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From Halal Food & Travel

The People's Republic of Bangladesh is a nation in South Asia, on the edge of the Indian subcontinent. It is nearly completely surrounded by India, having a small land border with Myanmar in the southeast and a coastline facing the Bay of Bengal in the south. Except city-states, Bangladesh has the world's highest population density, with 163 million inhabitants (more people than Russia) in a land area smaller than the American state of Florida.

Many know Bangladesh only for its moderately successful cricket team, of which locals are very proud. However, this Muslim-majority nation has been lauded by the United Nations for its poverty reduction, swarmed by investors for its burgeoning economy and has taken the lead on global environmental issues. The next frontier for Bangladesh is tourism and it is fast developing its facilities to prepare for visitors to its numerous archaeological sites, pristine beaches, bustling markets and ancient mosques.

An Introduction to the Region of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a very small country, with 8 administrative divisions:

Regions of Bangladesh
  Dhaka Division
Home to the capital city, jute and rice paddies.
  Chittagong Division
A picturesque hinterland of large hills, forests and beaches.
  Rajshahi Division
Known for its silk, mangoes and dozens of archaeological ruins.
  Khulna Division
A relaxing, slow paced area; home of the Sundarbans.
  Sylhet Division
Home to endless rolling tea estates and beautiful natural scenery.
  Barisal Division
The land of rivers, paddies and green.
  Rangpur Division
Temples, culture and a rural lifestyle.
  Mymensingh Division
Recently split from the northern part of Dhaka division. Largest university In South Asia, culture, ethnic minor groups and a rural lifestyle.

Reference ##efef7a Dhaka Division Reference ##cfc27b Chittagong Division Reference ##aab0c8 Rajshahi Division Reference ##d1a6c2 Khulna Division Reference ##e58f8d Sylhet Division Reference ##9dd1ab Barisal Division Reference ##b5d07b Rangpur Division Reference ##578e86 Mymensingh Division

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Bangladesh

Dhaka - The hectic capital city, an intense and thriving metropolis of around 12 million people that's growing by the day Barisal - Southern city famous for Paddy growing and many rivers, best reached by a slow-paced and relaxing boat ride on the Rocket Steamer Chittagong - A bustling commercial centre and the largest international seaport in the country Jessore - A nondescript small town and a likely transit point to or from Kolkata, famous for Gur, a form of cake-like molasses produced from the extract of the date tree Khulna - Located on the Rupsha River, famous for shrimp and a starting point for journeys into the Sundarbans. Mymensingh - A historic city located by the side of river Brahmaputa, has got a rich cultural and political history dating back to more than 200 years Rajshahi - The silk city Rangpur - Important city in the north-west, with agriculture and trade Sylhet - The largest city in the northeast, known for the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Shahjalal, one of the holiest sites in the country

During April 2018, the government officially changed the English names of five of these regions to better reflect the Bangla pronunciation. Chittagong becomes Chattogram, Jessore Jashore, Comilla Cumilla, Barisal Barishal and Bogra Bogura.

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Bangladesh

The Cox's Bazar Beach, the longest natural beach in the world

  • Cox's Bazar - The country's premier beach resort, filled to the brim with boisterous Bangladeshi holiday makers. and is the world's longest sea beach with km 112 of sandy sea coast.
  • Bagerhat - An important historical centre and site of several mosques including the famous Shait Gumbad Masjid.
  • Char Atra - A low lying island in the Ganges.
  • Somapura Mahavihara - Ruins of an ancient Buddhist vihara in Paharpur.
  • Saint Martins Island - The country's only coral island with friendly locals, a laid back vibe and coconuts to spare.
  • Sundarbans - The largest mangrove in the world, with lots of bird life and some very elusive Royal Bengal tigers.

Introduction to Bangladesh

British India was partitioned by joint leaders of the Congress, All India-Muslim League and Britain in the summer of 1947, creating the Commonwealth realms of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and a Republic of India. Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali-speaking East Pakistan seceded from its union with Punjabi-dominated West Pakistan after a bloody 9-month war. Although Bangladesh emerged as an independent country only in 1971, its history stretches back thousands of years and it has long been known as a crossroads of history and culture. Here you will find the world's longest sea beach, countless mosques, the largest mangrove forest in the world, interesting tribal villages and a wealth of elusive wild life. Although relatively impoverished compared to its burgeoning South Asian neighbour India, Bangladeshis are very friendly and hospitable people, putting personal hospitality before personal finances.

Ready-made garments, textiles, pharmaceuticals, agricultural goods, ship building and fishing are some of the largest industries. The gap between rich and poor is increasingly obvious and the middle-class is fast-shrinking, as in the rest of Asia, especially in cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong as you move around between the working class old city and affluent neighborhoods like Gulshan and Baridhara.

