Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971 and enacted a constitution the following year. An extensive network of montane rivers, including the Surma-Meghna river system and the Karatoya-Atrai River, which flow into the Ganges Delta, make up the riverine country and its geography. Bengali features about 300 active rivers, tributaries, wetlands, and fresh water swamp forests, including 30-plus islands along the Bay of Bengal.
Bangladesh offers travelers a variety of attractions to explore, such as 48 protected areas, including sanctuaries, eco-parks, ruins, reefs, game reserves, and bio-reserves. Moreover, the country boasts several UNESCO World Heritage sites, 58 museums of national significance, and 17 national parks.
Although tourists can visit a large number of beautiful and historical attractions and sites, tourism is not heavily emphasized. Therefore, Bangladesh represents the ideal tourist spot – one where you can discover unknown regions and visit some of the world’s most magnificent religious sites without distraction. The Buddhist viharas, Hindu temples, and gold-domed mosques will give you a taste of the diverse cultures and traditions of the local people.
Choose from diverse places of interest, such as Shaheed Minar and other architectural masterpieces. If you love the great outdoors, our regional guide offers must-see destinations featuring mangroves, beaches, and mountain woodlands. Water sports activities, skiing, and hiking provide adventure-seekers with plenty of sites and attractions to visit.
Your Own Special Destination
Formerly known as East Pakistan, Bangladesh sits east of India, at the mouth of the Jamuna River. Many of the attractions or wildlife you will see, such as Mughal palaces, growling Bengal tigers, glistening domed mosques, or palm-lined beaches, can be all yours to see and explore. While it was believed that the tourist trade would gain momentum after the country’s civil war and independence, it has yet to surface, so far.
Getting Familiar with the Culture
Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, once was a busy port for the country of Bengal. Now, the bustling city features rickshaw-crammed thoroughfares, boat-thronged piers, movie posters on rain-washed buildings, and a general cacophony of rickshaw bells and car horns. While this type of activity may, at first, shock your cultural senses, the friendliness of the locals will soften your first impression.
South of Dhaka, the Jamuna River divides into a network of jungled streams and tributaries, where the Sundarbans forest awaits – a mangrove refuge and home for the Bengal tiger. To get to the Sundarbans, many travelers go by boat. Adventures can find boat transport – from a coracle to a powered paddle boat. The coracle, designed for one person, provides a way to travel, but is primarily made for fishing. Boat travel regularly takes place between Dhaka and Khulna, which is Bangladesh’s third largest city.
The City of Khulna
Khulna, which sits at the mouth of the Rupsa River, is known for its newsprint production and shrimp processing. It is also the only place in the country that features telephone cabling. The city, which is home to jute mills and ship-building activities, features a medical center, university, and naval base.
Speaking the Language
Because English is not widely spoken, it helps to learn a little of the local language Bangla, also called Bengali, before you travel to Bangladesh. While the Bengali in Bangladesh compares closely with the Bengali spoken in India, the main difference concerns the degree in which it is spoken. Outside of Bengali cities, English becomes obsolete. Moreover, the Bengali script is used for numbers, which can be a challenge if you are checking a seat number on a train or the prices in a store.
As an uncommon travel destination, Bangladesh has gained the reputation as an undiscovered gem on the Asian continent. Because the country does not experience a great deal of tourism, a person from another country draws interest and attention – most of which is kind and friendly. Many of the locals will ask politely, “Excuse me please – What is your country?” In fact, you may have to answer that question a lot.
Getting Around the Country
Because the country lacks a touristy reputation, it can be difficult to get around. Some roads may be unpaved and independent travel to remote areas can be difficult if you are not somewhat familiar with the Bengali language. However, travel from city to city can be accomplished by train and you can journey by boat as well.
While you can see beautiful landscapes and attractions in Bangladesh, the country can also display a raw side – one that contains poverty, dirt, and pollution. Therefore, you may need to go to a more travel-friendly venue if you are not comfortable with experiencing several types of conditions. Many people describe Bangladesh as a less refined version of India. However, that description does not extend to the country’s cultural richness and the small surprises that it holds for inquisitive travelers.
Therefore, the main concern you will have as a traveler in Bangladesh is, again, in getting around – which often means going by train or boat. What you will discover, at least, if you travel by train, is that most of the tracks seem to lead back to the capital, Dhaka.
However, you can go by train from the North West (such as the Rangpur and divisions) to the South West without stopping in Dhaka. You can also journey from Sylhet in the North East to Chittagong in the same region without passing through the capital. Buses connect divisions to Dhaka, but not usually to one another.
Shankharia Bazar: Hindu Street
One of the must-see streets to visit in Dhaka is Shankharia Bazar. The avenue, also known as Hindu Street, bursts with colors and incense, revealing a generally friendly atmosphere. Matchbox-sized workshops and shops invite exploration and shankharis (Hindu artisans) create products, such as kites, bangles made of conch shells, wedding hats, and grave markers. The noted craftspeople come from an ancestry that has lived in the city for 300 years. During the city’s Hindu festivals, the area is especially flamboyant. However, the street is colorful, regardless of when you plan avisit.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021