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Bangladesh Travel, Travel Guide & Tourism

Similar to its big brother India the small country on the Bay of Bengal has struggled considerably with its image in recent years. Above all, the situation of the textile workers and the country's political instability have led to a certain degree of skepticism towards Bangladesh as a travel destination on the part of tourists.

Aside from the social and political problems of the small state, tourists can discover and discover numerous sights in the region surrounding India an extremely diverse country get to know which still today largely avoided by mass tourism becomes.

CapitalDhaka
languagesBengali (official language)
Form of governmentParliamentary republic
surface147,570 km²
Residents161 million (~ 1,084 inhabitants per km²)
currencyTaka (BDT)
Telephone area code+880
Time zoneUTC + 6
National flag

Bangladesh flag

In addition to a rich culture and the many historical attractions can also inspire Bangladesh with some breathtaking natural spectacles. The country is also an ideal stopover on a trip from South Asia to the Southeast Asian region or as a starting point for tours to the surrounding states. The well-developed infrastructure also allows vacationers to explore the remote areas of Bangladesh.

Since there has been no major international tourism in the country so far, it is necessary to deal with some basic customs and a range of information in advance so that the planned trip can be mastered without hurdles and remains in positive memory.

With a size of almost 148,000 km², the country is only about half the size of Germany, but with a population of around 161 million it has twice as many inhabitants as the Federal Republic. The capital - and at the same time the tourist center of the country - is the six million city of Dhaka.

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Cities and sights

The main cities, regions and attractions in Bangladesh.

Dhaka

The centrally located capital of the country with around six million inhabitants is also the largest metropolis in the country. In addition to various entertainment and leisure activities, there are also various historical sights to discover in and around the city.

Dhakeshwari Temple

Despite its simplicity, the Dhakeshwari Temple is one of the city's most important attractions. The famous house of God is considered to be Dhaka's oldest Hindu temple and is dedicated to the ten-armed goddess Dhakeshwari.

National parliament

The national parliament of Bangladesh, which was designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn and the concrete expert August E. Komendant, also acts as a tourist magnet.

More attractions in Dhaka

These are other cultural sights Fort Lalbag, the Ahsan Manzi Palace or that Bangladesh National Museum as well as the Tara mosque or the Sixty Dome Mosque.

Visitors can take a relaxed stroll in the Ramna Park or around the Dhanmondi lake.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for bargains, other items or ingredients of any kind, you should visit the “New Market” in the Azimpur district in the north of Dhaka. The Rajendrapur National Park is also located around 50 kilometers north of the city.

Sonargaon

The is about 30 kilometers southeast of Dhaka historical city Sonargaon. The city was one of the first capitals in the country and impresses visitors with its ancient buildings and a very special atmosphere.

In addition to the city itself, the main tourist attractions are the Goaldia Mosque and the Folklore Museum. For travelers staying in Dhaka, a visit to the historic city should be an absolute must.

Sylhet

The city in the northeast of the country is mainly for their impressive tea plantations known as well as for the natural beauty their environment. The center of tea cultivation is the place Srimangal, which is around 80 kilometers south of Sylhet. There are also various mausoleums and mosques in the city, which attract a large number of pilgrims every year.
The old royal city of Jaintiapur, whose ruins are a popular excursion destination, is also just 40 kilometers from Sylhet.

Chittagong

The city in the south of the country has various attractions and sights. In addition to numerous mosques and minarets, there are a number of museums here as well as various leisure activities. The Shai-Jama-e-Masjid Mosque, the Qadam Mubarek Mosque and the Shah Amanat Dragah Shrine are of particular touristic importance.

It is also located in Chittagong the longest beach in the world.

The city is internationally known for its sights, but primarily for its Ship Breaking Yards (Chittagong Ship Breaking). Here, tankers and other ships are dismantled piece by piece, often at risk to their own lives.

The Sundarbans

The Sundarbans are the largest mangrove forests on earth. Numerous threatened species live in the swamps of the approximately 10,000 km² nature reserve (of which about 6,000 km² are in Bangladesh and 4,000 km² in India). Among other things, you can still find some here wild tigers. Parts of the forests are counted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. An ideal starting point to visit the mangrove forests is the town of Khulna, which is around 100 kilometers north of the Sundarbans.

Ruined city of Paharpur

The city was once a major intellectual center for Buddhists, Hindus, and Jainas. Particularly noteworthy are the Ruins of the old Buddhist monastery and the associated facility as well as the stupa that stands in the center of the former monastery.

There are also a number of other stupas and shrines of various sizes and shapes on the site. The finds from the excavations also include various terracotta tablets and stone sculptures, inscriptions, coins and various ceramics. The historical ruins have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bagerhat

The Mosque city Bagerhat was founded in the 15th century by the Turkish general Khan Jahan Ali under the Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah and has also been a member since 1985 UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attraction of the city is Sixty-Pillar Mosque.

In addition, Bagerhat is now a popular starting point for tourists of Muslim faith, for which the tomb of General Khan Jahan Ali acts as a kind of pilgrimage site. The historic city is located around 25 kilometers southwest of the city of Khulna.

Khulna

Although the city with its almost 1.3 million inhabitants is rather uninteresting from a tourist point of view, travelers can also spend some entertaining days here. In addition to the usual leisure activities that one would expect from a city of this size, there are several smaller sights of historical interest in Khulna.

