the freedom to pursue their interests.
Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is the economic and cultural hub of this diverse country, and it sits near the east bank of the Buriganga River. Here, you should check out the Bashundhara City shopping mall, one of the largest of its kind in the entire world. Arguably the most visited tourist destination in the country, you can find great local stores and cultural goods at the mall. Dhaka also contains many historic structures such as the Ahsan Manzil, a former residential palace of a royal family. Tourists in Dhaka can get off their feet and relax at the beautiful parks and gardens scattered throughout the city.
The northern region of Bangladesh is home to many of the country’s ancient archaeological sites, including a cluster of venerable Hindu temples called the Phutia Temple Complex. Additional historic monuments to visit in Bangladesh include the Suhrawardy Udyan, the Mosque City of Bagerhat and the Lalbagh Fort. The beautiful evergreen forests of Bangladesh mainly reside in the southeast in Chittagong Hills.
Finally, every trip to Bangladesh must include time spent at the impressive local lakes, beaches and islands. Cox’s Bazar is an expansive sandy sea beach, noted as one of the longest in the world. Tourists like to catch the sunset at the popular Patenga sea beach, or walk across the hanging bridge at Kaptai Lake, the largest man-made lake in the country. For even more outdoor excursions by or in the water, more than 30 famous islands are dispersed throughout Bangladesh aside the Bay of Bengal.
If you are looking to fly out of Bangladesh, you will probably want to travel out of the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, though there are two other international airports in the country. A few of the many airlines that fly out of Bangladesh include Air Asia, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. These and other airlines fly to global destinations that include major cities like London, Singapore and Hong Kong. The Shahjalal International Airport can be accessed by bus or car via Airport Road. There is also a railway station directly across from the airport.
(prices quoted are from London)