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Getting Around in Bangladesh
 
 
 

By Air

Air travel in Bangladesh is very affordable and convenient. There are airports in all of the division capitals and in Jessore, Cox's Bazar and some other small cities. Most of the domestic airports are served by either Biman Air, the national airline, or GMG Airlines, their private competitor. Regular flights are run between Dhaka and several other main towns. These are cheap, and most routes are served at least two or three times a week. Airline buses connect with terminals.

Biman had the interesting distinction of flying the half-hour Dhaka-Chittagong leg (~250 miles) on DC-10's and Airbus A-310's – both large wide-body jets. United Airways, and Royal Bengal Airlines are two private operators offering excellent domestic and international flights.

By River

About two-thirds of Bangladesh is a wetland laced with a dense network of rivers, canals and creeks. Water transport is the only means available in nearly 10% of' the total area. The navigable waterways vary between 8,372 km during the monsoon to 5,200 km during the dry season. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has been established by the government for maintenance of navigability of ports and channels while the state-owned BIWTC provide passenger and cargo services in inland waterways and coastal areas of the country.

There are over 230 mighty and small rivers throughout the country, and boats and ferries are an integral part of travel for locals and tourists alike. A journey along the river in any mode is probably the best way to see Bangladesh. There are a number of private tour operators offering river sightseeing trips of various lengths, or using the ferries to get between cities is a great way to see the country at a moderate pace.

The Rocket Steamer service connects Dhaka and Khulna via Barisal, and is a fantastic way to enjoy riverine Bangladesh, for those who prefer the scenic route. The 4 ferries are operated by BIWTC and run several times per week in each direction.

By Rail

Bangladesh Railways is the state and only train operator. The ticket prices are reasonable and usually similar to bus ticket prices and sometimes even cheaper. However, due to the roundabout routes and tricky river crossings, the journey durations are usually much longer. Tickets can be booked over the phone, though unless you speak Bengali you're likely to get better results at one of the computerised station booking offices.

Trains are generally comfortable, with more leg room than buses. Though the carriages are generally not very clean, the AC and 1st class seats are manageable. Sulob class is the highest 2nd class ticket, with reserved seating and not much difference from 1st class.

Kamlapur Rail Station in Dhaka is large and modern. It serves all major cities but due to the existence of broad gauge and meter gauge tracks around the country it may be required to change trains en route.

The Bangladesh Railway provides an efficient service to places of interest such as Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Mymensingh, Bogra, Rajshahi, Dinajpur starting from Dhaka. The inter-city Express Service is available to and from important cities at cheap fares.

By Road

More than half of Bangladesh have access to an all-weather hard surface road within 3 miles distance. There has been a dramatic expansion of road network in recent years. In 1997, the total length of paved road under the Roads and Highways Department stood at more than 20,000 km. It is estimated that mechanised road transport carry about 70% of the country's total passenger and cargo volume.

In recent years. construction of a number of bridges such as the Bangabandhu Jamuna Bridge, Meghna Bridge. Meghna-Gumti Bridge, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, Shambhuganj Bridge and Mahananda Bridge have been completed. The 4.8 km long Bangabandhu Bridge which has been opened to traffic in June, 1998, is the 11th longest in the world. It has established a strategic link between the East and the West of Bangladesh has integrated the country, is generating multifaceted benefits to the people and promoting inter-regional trade. Apart from quick movement of goods and passenger traffic, it is facilitating transmission of electricity and natural gas and has integrated the telecommunication links.


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