But above all, the city is a ideal starting point for excursions to the important mosque town of Bagerhat and the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans.

Dhamrai

Dhamrai is part of the Dakha district and is around 40 kilometers south of the capital. Here there are countless Hindu temples as well as some mosques. The most popular building is the Dhamrai Jagannath Roth, a Hindu temple that was built in honor of the god Jagannatha. The Ratha Yatra takes place here once a year. A festival, also in honor of the god Jagannatha, which regularly attracts hundreds of believers.

history

In the middle of the 17th century, the north of the Indian subcontinent was under the rule of the Mongols. The years under the then ruler Aurangzeb were marked by unrest and conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, which finally heralded the breakup of the Mongul Empire.

British rule

From the northwest, Afghanistan invaded India, while on the rest of the subcontinent, French, British and Portuguese forces fought for supremacy in the entire Indian region and supported various sides in the struggle for succession. It soon became clear that the British advance on India could no longer be stopped. The fate of the country was finally sealed after British forces defeated the Bengali at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and thus laid the foundation for British rule in the country. In the years to come, the influence of the British grew accordingly East India Company on the entire empire.

Towards the end of the 18th century, South India and the Ganges plain fell under British rule, followed by Central and Northeast India and the Punjab Province in 1849. Only the current state of Goa went to the Portuguese.
The rule of the British Crown, or the East India Company, brought some profound changes to which the peasant population and many Indian mercenaries finally responded in 1857 with a violent rebellion against the British Crown. However, the insurgents had little to counter the well-trained British troops, so that the spreading rebellion could already be contained in the next year. That same year it was British India then became a formal crown colony. Queen Victoria was finally made Empress of the country a few years later (1877). However, rule in the country was taken over by a viceroy appointed by the queen.

Hindus and Muslims in Bengal revolt

In the following years both Hindus and Muslims began to organize themselves in order to be able to fight for their rights stronger than ever. At first, the beginning of the new century did not have a good star. After the partition of the province of Bengal, riots broke out and there were protests and major riots. The demand for a stronger say and even a government of its own increased, so that the British crown could soon no longer ignore the demands. The solution was a Constitutional reform carried out, which assured the common population an extended say.

The years of the First World War were marked by further clashes between the various camps, some of which were bloodily suppressed. Nevertheless, the Indian Congress and the Muslim League managed to organize themselves together and wrested clear concessions from the British crown. After the end of World War II, the British government decided to withdraw from India. In addition, a Muslim state should emerge from Indian territory.

Division of India

On 14./15. In August 1947, British India was finally divided into India and the newly formed state of Pakistan. Pakistan, in turn, was composed of West Pakistan (today's Pakistan) and East Pakistanwhich is now known as Bangladesh. The following years were determined by tensions and conflicts between West and East Pakistan, which finally erupted in the 1971 war in Bangladesh. West Pakistan tried to militarily put a stop to the separation efforts of the East, but could not prevail due to the intervention of India, which supports East Pakistan.

Bangladesh is born

In December 1971, East Pakistan finally gained independence under international law. The state was renamed Bangladesh and in the coming months it was accepted by a large number of other states, until finally Pakistan also legally recognized the country in February 1974.

The first two decades of the newly formed state were marked by political tensions and upheavals as well as a series of coups and counter-coups until the country finally returned to a parliamentary democracy after a popular uprising in 1990, which, however, stood on shaky legs. There are always unrest in the country between the different political camps. In 2007 there were riots again, which led to new elections in December 2008, which the Awami League won.

visa

German citizens need a visa to enter Bangladesh. Such a visa can be applied for at the relevant diplomatic mission abroad. Depending on the purpose of the trip, there are different visas for tourists, business travelers, long-term stays or work stays.

Landing permit upon entry

Under certain conditions, German nationals can receive a landing permit for a stay of 15 days when entering via the international airport in Dhaka. Private travelers need a for this special visa Invitation from a Bengali citizenwhich must be presented. Business travelers must accordingly have a Invitation of the business partner show.

Route Changes Permission for leaving the country by land

Travelers who want to travel overland after their stay in Bangladesh need a "Route Changes Permission", which is issued by the Department of Passports and Immigration in Dhaka.

Issuance of the visa for Bangladesh in Germany

Depending on the federal state, different agencies are responsible for processing the visa.
Anyone interested can contact the embassy of the People's Republic of Bangladesh regardless of the state.

Embassy of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Dovestrasse 1 (5th floor)
10587 Berlin
Opening times: Mon - Fri 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

  • If you live in Bremen or Lower Saxony, you can contact the Honorary Consul of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Bremen at Martinistraße 58.
  • The Honorary Consul General of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Munich, Wittelsbacherplatz 1, is responsible for Baden Württemberg and Bavaria.
  • Interested parties from Hamburg and Schleswig Holstein can also contact the Honorary Consul General of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Hamburg at Billhorner Kanalstrasse 69.
  • The Honorary Consul of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Frankfurt am Main, Schnappbornweg 75, is responsible for the state of Hesse.
  • Interested parties from Brandenburg or Saxony can contact the Honorary Consul of the People's Republic of Bangladesh in Potsdam at Eisenhartstrasse 2.

To enter Bangladesh, travelers need either a passport or at least a temporary passport in addition to the corresponding visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 more months after leaving Bangladesh. Children need their own passport to enter the country.

