Travel tips and advice for Bangladesh

Safety

Despite the extremely low standard of living of the vast majority of the population of Bangladesh, the security situation is surprisingly calm almost everywhere, except for large cities. Very few violent crimes are recorded, the main problem is petty theft and cheating. To travel around the country, it is enough to take the usual precautions. Don’t go out alone after dark, don’t carry your passport, large sums of money, or other valuables (it’s recommended to carry no more than $10).

The main “danger” that most tourists face is the tiresome crowds of people all around. The country is extremely overpopulated, and Dhaka and other major cities in particular. A person who is accustomed to peace and quiet will feel real chaos around him, both during the day and at night. The noise level is just as high, it is not easy to find a quiet hotel in the city, almost everywhere there will be a neighborhood with a lively bazaar or a road. These features should not be ignored if you are used to a different lifestyle.

At the same time, increased security measures should be taken in large cities of the country. In recent years, migration from the provinces to the cities is simply colossal, so the outlying areas of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Narayanganj and others have literally turned into a chaos of slums and unimaginable buildings made of cardboard, bamboo and roofing iron, controlled by criminal gangs. These areas are strongly discouraged from visiting, even with security guards. However, the city center is usually much safer. By the way, areas densely populated by Hindus are practically safe to visit, although there are exceptions here.

Police

On the streets of cities you can always see a lot of representatives of the forces of law and order. It happens that the behavior of local police officers is quite aggressive, but in most cases, police representatives treat tourists politely and try to help in every possible way (often counting on “baksheesh”). In any case, you should have a photocopy of your passport or a hotel guest card with you – local police have certain problems with languages. There are severe fines for possession and trafficking of drugs, and the possession of large (more than 4 grams) quantities of narcotic drugs is punishable by death. Therefore, the presence of any medications that may fall under the category of drugs must be accompanied by a notarized doctor’s prescription,

Usually all the more or less clean places on the sidewalks are occupied by crowds of merchants; for the rest of the pedestrians, only a narrow passage is left, through which crowds of people always flow. Often here, right on the sidewalks, people are sleeping, beggars are begging, there is cattle intended for sale, someone’s goods are piled in piles. Numerous (and not at all clean!) puddles, inevitable in the humid local climate, clearly hamper the movement. Naturally, in such an environment, gangs of pickpockets and petty swindlers feel at ease, smelling a foreigner literally a mile away. Part of the flow of people is squeezed out onto the roadway, where the situation is no better, especially given the obvious unwillingness of local drivers to comply with any traffic rules.

Guides and conductors

When visiting inland areas, a guide or guide should be carefully chosen, and preference should be given to employees of large specialized firms. However, when hiring a guide on the recommendation of one of the hotel or travel company employees, there are usually no special problems, but subsequently the demand from such a guide will be small. It should also be borne in mind that almost the entire country is a chaos of rivers, streams, lakes and channels, in which even many local residents often find it difficult to navigate, so you should choose a guide very carefully from the point of view of his knowledge of a particular region.

Price level

Bangladesh is a very cheap country, most goods and services cost literally a penny here, however, their quality in most cases will be appropriate. It is quite possible to live here on $4 a day if you travel by public transport, stay in cheap hotels and visit street restaurants and cafes. For $10-15 a day you can already get a decent hotel room with a private bathroom, a full board with good food and a couple of trips in the first class of local trains, or 4-5 trips by taxi. And for $30-50 per day you can find the best accommodation conditions (however, hotels in the resort area of ​​Cox’s Bazar will ask for at least $40 per day for their services, but you can bargain here) and visit the most expensive restaurants. However, the choice of the latter is so limited, that in this case, the journey is likely to turn into a shuttle between them. You can dine in a street cafe for $ 0.5-2, in a good restaurant at the hotel – for $ 3-10, a tuk-tuk ride through the entire center of Dhaka will cost no more than $ 1, a taxi ride to the Mainimati ruins or a boat ride to the Rajshahi temples will cost no more than $10.

Everywhere and always you should bargain. There are practically no stable prices for goods or services in the country (except for large state-owned stores, where the price is usually fixed). Even in public transport, where there is supposedly a clear price system, it is quite possible to knock down the fee by half or three times. The reason for this is clearly overstated requirements for foreigners, at the sight of which the majority of local residents immediately sharply increase their requests, but quickly make concessions if the buyer is guided by local realities. Indeed, Islamic traditions themselves require careful observance of the bargaining procedure, so you should not treat this as an attempt to rob a gullible foreigner in any way – for many Bangladeshis, this is just a common market practice.