Weather in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a sub-tropical monsoon climate. There are six seasons in a year: winter (Dec-Jan), spring (February - Mar), summer (April - May), monsoon (June–July), autumn (August - Sep) and late autumn (October - Nov). The average temperature across the country usually ranges between 9°C - 29°C in winter months and between 21°C - 34°C during summer months. Annual rainfall varies from 160 cm to 200 cm in the west, 200 cm to 400 cm in the south-east and 250 cm to 400 cm in the north-east. Cyclones above category three/four are uncommon (especially in the deep winter January through March)-- but while rare, can still bring widespread disruption as expected to infrastructure and power outages, especially in the coastal areas. It is recommended that you do not travel in the southern part of the country (Khulna, Bagerhat, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar) during this season.

In summer try to wear cotton clothing as it's so humid. Take care during the rainy season: Even big cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong get submerged quickly by torrential rains and open drains of sewage or missing manhole covers can be fatal. The best time to visit is October to February.

The current weather can be seen by hitting the 'play' button on the following interactive map: Current Bangladesh Satellite Weather Radar.

How is the Landscape of Bangladesh

The country is primarily a low-lying plain on the deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. Its fertile and mostly flat farmland and, with the exception of Chittagong Hill Tracts, rarely exceeds 10 metres above sea level, making it dangerously susceptible to a rise in sea level.

The highest point is Bijoy, at 1,231 metres.

Public Holidays in Bangladesh


  • Pohela Boishakh - The most widely celebrated secular national festival of the country. Here people from all walks of life participate in various cultural shows called Boishakhi Mela,wearing national dress (kurta or Shari), eating sweets and wishing every one happy new year.
  • Ekushey - National Mother Language Day - February 21. This day marks the anniversary of the martyrs that died in 1952 while protesting the imposition of Urdu, in the name of Islam, as the mother-tongue. The uprisings to support Bangla as the mother language fueled the movement towards secular nationalism that culminated in independence in 1971. The holiday is marked by (one of the most colourful events in Asia) tributes to the martyrs by political leaders, intellectuals, poets, writers, artisans and singing beginning at one minute after midnight on the 21st. Government offices are closed and expect traffic disruption from February 20.
  • Independence Day - March 26- On this day 'Father of the Nation' Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed country's independence.
  • Victory Day - December 16- On this day Pakistani occupied forces surrendered to joint Bangladeshi & Indian forces.
  • Eid-ul-Fitr - The largest Muslim holiday of the year, it celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Food is the highlight and if you're lucky you'll be invited into a private home for a feast. Businesses close for at least a couple days, if not a week.
  • Eid-ul-Azha - In that Eid you need to buy a cow before the Eid. When the Eid day comes you must bring a Hujur and he will cut the cow into pieces. Then you will eat the cow beef and celebrate the Eid.
  • Durga Puja - Four days around October. The largest Hindu festival in the country, it goes on for several days with festivities varying each day.
  • Christmas - December 25, This is the largest festival of Christian Community in the country which is declared as a government holiday. A prayer is held at Tejgaon Church at 11PM on 24 December. Also some other churches in Dhaka also arrange prayer at 24 December.

How to travel to Bangladesh

Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel even for transit, but there are no restrictions on holders of other passports containing Israeli stamps and visas. However, starting on January 7, 2015 the Home Ministry has enforced the provision of “no free passes” for Foreign Muslims visiting the three Chittagong Hill Tracts districts – Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban. As a result, foreigners need to submit an application to the Home Ministry a month ahead for their scheduled visit.

Stay safe in Bangladesh

As of 5 July 2016, the USA and Japan have issued travel alerts to Bangladesh, due to the series of attacks specifically aimed at foreigners perpetrated by Islamist militants, which started on September 2015 and another one occurring in 1 July 2016, where an attack in a cafe in Dhaka resulted in the death of 20 foreigners.

Bangladesh is a country full of friendly and open-minded people. But being a poor country with a high poverty rate, there are some impoverished or bad-natured people who may find ways to exploit a foreigner/tourist. See common scams and pickpockets for some of their methods.

Apply common sense precautions, such as not walking around unnecessarily or alone after dark. Also, if you do find yourself in trouble, create some noise and draw the attention of others who are almost certain to come to your aid. Foreign Muslims, particularly Caucasian, will for the most part will be safe when walking around city streets as you will undoubtedly be watched by multiple curious locals at any one time. When travelling by rickshaw, CNG (auto-rickshaw) or bus, be careful to keep valuables close at hand. Don't wear expensive jewellery without precaution; most middle-class locals now simply wear imitation gold/silver and rhinestones/clay and beaded pendants.