Weather and climate

Bangladesh can be assigned to the tropical climate zone and lies in the area of ​​influence of the southwest monsoon with increasing amounts of precipitation from west to east. In the centrally located capital Dhaka, temperatures reach their peak values ​​in the months between March and June with maximum values ​​of around 35 ° C in April.

Significant rainfall falls between April and October. In the months of June, July and August these even increase to over 300 mm. This can cause flooding from June to October. In addition, the humidity can rise to up to 85% during these months. In the south of the country, hurricanes can also be expected from October to November and from April to May.

The best time to travel to Bangladesh is usually between the end of November and the beginning of March. Many hours of sunshine and yet moderate temperatures with little rainfall and average humidity are a pleasant mixture for a trip to the region, especially for Western Europeans.

Money and currency

The national currency in Bangladesh is the Bengali taka.

to exchange money

Travelers who introduce cash have the option of exchanging the money directly at the international airport as well as at some banks, exchange offices or in a few of the larger hotels in Taka. However, the banks in the big cities such as Dhaka, Khulnet or Chittagong are most likely to change euros or US dollars into the local currency.

Exchange offices often offer a slightly better exchange rate, but they are not always entirely reliable. On the other hand, it is advantageous that you can also change taka back into US dollars before you leave the country. Travelers should carry US dollars with them as the ideal currency for exchange. Although some banks also accept the euro, US dollars are more commonly accepted. The same also applies to the exchange of travelers' checks.

Pay by credit card

The use of credit cards is also only possible to a very limited extent in Bangladesh. Especially in the big cities of Dhaka, Khulnet and Chittagong or even Sylhet, holidaymakers have the option of paying with the credit card in some restaurants, in the large hotels and in some shops. Payment with the Visa or Mastercard is the most common. Some hotels and shops also accept American Express.

Withdraw money with credit card

Withdrawing cash with a credit card is a little more problematic. Although there are cash machines or ATMs in the larger cities, they often do not accept foreign credit cards. The Visa card is most likely to be accepted. The ATMs of Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Dutch-Bangla Bank have the best chances of successfully withdrawing money.

Ideally, you should change the amount that you will probably need for the trip immediately after entering the country. Since exchange offices offer the possibility of exchanging the local currency back into at least US dollars, you can also exchange it generously after entering the country with a clear conscience. Incidentally, unlike in Germany, banks are usually only open until 3 p.m.
Foreign currencies can be imported up to an amount of USD 5000 (or the equivalent) without declaration.

The current exchange rate is:
€ 1 = 106.9 taka (BDT)
5 € = 533.9 BDT (as of January 2014)

accommodation

Although the number of hotels in Bangladesh is manageable, finding accommodation is usually not a problem. From various inexpensive "dismantling" (unfortunately often with the appropriate hygiene) to a large number of middle-class hotels to the few luxury hotels in the country, every traveler can find the right accommodation in Bangladesh according to his budget. Those who are willing to pay a slightly higher price can also spend the night extremely comfortably during their stay in Bangladesh.

Accommodation in the country can be found for less than 2 euros. However, these are usually shared rooms or dormitories with only one mattress on the floor. The sanitary facilities are accessible to everyone and hygiene, comfort and, unfortunately, safety are not particularly important.

Simple but clean single rooms are available for less than 10 euros. However, you shouldn't expect too much comfort here either, especially since not every room has its own bathroom.

You can find really good single rooms in the capital Dhaka from 25 euros. Comfortable beds, clean rooms as well as own sanitary facilities, TV and often WiFi are part of the standard equipment. From 50 euros you can expect a high level. For 90 euros and more, you can finally enjoy a 4 or 5 star hotel in Bangladesh, which as a rule have similar facilities as in the west.

Book hotels

Many of the larger hotels can be booked through one of the popular online providers without any problems. Alternatively, one can find on the website of the "Bangladesh Tourism Board“A good overview of accommodations. From here you can also be forwarded to the homepage of the "Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation" (BPC), the state tourism company that actually operates a hotel or motel in every major city. In addition, the BPC website offers a good overview of all government and non-government accommodations as well as the various holiday resorts in the country. While the hotels of the BPC can be booked directly on the site, the private accommodations, hotels and holiday resorts are only listed with their dates. The "Hotel Bangladesh - First Bangladesh Hotel Directory" offers a remedy here, on whose website other accommodations can also be booked.
Since the contact addresses of the accommodations are also given on the BPC website, anyone interested is of course free to contact the desired hotel personally.

getting there

The journey to Bangladesh can usually be accomplished by plane from Germany or by plane, bus or train from India.

Arriving by plane

Have vacationers from Germany No possibility to travel to Bangladesh via direct flight. However, there are various flights with one or two stopovers that fly from various German airports to the international airport near the capital Dhaka. These include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines. It is also possible to travel to Bangladesh from various other Asian countries. Low-cost airlines such as United Airways (the only low-cost airline from Bangladesh), Malindo Air from Malaysia or Mihin Lanka from Sri Lanka can also be used here.

Dhaka Airport

TheHazrat Shahjalal International Airport is located around 17 kilometers north of the capital. Two of the three terminals are used for international air traffic. The airport is about that Airport Road connected with Dhaka. There is a car rental company directly at the airport. Furthermore, travelers have the option to get to Dhaka by taxi or bus.

The is also directly opposite the airport Airport Railway Stationwhich is accessible from Airport Road. From here trains run not only to the Kamalapur Railway Station, the main railway station of Bangladesh, but also to various other major cities such as Chittagong and Sylhet. Tickets for the trains can be bought directly at the station.

