I loved Bangladesh! Travelling there was one of the best experiences I had as a child and it was my first trip abroad. Bangladesh is my homeland as both my parents were born there. Even though I was a child when I visited, I vividly remember many things from my time there, and was super excited to return and tell everyone about it. That was then. Over twenty years later, I thought that this small albeit densely populated country deserves some popularity. Here’s why…
Easily accessible by air and land, Bangladesh is one of the greenest countries in the world. Upon landing, visitors will be struck by the lush greenery with perfectly patterned rivers leading their way through the country. This is heaven for budget travellers and equally the same for those looking for adventure.
Here are five reasons why I think Bangladesh should be on your bucket list:
A country known to be filled with lush greenery and serene lakes, Bangladesh is also home to one of the longest beaches in the world. Cox Bazaar, located 60 miles from Chittagong, has a pristine natural beach which stretches on for 125KM with certain marine invertebrates such as jellyfish and starfish. If you’re looking for an island setting, head over to St Martin’s Island where you can rest in a resort with a private beach.
Make your way to Srimangal to experience what life is like in the tea capital. Meander your way through the city and take in the ambience of the beautiful tea gardens. For some more inspiration, make your way to the Hamham waterfalls, one of the best waterfalls in Bangladesh.
In the north-eastern region of the country, you’ll find the the famous city of Sylhet. A place hard to resist is Jaflong located near the India-Bangladesh border. The place is famous for its lakes, wildlife and lush greenery scattered throughout.
If you’re a fan of Indian food, you’ll love the food in Bangladesh. With plenty of rice fields and an abundance of fresh water fish, rice and fish is a staple meal for the locals. Try some of the most famous fish in Bangladesh such as ilish and rohu which are both native to the country.
Make sure you sample the many types of street food available around the country such as phucka (which is basically similar to Panipuri you find in India), samosas and kebabs.
Rice snacks are also available from street vendors who can mix it up with their condiments to spice up your snack. A must try is Sanasur (bombay mix), which is a snack mix consisting of dried ingredients such as chickpeas, rice, fried onion, corn and lentils.
Bangladesh may be a small country with not as much to offer as India, but it makes this up with the many unique and friendly people. Despite the many difficulties the people have been through in the last century, including natural disasters and ongoing political issues, it is refreshing to see them smiling and ready to serve visitors to their country.
Dhaka, which is the tenth-largest city in the world is one of the friendliest places on earth despite all its havoc and commotion. Its as if you’re walking through your local neighbourhood where you know a lot of faces.
Whilst tourism and tourists may surprise locals, it is worth noting that they are delighted to see us. Walk through the streets, mingle with the locals and enjoy a hot cup of tea with the elderly in the evening. And don’t be surprised if you get some of the locals invite you over to their house for lunch or dinner.
Leave aside all the striking scenery, amicable people and a delicious cuisine, and get ready to delve into the lesser known historical sites of the country. Filled with cultural heritage, visitors interested in history will find many sites to visit.
Gaur, also known as the lost historic city, is a ruined city located near the India-Bangladesh article. Whilst the city is split between the two countries, it has many historical mosques scattered throughout. The city is also replete with many other historical sites such as temples and palaces.
One of the splendid mosques that remains till today is the Chhoto Sona Mosque. Also known as the Small Golden Mosque, it was built in the 15th century by a certain Wali Muhammad.
The mosque is one of two mosques in the country wrapped with stones brought through waterways from the hills of Rajmahal. The decoration of the mosque is immaculate and is decorated in a unique manner.
There are many other mosques in the city of Gaur with some in the Indian side of the border and some in the Bangladeshi side. Darasbari Mosque is another one of them. History tells us that this Mosque was built in the 15th century also by Sultan Yusuf Shah. Gauging from its name, we can probably make out that this places was not only a mosque, but also a religious educational establishment.
Another city to visit for history buffs is the Mosque city of Bagerhat. Founded in the 15th century by a Turkish general, this city is filled with many mosques with the whole city being recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site. The city has been classed as a lost city and is home to more than 50 Islamic monuments.
Other sites include the Lalbagh Fort in Dhaka, a 17th century fort built by the Mughal prince Muhammad Azam, Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque in Old Dhaka and the Bangladesh National Museum, which was established in 1913.
Bangladesh is located next to India, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar and therefore has a strategic location for those wanting to visit. Visitors can cross the border easily from India and Myanmar. For those flying in, most major airlines now fly directly to Dhaka Airport which serves as the main international airport in the country.