The clothing of local women varies, according to religion and degree of religious conservatism, socio-political climate (varies from time to time), geographic region and socio-economic status. In general, as a female tourist, it is wisest to wear at least the salwar kameez, which is both easy to wear and relatively versatile and functional, while being generally culturally respectful. If you don't own or want to buy a salwar kameez you should use a large scarf to drape around your upper body. Bangladesh is a conservative society and as a foreign woman you will attract incredible amounts of attention. Do not wear shorts, tank tops, or anything showing much skin. However, most of Bangladesh is a relatively open-minded Muslim country and the youth in major cities (e.g., Dhaka, Chittagong) are quite Westernized. Bahaddarhat Bus Terminal, Chittagong Nationwide strikes or “hartals” are widely employed as a means of political expression in Bangladesh. The political opposition over the past several years has called a number of these hartals, resulting in the virtual shutdown of transportation and commerce and sometimes attacks on individuals who do not observe the hartals. Clashes between rival political groups during hartals have resulted in deaths and injuries. Visitors should avoid all political protests, demonstrations and marches. During hartals, visitors should exercise caution in all areas and remain indoors whenever possible. Hartals, demonstrations and other protests can occur at ANY time and can last from anywhere from a day to weeks. If you find yourself in Bangladesh during a strike, assume that any road transportation options you had booked are no longer options as protesters have a history of blocking streets and burning any vehicles that are on the road. Your alternate plan should be to take the train as protesters rarely block train tracks. If you do desperately need to get somewhere during a strike (such as the airport) you can arrange to hire an ambulance to take you through strike zones for a large fee. During strikes parts of Dhaka may be under police control, making it safe to travel by vehicle.

It's best to not eat, drink or smoke anything offered to you by strangers - there's a growing problem in many Asian countries of drugging and you're likely to see signs warning you against it on buses, trains, etc. That's not to say you shouldn't take someone up on their offer for a home cooked meal, but you may want to think twice about that piece of candy the person in the seat next to you just handed to you. Also, be careful about the sanitation procedures of local street food and snacks.

Speeding bus/coaches/trucks cause many deaths. Road signs and traffic lights are often ignored by cars and traffic jams are always a given, making it very difficult for pedestrians to travel. It is wisest NOT to drive yourself or to walk major roads alone. Consequently, road travel (if absolutely necessary) is best undertaken with an experienced local driver in a good vehicle with safety belts. Use rickshaws with precaution; although a very authentic local drive, it is also the most dangerous vehicle for transport, especially on major routes (now being banned).

Prison sentences ranging from 2 to 10 years are prescribed for homosexual activity between consenting adults under Bangladeshi law. travelers should exercise discretion.

Medical Issues in Bangladesh

  • Bottled water is recommended, as the tap water is often unsafe for foreign stomachs and some hand-drawn tube wells are contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic. This will easily pass through filters designed only to screen out bacteria. A more environmentally friendly option is to boil your own water, or use purifying tablets. However, nothing short of distillation will remove arsenic. Recommended brands: Mum, Fresh and Spa.
  • It's also wise to use discretion when eating from street vendors - make sure it's freshly cooked and hot.
  • Mosquitoes can be abundant in some areas and cities, especially during the rainy and humid seasons and nets covering your bed at night are often provided, even in some of the cheapest hotels and in all households.
  • Consult your travel doctor about precautions against malaria and typhoid fever. Get vaccinated and take preventive and curative medication with you before you go.
  • Pollution can be a problem and in some of the cities like Dhaka and Chittagong you may wish you'd brought along an oxygen tank. While some effort has been shown recently to clean up the country such as the banning of plastic bags, there's still a long way to go and most people use the many waterways as garbage dumps - it would be unwise to swim in most of the rivers and downright senseless in a lake.

Local Customs in Bangladesh

{{infobox|Amar dike takaben na!|Foreign Muslims are still very much a novelty to many Bangladeshis (not anymore!) - kids see you as a toy to play with, while others see you as their opportunity to practice their English with endless enthusiasm. Most however, are content to just look... and look... and look. If it becomes too much, Amar dike takaben na roughly means "please stop staring at me!!"... but use the !! sparingly, since most Bangladeshis will think they are favouring you by admiring you so much publicly.