Arriving by train

In addition to traveling from India by plane, tourists can also traveling by train from India to Bangladesh. The route of the Maitree Express runs from the Bengali capital Dhaka to the Indian Calcutta. The train stops on the border with India in Darchana (where the train and staff is changed) and on the Indian side in Gede.

Since the Bengali section of the route is not electrified, we are still driving on this route Diesel locomotives, which usually takes around 11 hours to cover the 375-kilometer route. The route is driven twice a week. Tickets cannot be ordered in advance, but must be purchased at the relevant sales counters at the train stations, for which the passport and a visa for India must be presented.

Getting around in the country

Although Bangladesh does not necessarily have the most advanced transport infrastructure, all interesting destinations in the country can be reached with the help of bus, train, car, plane and especially by boat or ferry.

Airplane, domestic flights

The country has three international airports, of which only Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport near Dhaka actually accepts worldwide flights. The two international airports in Chittagong and Sylhet, on the other hand, tend to concentrate on flights from Asia.

In addition to the three major airports there are still five other airfields that are used for national air traffic:

  • Barisal in the south,
  • Cox’s Bazaar in the southeast,
  • Jessore in the west,
  • the Shah Makhdum Airport near the city of Rajshahi
  • and Saidpur up north.

There are currently four airlines that regularly serve national air traffic.

  • Biman Bangladesh Airline is the oldest airline in the country
  • followed by United Airways,
  • Regent Airways
  • and since 2013 the new operator NovoAir has also been offering domestic flights.

The cost of a flight is quite moderate, so that it can be worthwhile to use one of the local airlines for longer routes. Due to the not always optimal road conditions and the outdated trains, you can also save time on this route.

go by train

A The Bangladesh Railway offers a good and comparatively comfortable way to explore the country. The somewhat outdated rail network connects most of the larger cities and is also a cheap alternative to air travel.

However, if you decide to travel by train, you should bring enough time. Due to the not always ideal track layout and the different track widths, but also due to the fact that there are no railway bridges over many of the numerous rivers, a train journey on some routes can take twice as much time as a journey by bus.
As usual, there are also different comfort classes in Bangladesh. For foreigners, it is better to use the first and second class wagons.

Intercity

Basically, it can be said that the Intercity trains (IC) are quite reliable and clean.

First class

The first class offers one especially on long journeys acceptable comfort. The wagons are equipped with seats facing each other, which are separated from each other by a table. In addition, you will find quite comfortable reclining seats in the first class, of course only at corresponding prices. However, travelers should note that not every IC has air conditioning. If the train has air-conditioned wagons, these should also be reserved, as it can get uncomfortably hot on longer journeys. It is also important to note that the First class wagons fully booked relatively quickly are. You should therefore make a reservation several days in advance.

For a reclining seat in first class in an air-conditioned wagon, travelers pay the equivalent of around 6.50 euros. A normal seat in a wagon with air conditioning costs around 4.50 euros and a simple seat in a first class wagon without air conditioning costs just under 3.00 euros.

Second grade

In the second class, the rows of seats are also opposite each other, but without a table being separated from each other. The second class can also be divided into wagons that are released for reservations and those that can also be used spontaneously. Unless you have made a reservation in advance, however, you should be prepared for the enormous number of wagons. For a seat in one of the compartments that require a reservation, travelers pay around 1.60 euros.

There are actually no dining cars, however, there are staff on most trains selling small snacks or serving tea.

Sleeping compartments for longer distances only available on night trains. However, the prices are around 40% higher than the cost of a first class ticket.

Regional train

In addition to the intercity trains, there are also regional trains. These are mostly atark overcrowded and not very comfortable, but the prices are unbeatable. Even so, journeys that last longer than 30 minutes are likely to be quite uncomfortable for most tourists.

It is an enormous advantage when planning the trip that Tickets for the train can now also be ordered in advance via the Internet. It is possible to purchase a ticket online via the official website of the Bangladesh Railway under the menu item “purchase e-ticket”. To do this, however, you first have to create a free account.

Of course, tickets can also be bought at the appropriate counters in the train stations. With regional trains, however, travelers should know that the Do not open the ticket counter before the train has arrived. In addition, the timetables displayed are not always correct or are completely missing. If you have any questions, you should contact the staff. At least at the larger train stations you will mostly find employees who also speak English.

Ride the bus

Driving a bus in Bangladesh is a real adventure, however, is in many cases the faster alternative to the train. However, the bus is not necessarily the first choice when it comes to long journeys. At least the ordinary buses are often overcrowded and do not have air conditioning, which can be extremely uncomfortable on longer journeys. However, there are also different comfort classes for buses, of which the larger coaches are the most comfortable.

Roads in Bangladesh

The country has a decent road network. Asphalted roads connect all the larger cities, but in rural regions there are also often unpaved roads, which means that traveling in the less developed tourist regions can be quite uncomfortable at times. At river crossings, the buses usually take a ferry, as there are often no roads suitable for traffic. Occasionally there are longer waiting times, which usually makes the trip unnecessarily long. Occasionally you get off the bus for the crossing and get on the other side of the river in a vehicle from the same company.

Coaches and intercity buses

The stops of the popular intercity buses are usually a little outside the city, while the headquarters of the larger private companies with their more expensive, air-conditioned buses are usually close to the center. The tickets for these coaches must be booked in these main offices.

