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Travel & Holiday Tips in Bangladesh


Bangladesh boasts a fascinating mix of culture, heritage and natural attractions and shares a border with other worthy destinations in Asia like India and Burma, making it a perfect stop on a tour around the region.

Unknown to even the most seasoned travellers is the innate potential of Bangladesh. Its primeval forests are home to mighty Bengal tigers, while scenic plains make way for mile after mile of rolling tea gardens. Hidden is the world’s longest natural beach, known as Cox’s Bazar. There are also many underdeveloped shorelines offering peace, quiet and a rawness that make them even more charming. Beyond the picturesque views, tribal destinations, and historic mosques, the country boasts mysterious archaeological sites and unbelievable temples built entirely out of red earth.

National monuments stand as a testament to Bangladesh’s rich history. Archaeological landmarks dot ancient sites like the Mahasthangar mound, which is said to be the oldest in the country. Large churches, iconic shrines, mosques and towering old temples show diversity in religious influences. You will find ancient Buddhist kingdoms (or what’s left of them) in Ramgamati. The 1857 Memorial in Dhaka is one example, along with other statues within the gorgeous Bahadur Shah Park.

From enchanting river journeys and treks along the hilly trails of Chittagong to the captivating cityscape of Dhaka, Bangladesh is truly a wonderful place to get lost in.

Dhaka (North)

Dhaka, the historic city and capital of Bangladesh, lies on the Buriganga River. The river connects the city with all major inland ports in the country, contributing to its trade and commerce, as it has done for centuries.

The old part of the city, to the south of the centre and on the banks of the river, is dominated both by the commercial bustle of the waterfront and several old buildings. These include the uncompleted 17th-century Lalbagh Fort, the stately Ahsan Manzil palace and museum (sometimes referred to as the pink palace), the Chotta Katra and a large number of mosques. To the north of this region is the European quarter (also known as British City), which contains the Banga Bhavan, the presidential palace, several parks, the Dhakeswari Temple and the National Museum. It is worth noting the Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery near Central Railway Station at Kamalapur (established in 1962), which enshrines the thousand-year-old black stone Buddha. The Zoo and Botanical Gardens are a bus or taxi ride into the suburbs. The waterfront has two main water transport terminals at Sadarghat and Badam Tali, located on the Buckland Road Bund. The famous ‘Rocket’ ferries dock here and boats can also be hired. There are many buildings of interest along the river and in the old part of the city. The Khan Mohammed Mirdha Mosque and the Mausoleum of Pari Bibi are worth a visit, as are the Baldha Gardens with their collection of rare plants. There are dozens of mosques and bazaars to visit – the Kashaitully Mosque is especially beautiful.

The modern part of the city comprises the diplomatic and commercial regions and is to be found further north in areas such as Motijheel and Gulshan.

Sonargaon, about 30 km (20 miles) east of Dhaka, was the capital of the region between the 13th and early 17th centuries and retains a number of historical relics of interest, although many of these are now in ruins.

The Rajendrapur National Park, about 50 km (30 miles) north of the capital, is noted for its varied birdlife. Northwest of Dhaka is Dhamrai which contains several Hindu temples. Further north still is Mymensingh, at the centre of a region famous for its supply of high-quality jute. The Madhupur National Park and Game Sanctuary is situated about 160 km (99 miles) from Dhaka. North of Dhaka is Sylhet, known as ‘the land of two leaves and a bud’ because of its long renown as a tea-growing area. Srimongol is the main centre of the Sylhet tea gardens. Nearby Madhabkunda is noted for panoramic scenery and enchanting waterfalls. Around 43 km (27 miles) from Sylhet are the ruins of Jaintiapur, once the capital of an ancient kingdom. Tamabil is a border outpost on Sylhet–Shilong Road. There are excellent views of the surrounding area, including some spectacular waterfalls across the Indian border. Zaflong is a scenic spot nearby, set amidst tea gardens and beautiful hills.

Rajshahi (Northwest)

Rajshahi Division, in the northwest of the country, is often ignored by tourists, but it contains a large number of archaeological sites. The most important of these are at Paharpur, where the vast Buddhist monastery of Somapuri Vihara and the Satyapir Vita temple are located; there is also a museum. Other places of interest in the region include the ancient Hindu settlement of Sherpur, near Bogra; Mahastanagar, also near Bogra, which dates back to the third century BC; Vasu Vihara, 14 km (9 miles) to the northwest, the site of an ancient but now ruined monastery; Rajshahi, on the Ganges, which has a museum displaying many of the archaeological relics of the area; and Gaur, very close to the border with the Indian state of West Bengal, which contains a number of old mosques. Bogra is a useful base for visiting the archaeological sites of Paharpur, Mahastanagar and Sherpur, although not intrinsically interesting itself. The Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (NTO) offers package tours to these sites.

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