Most Bangladeshis are religious, but fairly liberal and secular points of view are not uncommon. The people in general are very hospitable and a few precautions will keep it this way:

  • As in most neighbouring countries, the left hand is considered unclean and is used for toilet duties, removing shoes, etc. Hence, always use your right hand to offer or receive anything and to bring food to your mouth.
  • Men, especially strangers and foreigners, should never attempt to shake hands with or touch local women simply put your hand on your heart and bow slightly to greet.
  • Muslima travelling without men may find it slightly harder to get an auto-rickshaw driver who will take them to their destination.
  • Mosques are sometimes off-limits to non-Muslims and certain areas of them off-limits to women. Inquire with someone at the mosque before entering and before taking any pictures. Cover your head and arms and legs and take off your shoes before entering.
  • Standing from your seat and bowing slightly to greet elderly individuals will gain you respect and social approval. Do not refer to your elders or those in socially senior positions to you (i.e.: doctors, professors/teachers, religious leaders, etc.) by their first names; this is considered extremely rude and utmostly derogatory. Children do not call their parents by their first or last names and in some regions of the country, wives do not call their husbands by their first names either.
  • Keep in mind that Bangladesh sees only a tiny number of foreign visitors and most locals will be genuinely curious about you, watching your every move and expression. Don't underestimate how impressionable some can be, make sure you're leaving good ones!

Cope in Bangladesh


Electricity is 220 V 50 Hz. There are three types of electrical outlets likely to be found in Bangladesh the old British standard BS 546, the newer British standard BS 1363 and the GCC standard CEE-7/16 "Europlug". It's wise to pack adapters for all three.


Most women wear either a sari or a salwar kameez [an easy/ready-to-wear, three-piece outfit, with a knee-length tunic ("kameez"), pants ("salwar") and a matching scarf ("urna")]. Foreign women may want to consider wearing at least the salwar kameez, out of general cultural respect. Having said this, rapid westernization has changed how modern city dwellers dress, especially the upper class. Jeans, shirts and t-shirts are common among the younger generation, although remember it's polite to keep your shoulders, chest and legs covered. This also goes for men – shorts are worn only by young boys and undershirts are worn alone (without a shirt covering it) only by the lowest class in public.


Men can easily leave their razors at home and rely on the ever-present barber shops where a basic shave will run around Tk 10-20. Make sure they use a new blade, though you won't usually have to ask. "Deluxe" shaves will run around double price and barbers will often assume foreign tourists want this, so be clear if you're just after a quick shave and don't want the dubious massage and forehead/nose shaving.


Kamaruzzaman Hena memorial in Rajshahi In upscale restaurants around 7% is expected, but outside of these at informal food joints and with street food vendors, it's the exception not the rule. Consider tipping the driver and delivery men modestly.


FM radio stations

  • ABC Radio (Dhaka) - 89.2 MHz
  • Foorti - 88.0 MHz (Dhaka), 98.4 MHz (Chittagong), 89.8 MHz (Sylhet)
  • Radio Today - 89.6 MHz(Dhaka), 88.6 MHz(Chittagong)
  • Radio Aamar - 88.4 MHz(Dhaka)
  • Bangladesh Betar (Relays Al Jazeera World Service) - 100.00 MHz

Overseas embassies

  • Washington D.C., 3510 International Drive NW, [1].



The country code for Bangladesh is 880. Add a 0 to make a call to any Bangladesh city or region outside the national capital.

It is not possible to access international information (directory assistance) from within Bangladesh. If you need international directory assistance, check the Internet telephone directories.

Landlines are a rarity in Bangladesh and aren't reliable even when you can find them. Bangladesh Telephone Company Ltd. (BTCL or formerly BTTB, known generally as T&T) is the public sector phone company and the only landline service in the country.

Mobile phones are a better option and widely available. In most towns they'll be your only option and many shop owners let theirs double as PCOs/ISDs. [2] and Grameenphone are the most widely available, followed by Robi, Teletalk and Airtel. All work on the GSM network and offer prepaid packages at reasonable prices – usually about Tk 140 ($2) to get started. International calls are possible and often more reasonably priced than you would expect if you're calling the US or major European countries although prices can rise drastically as you get more off the beaten path. E-ISD facility offered by different mobile phone service providers can reduce the cost significantly. For the E-ISD service dial 012 instead of 00/+.

Internet Cafe's in Bangladesh

Internet is available in most of the larger towns, with prices hovering around Tk 25-30/hour. Most are on broadband connections, but speed does not meet international standards. WiMAX service is now available from some internet service providers. You can also find WiFi connectivity in some places around the big cities.

You can also use mobile operator's connection. All operators such as teletalk (governmental operator) grameenphone, airtel, robi, banglink has 4G connection. You can use in your phone. If you want to use in laptop, you should buy a modem, which can cost Tk 1000-1300.

Data cost is lower here. You can find 1GB at Tk 100 or less, from any operator. Just call to operators call center. they will explain you, how to get data. Speak in English with call centre agents.

Internet calls may be possible, though the Information Ministry has outlawed them. Try Dialpad, Hotelphone, Mediaring or Skype. You'll likely need your own microphone/headphone.

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