In contrast to the common intercity buses, the large coaches have comfortable seats with sufficient legroom. There are also fixed departure times, which are usually adhered to. However, the actual speed of travel hardly differs from that of a conventional bus; in fact, the normal intercity buses often drive faster and also riskier, which can sometimes lead to dramatic accidents.

A distinction is also made between air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses, with the cost of a ticket being about twice as much for the former. Some bus companies also offer drinks and small snacks during the journey. For long distances, many coaches run from the capital Dhaka during the night, which on the one hand saves time, but on the other hand can also lead to dangerous traffic situations due to the not always optimal road conditions.

The normal intercity buses are usually much more spartan than the large coaches, which is particularly noticeable in the legroom. Women who are traveling alone sit in the front area, while women accompanied by men usually sit in the back half of the bus. For some sights it is necessary to use the local bus companies. These are usually very cheap, but also hardly offer any comfort. In addition, it is not always entirely unproblematic to actually get the right bus, as there is often a lack of timetables or these are simply not adhered to.

Driving a car, rental car

If you want to explore the country on your own without being dependent on public transport, you can rent a car and driver or with the own Drive a car (in Bangladesh only vehicles with a driver can be rented).

An air-conditioned vehicle costs around 30 euros a day. In addition, however, there is petrol money and a lump sum for the driver. Car rental companies can be found in the larger cities such as Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna or Sylhet. In the smaller cities, however, it can be problematic to find a rental, especially if you value an air-conditioned car.

Anyone who actually brings their own car to Bangladesh, should clarify this in advance with his insurance company and possibly take out additional insurance in the country. However, driving on your own is generally not recommended. On the one hand, this is due to the Left-hand traffic, on the other hand, on the road conditions and the increased volume of traffic, which can often lead to enormous traffic jams, especially in metropolitan areas. In addition, the Road traffic mostly very chaotic to, which is mainly due to the fact that any traffic regulations are hardly observed. In the event of an accident, problems can also arise with the country's judiciary, which is not always entirely trustworthy, which usually results in enormous financial losses or even more serious penalties.

Ship and ferries

Bangladesh has numerous rivers and bodies of water. With more than 8000 kilometers of navigable waterways Traveling by ship is a common way of getting around the country.

Bangladesh Rocket Boat

The "Rocket" paddle steamers operate on one Route between the capital Dhaka and Khulna (and vice versa) in the south of the country with stops in Chandpur, Barisal and Mongla as well as in other smaller ports. The entire journey takes just under 30 hours and offers a varied alternative to traveling by bus or train. Except on Fridays, one of the ferries in Dhaka leaves the terminal at 6:00 p.m. every day. Foreign tourists who book a trip are usually automatically booked in first class, as it is generally assumed that western visitors have the appropriate financial resources.

There are single and double cabins as well as a dining room in which meals are served (which, however, is not included in the fare). However, there are no separate sanitary facilities available, but there is a washbasin in all rooms. The second class is much simpler. The rooms have neither sinks nor proper beds.However, as mentioned before, as a tourist you will usually be accommodated in first class, often regardless of whether you want it or not.

buy tickets

Tickets can be bought in Dhaka at the BIWTC (Bangladesh Inland Waterway Transport Corporation) office in the Motijheel district. Tickets must be booked in advance. The starting point for the trip is the Sadarghat Terminal on the Buriganga River or, in some cases, the Badam Tole Terminal, which is about a kilometer up the river.

More ferries in Bangladesh

In addition to the "Rocket" boats, there are other ferries that travel the numerous rivers in the country. Problematic for visitors who want to navigate the smaller tributaries, however, is the fact that you can hardly find out when and where the various ferries stop and where they continue to without knowledgeable acquaintance on site. There are neither correct timetables nor specific stops.

In addition to using ferries to bridge long distances, you will also often have to rely on boats to cross rivers, as in many cases there are no navigable bridges. However, this becomes problematic during the rainy months between April and October.

Taxis and rickshaws

In all major cities there is an army of taxis and mostly rickshaws for local transportation. Traveling within the city is very affordable and usually much more comfortable than using public buses. However, the manned vehicles are not worthwhile for longer distances, as they are designed exclusively for local traffic.

Cell phone, smartphone, internet

European cell phones and smartphones also work in Bangladesh. If you want to avoid the high roaming fees, you should get a local SIM card. There are a number of cellular providers in the country of which Grameenphone (also roaming partner for T-Mobil, E-Plus and O2) is the market leader. A SIM card costs between 2 and 3 euros. With many providers (Teletalk, Gremaphone, Bangalink, TM International) it is also possible to use the mobile Internet. The additional costs are around 5 euros per month with a maximum data volume of 5 GB. In addition to Teletalk, the market leader now also offers Grameenphone 3G.

Buy a Sim Card in Bangladesh

Sim cards from the market leader can be bought in many supermarkets. You can also find cell phone shops in all major cities that sell prepaid cards. Officially, you need a passport to buy a local card, but not all sellers insist on this procedure.

