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A walk through the best of what Bangladesh has to offer

  • Published at 02:24 pm September 29th, 2018

The village of dreams, archaeological wonders, festivals and more!

Nestled between India, Nepal and Myanmar, lies the unique country of Bangladesh – a country that very few tourists know about. In fact, most of the expats living, visiting or residing here usually do so in the course of fulfilling their work related obligations.

These same expats usually return home to tell tantalizing tales – tales about the land of smiles, the land of the royal Bengal tiger, the season of kites battling each other in the sky, the paradise waiting for bird-watchers to visit, the acres and acres of tea gardens mingling with waterfalls nearby, the numerous tribal villages with their unique customs and way of life, the longest beach in the world – the list goes on and on.

Today, we will be walking you through the best of what Bangladesh has to offer. 

Ride a paddle steamer like the olden days

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion – we all know and feel it strongly. Thankfully, the current generation of locals and expats can still experience at least one such experience that they may have heard their grandparents discuss or even come across in old books or historical movies - the opportunity to take a ride on a ‘rocket paddle steamer’ down the waterways, just like the olden golden days.  

Combine this with your trip to the floating guava market at Barisal. An ideal way to enjoy the full experience would be to take the overnight ferry to Barisal, explore Barisal, and then return to Dhaka during the daytime by taking a ride on a paddle steamer (aka ‘rocket’). Alternatively, if you wish, you can also take this ride during your visit to the Sundarbans!

Advance booking is strongly recommended as tickets tend to sell out fast. 

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

Enjoying the lovely scenery whilst you float down the river, revelling in the knowledge that you are in a 100 year old paddle steamer, which has hidden stories embedded in the walls; experiencing the organized chaos at Dhaka Sadarghat (the departure and arrival points for the ferries and the steamer boats), and more!

Check out the Lalon Festival at Kushtia

Home to the shrine of the famous Lalon Fakir, whose music has bewitched millions of folk-song lovers and whose ideals and theologies still garner a strong following, Kushtia is an interesting experience. The Lalon Festival usually happens a few times a year, with folk artists performing covers and originals, whilst adhering to the genre. 

Don’t forget to enjoy the night ‘mela’ (market festival) at the Lalon grounds, and gorge yourself silly on the many goodies and ‘dudh chai’(milk tea) options available. We recommend getting there at least a day early to allow your body enough time to rest and, if possible, take a leisurely boat ride and enjoy the sunset!

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

The Lalon festival, boat ride to watch the sunset, Lalon Shah’s mazar, Rabindranath Tagore’s Shilaidaha Kuthibari, Tagore Lodge, Jhaudia Mosque, Katra masjid and many more!

Shop like crazy for Saris at Tangail

If you’re anything like me, then shopping would also comprise of a major part of your ideal travel itinerary – and the focus would be on local products rather than designer brands. 

Saris are a traditional outfit choice for the women in Bangladesh and still remain the primary selection during formal events such as weddings, receptions, public appearances, traditional festivals and even during formal office meetings. The sari lends its wearer a touch of elegance combined with maturity and class – an irresistible combination. Tangail saris are famous in Bangladesh – and although you can purchase them in Dhaka as well (at inflated prices, naturally!), we recommend that you head to Tangail directly to experience how the saris are produced and to purchase them at really cheap prices. 

Also, did we mention, Tangail itself is brimming with several other amazing attractions?

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

Mohera Jomidar Bari, Jamuna River Side, Atiya Jame Masjid, Dhanbari Nawab Palace, Pakutia Zamindar Bari, Elenga Resort, Jamuna Resort, Porir Dalan, enjoy the amazing sweets called ‘Chom-chom’, and many more!

Frolic with the boulders in the water at Bichanakandi and Pantumai

Monsoon is often not hailed as the best season to travel. However, this is one location where you can experience the true beauty in the monsoon. Prepare yourself for lazy, soulful days amidst lush greenery and calm waters. This spot, despite being a boulder mining quarry, is nestled between hills on both sides and an amazing waterfall to complement and complete the perfect destination photo.

Attractions here include, but are not limited to:

Bichanakandi rocks, amazing and serene boat rides on top of the boat, Pangthumai falls and many more!

Archaeological fans can rejoice at Rajshahi

If you are an archaeology buff, definitely do not miss out on the attractions Rajshahi has to offer. Starting from the enormous range of historical temples at Puthia and the medieval stone Kusumba Mosque to the 8th century Buddhist monastery Somapura Mahavihara located at Paharpur and the 3rd Century city of Mahasthangarh - Rajshahi has a lot to offer. We strongly recommend at least a few days to allow yourself ample time to visit these attractions and to avoid rushing through them all.

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

Puthia temples, Kusumba Mosque, Somapura Mahavihara, Mahasthangarh, river islands on Jamuna river at neighbouring Bogra, Godagari Royal Palace, Bagha Mosque, Porsha Royal Palace, Rajshahi Sugar mills, checking out the Rajshahi silk industry and many more!

Discover the village of dreams at Sajek Valley

Sajek Valley has very recently emerged as a tourist hot-spot and has done wonders in winning over everyone’s hearts, owing to the amazing scenery and chilled out vibes that it has to offer. You will love the unique rides in the different ‘Chaander Gari’ which are available, the twists and turns of the mountain roads and the bicycle rides through clouds - I really can’t describe Sajek Valley for you - it’s a place you have to see and experience for yourself. 

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

Mountainous roads of Sajek Valley, sunsets from the helipad, beautiful sunrises, trekking to Konglak Para, brightest stargazing during clear nights, Sikam Toisa Waterfall, unexplored Atu Tila cave, Richchang waterfall, 100 year old Banyan trees, Mohalchchori Lake, Debotar Pukur, Sajek Resort, Meghalaya Resort, Runmoy Resort, Kajalong Resort, Hazajhara fountain, Dighinala hanging bridge, Dighinala Banbihar, Rishong fountain, Marissa Valley and many more!  

Immerse yourself in silence at Nijhum Dwip

If you are tired of the noisy and hectic city life and want to head somewhere you can find complete silence, Nijhum Dwip is an excellent option. Located in the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, this off-shore island is situated between Noakhali and Bhola in the Noakhali district. 

Getting there is a bit of a challenge, which is probably why it has not yet attained that level of popularity or fame. However, travellers who have braved the journey, visited the island and lived to tell the tale have all given outstanding reviews. Nijhum Dwip is a unique place where you can experience both the vibes of the Sunbardans and the simplicity of St Martin’s Island.

Attractions here include, but are not limited to: 

Deer watching, Chowdhorir khal, bird watching and wildlife spotting, local and sea fishing, experiencing the mangrove forest, visiting Ballar Char, Kamlar Char, Char Osman, Char Muri, living with locals and living the simple life, Hatia Channel, gorgeous sunsets over the water, Komolar Dwip, Choakhali beach, Namar Bazar beach, Kobirajer Chor, Domar Chor, water buffaloes grazing and many more!

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