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Bangla (official), English
Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims (1998)
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Bangladesh is a country of South Asia, and with a population of 147,365,000 is the seventh post populous country of the world whereas area-wise with an area of 144,000 km² it ranks as the ninety-fourth country. The Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh make the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal, with a long and glorious history. Archeological finds indicate human settlements in Bangladesh dating back to 4,000 years, and from 7th century onwards, there is a definite history of the region. Most of the lands of Bangladesh are very fertile and are part of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, created by the two important river systems of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers. The country faces annual floods and cyclones. Although the cities like Dhaka look over crowded, the hinterland offers a majestic view of rural South Asia, green, serene, peaceful, and enchanting.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
There are a number of great hotels in Bangladesh
With a population density of a,1,090 per sq km, Bangaldesh is very thickly populated. Yet, except Dhaka, which is really a very crowded place, and Chittagong, an active seaport, most of Bangladesh looks spacious and serene, with a lot of greenery, farmlands and waterways all around. Except some hilly regions, the country is largely plain through which many rivers and strands of some of the mightiest rivers of this part of the world (like the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers) flow into the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh is not very popular as a tourist destination in the international tourist circuit, but someone with a penchant to experience the unknown would find the country interesting. Some of the places that a tourist may like to see are:
- Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, gives a feeling of a city stuffed with people and has earned the nickname of Daffy Dhaka.
- The Sundarbans, The Sundarbans mangroves are home to Royal Bengal Tigers which are very difficult to spot. But, one may find several herds of spotted deer. Several species of birds are also found in the Sundarbans.
- Chittagong, the second largest city of Bangladesh, is located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River. There is an Ethnological Museum. A boat ride in the river is exciting.
- Cox’s Bazar is the major beach resort of Bangladesh, and is breathtakingly enchanting. Swimming in some secluded areas of the beach and buying hand weaved cotton clothes directly from the women weavers are a lifetime of experience.
- Mainamati is the place where there stood a large Buddhist monastery in the 8th century, famed to be the largest one to the south of the Himalayas. Now, in ruins, the ruins do reveal intricate terra cotta works and the general grandeur of the monastery.
- St. Martin's Island is a small coral island.
- Chittgong Hill Tracks are unlike most of Bangaldesh in terrain. The Hills offer a panoramic view of ravines and cliffs covered with thick forests with a variety of flora and fauna.
- Rangamati offers virgin lands full of greenery. The major attraction is to watch the people of Chakma tribe, and to have a visit around the Kaptai Lake.
- Bandarban is the place of the people of Bohmong tribe. The weekly village market on Tuesday brings people from many villages and watching the activities in the weekly market is itself an experience, which would be novel for most of the visitor. You may also buy certain artifacts to carry home.
- Alikadam is a point from where you may take boat rides on the Matamurhi River and boat around the villages of local tribal people.
Bangladesh has a rich tradition of handicrafts and many other hand-made items, and they are very cheap. One such item unique to Bangladesh is Nakshi Kantha, a quilt hand stitched in traditional style. You shall find many such items ranging artistic works made of woods, decorative pieces of bamboos, products of canes and counch shells, many items made of jute (an important produce of Bangladesh), and the unique shital-pati (mattresses having colling effects). Gold and silver ornaments with engravings in local styles, brass, copper and metal wares and leather goods are also good buys. Pink Pearls of Dhaka are also attractive and look beautiful. Dhaka Muslin, very fine white cotton has once an important items of trade in the ancient world and you may take few meters for your use.
Most of the luxury hotels have stalls to sell these products. You may also move around the streets and find many sellers selling most of these items - though be prepared for hard bargains as the prices quoted are highly inflated in most of the places. You may also spot some good shops selling most of these items in the ZIA International Airport of Dhaka.
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to BangladeshEdit
Bangladesh is surrounded by India on all sides except a small southeast border with Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal to the south. Tourists and visitors may enter Bangladesh through road or directly fly to some destinations in Bangladesh.
- By Air
- It is convenient to fly to Bangladesh, and direct flights are available from many places. Regular international flights connect Dhaka with major destinations in the world. The following airlines operate flights to Dhaka:
- Air India (Kolkata and New Delhi)
- Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangkok, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Jessore, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, London, Manchester, Mumbai, Muscat, Delhi, Rajshahi, Riyadh, Rome, Singapore, Sylhet)
- British Airways (London)
- Cathay Pacific
- Dragonair (Hong Kong)
- China Eastern Airlines (Beijing and Kunming)
- Cosmic Air (Kathmandu)
- Emirates (Dubai)
- Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi)
- GMG Airlines (Bangkok, Barisal, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Delhi, Jessore, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Sylhet)
- Gulf Air (Bahrain, Muscat)
- Indian Airlines (Kolkata)
- Kuwait Airways (Kuwait)
- Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur)
- Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi)
- Qatar Airways (Doha)
- Saudi Arabian Airlines (Damman, Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh)
- Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
- Thai Airways International (Bangkok)
- By Roads
- The border with Myanmar is closed. However, from the Indian side you may travel to Bangladesh by road. Regular bus services are available from Kolkata and Siliguri (both in the Indian state of West Bengal, India) to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. There is also a bus service from Agartala, capital of the Indian state of Tripura to Dhaka. However, the passengers have to disembark at the border entry points and walk few hundred meters and board the waiting buses for onward journey. However, it is advisable to avoid the bus journey unless you are accustomed to travelling in buses in these regions.
Once you are in Bangladesh, you have many options to move around - you may take flights to certain select destinations, cover distances by taking train journeys, hire a taxi or travel by buses, use boats (in fact, to reach certain places there is no alternative but to use boats).
- Perhaps the most convenient way of traveling in Bangladesh but only to few select destinations. Regular flights connect Dhaka, the capital, with cities like Cox' bazar, Jessore and Rajshahi. Biman (the national airline) or GMG (a private airline) offer flights to these places at rather affordable rates.
- Traveling by trains may not be very convenient on all routes as you may have to change trains due to existence of broad and meter gauges. Moreover, the routes may be circuitous compared to bus routes to the same destinations. As the general compartments are generally over crowded in these regions of the world, it not advisable to travel by higher classes like the air-conditioned and first class. Kamlapur Rail Station is the main railway station of Dhaka and train services are available to many places in Bangladesh. Tickets may be booked over telephone, and you may seek assistance of your hotel management or local travel agents to book tickets.
- Roads are generally not in good shape and driving in Bangladesh may prove a nightmare. Roads are generally crowded, particularly in bigger cities. As there is no alternative, you will have to use cabs though you should negotiate the rates before hiring and you should not rely on the meter fitted in the cabs.
- Rent-A-Car -Tour Operator of Bangladesh Dhaka Holidays Transport Hiring Charges
- Buses in Bangladesh are mostly overcrowded and you may find people even sitting on the bus tops. Still on some important routes good air conditioned buse services are available - from Dhaka to major places like Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet, Jessore, Bogra and some more places.
- Bangladesh has at least 230 big and small rivers and boats are normal means of transport. Country boats are generally used for fishing, but people also use them for commuting through waterways. Motorized boats are also available in many places and they are safer than the country boats. Recently many tour operators have started offering river side boat trips and services like the one offered by the Rocket (Steamer) Service between Dhaka-Barisal-Khulna are fine to enjoy the riverine scenes of Bangladesh. Due to heavy flooding, boats should be avoided during the rainy season.
Practical information and resourcesEdit
- Currency: Taka (BDT)
- Time zone: BDT (UTC+6)
- Main Language: Bangla (Bengali)
- Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz
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