Wi-Fi hotspots and internet cafes

In addition to the possibility of using your own cell phone or smartphone, Internet cafes can be found in most cities, where you can surf the World Wide Web on favorable terms. There are also the so-called call shops, which can also be found in the country's smaller towns and from where you can make international phone calls at very affordable prices. Meanwhile, some of the larger hotels also have free WiFi in the rooms or at least in the public areas of the complex.
If you prefer to communicate in the traditional way, you should use the Bengali Post. You can find branches in every city.

eat

Eating together is an important part of the culture in Bangladesh. Because of its geographical locations, the food is in the country strongly influenced by Indian cuisine, but meat is much more common in Bangladesh than is the case in the neighboring country.

Typical dishes and ingredients in Bangladesh

Typical of the country are Rice dishes that are prepared with chicken, lamb or fish. Due to the numerous bodies of water and the location on the Bay of Bengal, you can also play fish and seafood a decisive role in the Bengali cuisine, vegetables are often found as a side dish. The use of legumes is also very popular. As a rule, all dishes are spicy. Garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric or chilli are most commonly found in various dishes. For desserts, on the other hand, cinnamon or cardamom are often used.

Southern cuisine

As in many Asian countries, Bengali cuisine in its entirety is determined by different regional cuisines. The south coast of the country borders the Bay of Bengal. Because of the proximity to the sea come here heaped seafood used in the preparation of meals. The dried fish Shutki is particularly popular.

Northeastern cuisine

In the north-east of the country is often due to the numerous waters with Freshwater fish worked. In addition, due to its close proximity to the Indian state of Assam, you can often find it here fresh or pickled vegetables and a range of different fruits.

Kitchen in central Bangladesh

In the center of the country, the cuisine around the capital Dhaka determines the culinary climate of the region. In contrast to most of the other provinces of Bangladesh, one can find here reinforces influences from the Persian and Arab regions.

Traditional dishes

Traditional Bengali cuisine can be found primarily in the north and northwest of the country. Often in this region Vegetable curry on the menu, which is usually heavily seasoned and also has a significantly higher degree of spiciness than is the case in other regional kitchens. In addition to meat, the preparation of freshwater fish also plays a role in the northwest.

The numerous desserts that are popular as dessert be served. In particular, sweet confectionery-like delicacies such as Sandesh or the now popular drink yoghurts Lassi are on the daily menu.

Tea is considered the national drink of the country. In contrast, alcohol is practically not drunk in the country due to the prevailing Islamic laws.

Prices for food

The prices in Bangladesh are very moderate. You can get a full meal for less than two euros. In the more upscale restaurants, depending on the dish, you have to plan around five euros for a dish. Basically, it can be said that the cost of living in the capital Dhaka is a little higher than in the rest of the country.

behaviour rules

Almost 90% of the population of Bangladesh belong to Islam, followed by around 9% Hindus and a minimal proportion of Buddhists and Christians. Due to the strong social influence of Islam, appropriate rules of conduct should be observed.

As everywhere in the world, one should refrain from being conspicuous and disrespectful to the locals. In addition to the basic rules of politeness, this also includes avoiding loud public criticism, be it because of a certain incident or because of basic things such as politics or social conditions.

Dress code

The stumbling block of the public offense is often the clothing, or rather the lack of clothing. Basically, people tend to be covered in the country. This is especially true for women who should actually always wear long trousers or long skirts and appropriate tops. Shirts with spaghetti straps are taboo. You should also follow these rules when bathing. Wearing thongs or even topless bathing are not welcome at all and can quickly lead to uncomfortable, sometimes even dangerous situations.

Clothing in the temple and in the mosque

Special regulations also apply to visiting temples. Both men and women should wear long clothes here. You must also take off your shoes before visiting a mosque. Since the feet are also considered an unworthy part of the body in Bangladesh, shoes should also be removed before visiting a private house.

Behavior when invited to dinner

When eating, you often sit cross-legged. It is important that the soles of the feet do not point to the host or to any of the other guests or to an image of saints or gods. If you have been invited, it is advisable to bring the host a small gift. However, giving money is considered very impolite. By the way, people eat with their hands in the country.

In rural regions, the locals often react to tourists with distance and sometimes with rejection. It goes without saying that before taking a photo, you should ask the person in question whether he or she agrees with it.
The display of public affection in the country is frowned upon, and sexual acts between men are even punishable.

Language and communication

The official language in the country is Bengali and is spoken by around 98% of the local population. English is also relatively widespread as a business language among the upper class and parts of the middle class, but this does not mean that communication in Bangladesh is problem-free. While you can still make yourself understood with English relatively often in the big cities, there are hardly any locals who speak foreign languages ​​in regions that are not open to tourism.

Even more problematic is the fact that in particular in the smaller towns the hotels and shops, but also the authorities or other official institutions, are not titled in Latin script so that in many cases it is not clear what kind of building it is that one is currently standing in front of. The same also applies to road and traffic signs.

Not all taxi and rickshaw drivers speak or understand English. Before getting in, you should therefore make sure that your driver has actually understood where you are going. The staff at the reception of the larger hotels often speak English and can help you with many questions. Basically, it is a good idea to make a list of the most important addresses in Bengali with the help of the staff so that they can be shown to the driver in the event of insurmountable language problems. A map can also be helpful in such cases.

Night life, party

The nightlife in Bangladesh cannot be compared in any way with that in Germany. There is actually no club scene or discos in the country. Only a few bars and restaurants are still open in the later evening hours. However, it must also be noted here that only a few pubs in the country actually serve alcohol and usually only to foreigners. There are a few specialty shops where alcohol can be bought, but only after presenting your passport and often under strange circumstances.