Hotels

The country has a rather poor choice of high-class establishments – in the capital there are only 4 5 * hotels, but half of them clearly do not reach 4 *, the situation is no better in other cities. Only in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar are the hotels a little more modern and, most importantly, there are much more fairly decent mid-range hotels. The national tourism organization Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation operates the most modern hotels throughout the country, in its offices you can get information about all hotels or private boarding houses suitable for the settlement of foreigners. Invoices in upscale hotels are usually issued in convertible currency (payment by traveler’s checks is also possible).

Restaurants

In Dhaka and most major cities in the country, you can find many good restaurants specializing in almost all areas of world cuisine. However, “Western-style” dishes can only be found in large hotels and some large restaurants. Bangladeshis themselves prefer Chinese restaurants, of which there are an incredible number. In the capital, the phrase “chinese khaoa” (literally, “Chinese food”) often means simply “eating out (in a restaurant)”, since Chinese (Cantonese) cuisine was the first type of foreign cuisine widely available in the country. In second place are, which is not surprising, Indian restaurants, but for the most part they are not much different from traditional local restaurants and cafes.

Traffic jams in Dhaka

The traffic problem is so serious that any tourist visiting Bangladesh must be aware of the fantastic traffic jams around and in Dhaka. The chaotic development, narrow roads and the growing number of vehicles have led to a situation where the average speed of movement within the metropolis of Dhaka is only 3-4 km / h. Desperate people line the roads by the thousands as their buses are hopelessly stuck in traffic jams. Travel time to the airport, located less than 10 km from the city center, can take from an hour (at night) to 3-4 hours during the day.

Movement around the country

When moving around the city, it is recommended to use an auto rickshaw or a taxi, and they should be chosen on the recommendation of hotel employees. The transport system of the country is rather poorly developed, therefore, when traveling around the country, you will have to constantly use the services of either local bus or railway companies, or river carriers (rivers are the main transport arteries of the country, through which more than 90% of all passengers and cargo are transported). The technical condition of many vehicles is simply terrifying, and the accident rate is high, so the choice of a vehicle should be treated with increased attention.

shopping

Bangladesh is known as a recognized producer of pink pearls, jute, hand-woven fabrics, silk, batik, coconut shell masks, bamboo, leather, wood, cane weaving and original traditional dolls. And in Dhamrai there are many workshops where you can, by choosing from a catalog, order an intricate jewelry or a bronze figurine with delivery to any hotel in Dhaka. Therefore, visiting local shops and shops can be quite an exciting experience, but you should keep in mind the danger of fakes, which are many here.

Large shops are usually open Sunday to Thursday from 09.00 to 20.00, on Fridays from 09.00 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 20.00 (shops in popular tourist areas often work longer). Markets are open on weekday mornings (usually from 6.00), small private shops work on an individual schedule, numerous hawkers work almost the entire daylight hours.

During the holy month of Ramadan, most shops are closed throughout the day, only opening at sunset.

Tips

In most restaurants in the country, tips are not accepted, but the waiters of establishments frequented by foreigners are supposed to leave 5% of the bill. However, a characteristic feature of the country is the use of all sorts of small “incentive payments” (“baksheesh”) in almost all other places – whether it be a clerk or an exchange office employee, a guide or a porter, a tuk-tuk or taxi driver – they will all in one form or another hint at the need for a tip. However, this practice should not be encouraged, especially considering that prices for a foreigner are initially doubled or tripled. Everywhere you can and should bargain, frankly playing to lower the initial price, then “baksheesh” may simply not be required. In isolated rural areas, however,

Photo and video shooting

Photographing local residents should be done with great care. In rural areas, be sure to ask your subject for prior permission, especially if the subject is a woman. In some cases, you will have to pay for the picture, but usually this is a fairly modest amount, which can also be reduced during the bargaining process. It is strongly not recommended to photograph military installations and objects.

Electricity =

The mains voltage is 220/240 V., 50 Hz. The most commonly used are round British-style sockets with two to three round pins, but in the provinces you can find connectors of almost all kinds (the most common types are C, D, G and K).

System of measures ==

 

The system of measures and weights is metric, but in the provinces one can often find designations in the imperial (inch) system.

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