The best chance to spend a boozy evening is in the large western-style hotels, which often have a hotel bar and serve alcohol to guests. In some university towns you can sometimes find a few bars around the campus. Alcohol is often not served here either, but the atmosphere there is usually quite lively. Another way to provide a little entertainment in the evening is a visit to the night markets, where numerous food stalls offer their delicacies after sunset.

Travel and safety information

The Federal Foreign Office has published some information that vacationers should consider before traveling to Bangladesh.

General safety information

The security situation in Bangladesh, especially in the capital Dhaka, can be tense due to political and religious unrest. Before leaving, travelers should therefore follow the safety instructions from the Federal Foreign Office and follow the media reports on the situation in the country.
As a matter of principle, large gatherings of people should be avoided. This applies to political and religiously motivated strikes and demonstrations as well as to the time after the weekly Friday prayers between 1 p.m. and sunset.

crime

When using public transport (Train, bus, ferry, rickshaw) caution is advised, as in the past such situations have repeatedly resulted in theft and robberies. Particular care should be taken after dark. In 2013 there were frequent attacks on rickshaws. Women were often the victims of robbery and theft. Even those who walk after nightfall are exposed to a certain risk. In addition, as in India, there are repeated sexual assaults on women in Bangladesh. Foreign women are not exempt from this either.

Crime in the country has increased. This also applies to the districts of Gulschan, Baridhara and Banani in Dhaka that are inhabited by foreigners. Initially announced security measures to prevent this have not yet been implemented.

Beggars and traders at the major intersections can be a problemespecially when they occur in groups. Often people try to steal valuables through open windows or unlocked doors. In addition, cases of food poisoning have become known in which the drugged victims were robbed. This not only applies to food but also to water bottles. Street stalls and food stalls should therefore be approached with a certain degree of caution.

Natural disasters, earthquakes

Because of its proximity to India, Bangladesh is also earthquake prone. If you are in a building during the quake, it is advisable to seek shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture. Since there is a certain risk of being injured by falling objects, those affected should not leave their respective shelter during the entire period.

Those affected who are outdoors, on the other hand, are advised to find a free space away from buildings, power lines or other objects as soon as possible. Although most major quakes originate in India, the effects of such natural disasters are often clearly felt in Bangladesh as well.

In addition, it can be from June to October too Floods come. In the south of the country, hurricanes can also be expected from October to November and from mid-April to mid-May.

Special customs regulations

Flammable liquids, chemicals, weapons of all kinds and ammunition may only be imported with a corresponding import permit from the Bengali Ministry of the Interior.

Motor vehiclesthat are older than four years after their initial registration date are not allowed to be imported into Bangladesh. More recent vehicles may only be imported from the country of manufacture. The nationality of the owner and the place of first registration are irrelevant.

Non-Muslims are allowed to import two bottles of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes. Alcohol is forbidden for Muslims. This applies to both consumption and import. The import and possession of any kind of pornography is also prohibited.

The import of precious metals, gemstones and jewelry is subject to duty and allowed up to a maximum weight of 10 kilograms. Violations are punished with imprisonment. Foreign currencies, on the other hand, can be imported without declaration up to an amount of USD 5000 (or the corresponding equivalent).

For further information and specific questions, please contact the embassy of Bangladesh.

Drugs

Travelers found on drugs face draconian penalties. Trade, possession and import and export are strictly prohibited. A minimum of two years' imprisonment will result in possession of even the smallest amount of an illegal substance. From 25 grams of heroin or cocaine or 2 kg of marijuana even the death penalty can be imposed. The transport of objects for third parties without their own knowledge of the contents can also have fatal consequences. Smuggling of any kind can also be punishable by the death penalty.

Special criminal law provisions

Photographing military installations or other security-relevant areas is prohibited. Photographing airports, buildings of public institutions, ministries and authorities as well as members of the security forces or the police can be punished with imprisonment.

Homosexual acts between men are punishable by law. The same applies to the possession of drugs and the disregard of the customs regulations regarding the import of precious metals, gemstones and jewelry.

health

There are no vaccination regulations for direct entry from Germany. However, the Federal Foreign Office recommends the standard vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar of the Robert Koch Institute.

In addition to tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, rubella, whooping cough and influenza, pneumococci and polio, vaccinations against hepatitis A / B and, for longer stays, against rabies and Japanese encephalitis can also be useful.

Dengue fever and malaria

As in most Asian countries, there is an acute risk of infection with dengue fever and malaria in Bangladesh.The disease can be transmitted from person to person through blood contact, but the likelihood of being bitten by an infected mosquito is higher. While dengue fever is transmitted by diurnal mosquitoes, the risk of malaria is more likely in the evening and night.

The symptoms of both infectious diseases are often similar to common flu symptoms. Fever, headache and body aches or even diarrhea are typical symptoms. The incubation period is particularly treacherous in both diseases, so that the first signs sometimes only appear two to three weeks after the bite, although these are often ignored at first. The disease occurs nationwide in Bangladesh and occurs predominantly during the rainy season. At altitudes of around 1500 m, the risk of infection decreases.

Malaria prone regions in Bangladesh

Malaria can occur all year round in Bangladesh, with an accumulation of cases during and after the rainy season. A medium risk of malaria occurs in the eastern parts of the country with a regional accumulation in the border area with Myanmar and India. The Chittagong Division in the southeast and the border with the Indian state of Meghalaya in the northeast are particularly affected. There is a low risk in the western parts of the country with the Ganges Delta. The risk of infection is higher during the rainy season than in the dry season and there is also a risk of transmission in the larger cities during and after the rainy season. Only the capital Dhaka is considered malaria-free. Here, too, the risk of illness decreases from an altitude of around 1500 m. Malaria tropica occurs particularly frequently in Bangladesh and can be fatal for foreigners.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is not unlike the two infectious diseases. Like malaria and dengue, this is also transmitted by mosquitoes and can be fatal. The disease is inflammation of the brain caused by viruses. Waterfowl or pigs can act as vectors without any symptoms being noticed. There is a risk in rural and suburban regions. However, there is a low risk of transmission throughout the country.

The risk of infection is highest between July and December. Since there are no effective medications, preventive vaccinations should be considered in addition to careful mosquito repellent. However, the risk of contracting Japanese encephalitis is far lower than the risk of contracting malaria or dengue fever.

Protection against malaria and dengue fever

Because there are no effective drugs against malaria or dengue fever, some precautions should be taken.

Basically, protective measures against mosquito bites should be taken. Chemoprophylaxis or emergency self-treatment with the help of medication can also be useful. There are a number of prescription drugs available for malaria prophylaxis and self-treatment. For risks and side effects, it is advisable for travelers to discuss the relevant situation with a knowledgeable doctor before departure. However, travelers should import drugs for the treatment from Germany, as counterfeit Indian goods also come onto the market in Bangladesh.

Since both malaria and dengue fever are transmitted by mosquitoes, holidaymakers are generally advised to wear light-colored clothing that covers the body and that is impregnated, to sleep under a mosquito net in the endangered areas and to apply insect repellent at all times of the day.

Kala-Azar / Leishmaniasis

Kala-Azar or Leishmaniasis can through the sand fly from animal to person or from person to person - through contact with infected blood - can be transmitted. Kala-Azar is particularly dangerous in the form of visceral leishmaniasis. In this variant of the disease, the bone marrow and organs are affected, which, if left untreated, is usually fatal. Because it no effective vaccination against leishmaniasis and the disease can also be transmitted by a mosquito, vacationers should consider the safety measures mentioned to prevent malaria and dengue fever. Kala-Azar can occur all year round in Bangladesh.

worms

Another problem is worm diseases, which are also transmitted by mosquitoes. Here, too, the protective measures against mosquito bites must be observed (see Malria and dengue fever).

diarrhea

Diarrhea and even cholera are common in Bangladesh. There are repeated epidemics across the country, some of which are fatal. However, the risk of infection can be drastically minimized by following a few simple basic rules:

  • Vacationers should only drink water of known origin. Water from sealed bottles is the safest option. Under no circumstances should you drink tap water. Even with ice cubes in a restaurant, things can get critical.
  • Due to the quality of the tap water, you should only use bottled drinking water for washing dishes and brushing your teeth.
  • If you cook independently, the food should always be boiled at the appropriate heat or at least peeled yourself. In addition, you should never eat raw meat. Particular care should be taken here with the cookshops and small food stalls.
  • Regular hygiene measures should be strictly observed. The use of soap and disposable towels is absolutely advisable. The same applies to the use of hand disinfectants.

rabies

 

There are also problems in Bangladesh with animals suffering from rabies. Fours in the animals' saliva can spread the infection to other people. The same also applies to human-to-human transmission. If an appropriate wound is not treated promptly and with the right medication, rabies is usually fatal in humans. There is some risk of being bitten by an infected animal throughout Bangladesh. Before starting the trip, tourists should definitely get a rabies vaccination, especially if they are moving outside of the big cities.

tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is becoming increasingly common in Bangladesh and has become a real threat due to the existence of resistant tuberculosis pathogens. While the number of illnesses in India has decreased, cases in Bangladesh have doubled since 1995. Tuberculosis is almost as common in Bangladesh today as it is in India. The transmission usually takes place from person to person via droplet infection such as coughing or sneezing or via sexual contact.

HIV, AIDS

Vacationers should also be particularly careful with sexual acts because of the increasing numbers of HIV infections as well as hepatitis B. Blood transfusions can also become a problem under certain circumstances.

Bird flu

The last case of bird flu was in 2012. Three human infections have been observed. It is generally advisable to avoid contact with birds or poultry.
Hygiene measures and vaccinations can be seen as important measures to prevent infection.

Air pollution

Air pollution has also increased in Bangladesh in recent years and can cause serious problems for travelers with chronic respiratory diseases. This problem, which is caused by exhaust fumes and slash and burn, especially in India, is known as "Asia Brown Cloud". The pollution increases in the period between November and March, as only very little rainfall is expected in these months. Vulnerable people should consider increasing air pollution when planning their trips.

Medical supplies

There is usually a lack of doctors with a knowledge of foreign languages ​​who have been trained at European level throughout the country. In addition, there are often deficiencies in the areas of hygiene, technology and organization. Serious illnesses should be evacuated across the border to one of the large clinics in Indian metropolitan areas such as Dehli and Calcutta. It is therefore generally advisable for tourists to have global health insurance coverage and reliable travel repatriation insurance. An individually assembled first-aid kit should also be taken along and stored according to the temperatures. This is especially important as it happens time and again that smaller pharmacies offer counterfeit goods from India.

German representations in Bangladesh

In the event of extraordinary problems, German citizens can contact the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany