First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Bangladesh

When it comes to sightseeing, Bangladesh is probably the least choice for tourists. However, this small country deserves your attention because of its beautiful and interesting destinations that are uncommon compared to the world’s most visited spots. So, why do you need to include Bangladesh in your next travel in South Asia? Read this Bangladesh Travel Guide for First-Timers with our list of the top Tourist Attractions in Bangladesh to know more about this country.

Tourist Attractions in Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh | Photo by blese under creative commons

Visa Requirements to Bangladesh

Most nationalities require a visa to enter Bangladesh, some can get a visa on arrival while some nationalities need to apply for a visa at the nearest embassy prior to their travel.

Visa-Exempt Countries: Barbados, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tonga, and Zambia.

Visa on Arrival: Citizens of these countries can get a visa on arrival at the Dhaka Airport: European Union nations, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Iceland, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America.

Electronic Visa Application: Citizens of the following countries may avail of the electronic visa application. More details at

  • Brazil
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Maldives
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

How to get to Bangladesh?

There are basically two options to get to Bangladesh, by air and by land through the India-Bangladesh border in Petrapole and Benapole.

By Air: The national flag carrier of Bangladesh is Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It has direct flights from Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai, Dushanbe, Jeddah, Kathmandu, Kolkota, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait City, London, Medina, Munich, Muscat, Riyadh, Singapore, Tashkent, Tokyo, and Yangon. You can check and book flights to Dhaka now.

By Land: From India, you can go to Dhaka by crossing the border Petrapole and Benapole. There are daily buses from Kolkota to Dhaka that you can take provided that you have a visa or you are entitled to a visa on arrival. The travel time takes around 12 hours and the fare is around INR1,500 (USD22). The bus usually leaves in the morning, the first trip is at 5:30 AM and the last trip at around 11:30 AM.

You can also take the train to the town of Bangaon which is close to the border and just take a bus to Dhaka after passing through the immigration. The immigration counters open at 9:00 AM.

Presidential Palace, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Presidential Palace, Dhaka, Bangladesh | Photo by ASaber91 under creative commons

How to get to the city center from Dhaka Airport

The most convenient way to get to the city center from Dhaka Airport is by taxi. The airport is about 40 minutes away from Dhaka city center. The average fare for a one-way ride is around BDT1,600 (USD19). You may also take an auto rickshaw (tuktuk) to get to nthe city center for a much cheaper rate. You need to get out of the airport and cross the main road for this option.

Buses are also available from the main road which is about 5 minutes from the terminal. The travel time is about an hour. The bus gets crowded so it is not recommended for tourist. The fare is only about BDT5. Also, the signs and bus info are only written in Bengali so it might be very difficult to get to the right stop.

When is the best time to visit Bangladesh?

The best time to visit Bangladesh is during the dry season from November to March. During these months, the weather is warm and sunny. The best month really is in December as you get warm sunny days and cooler nights.

Where to exchange local currency in Bangladesh?

The local currency in Bangladesh is Bangladeshi Taka (BDT). One USD is approximately BDT84. There are currency exchange centers in the airport as well as ATM if you want to withdraw some cash instead of exchanging currency. There are also a lot of foreign currency exchange shops and banks in downtown Dhaka City where you can exchange your foreign currency into local currency.

How to get around Bangladesh?

The most popular inter-city mode of transportation in Bangladesh are buses and trains. Within the city, cycle and auto rickshaw is the most convenient way to get around. You can also rent a car in Dhaka so you can move freely within the city and in the countryside.

Cycle Rickshaw | Photo by nasir khan under creative commons

Where to stay in Dhaka, Bangladesh?

Finding accommodation in Dhaka is pretty easy, here are our suggestions for the best places to stay in Dhaka near the city center that will suit your budget and preference.

If the price isn’t an issue then we highly suggest you stay at InterContinental Dhaka. Room rates start at around USD145. You can book now online via

For a regular hotel, we recommend Hotel 71. It is very close to the city center so it’s easy to move around.

Budget travelers and backpackers can stay at Golpata Bed & Breakfast. This hostel is located about 3 km from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. You can get a shared accommodation here at around USD18. Book now to reserve a bed in a dormitory room.

Must-Try Food in Bangladesh

There are a lot of interesting traditional dishes and cuisines in Bangladesh. Some of the must-try food in Bangladesh are:

  • Hilsa/Ilish curry – one of the most popular traditional Bangladeshi dishes made from Hilsa fish. It’s considered as the national dish of Bangladesh.
  • Changri malai curry – a seafood curry in coconut milk usually served with basmati rice.
  • Dhokor Dalna – another popular Bangladeshi dish made of lentils or dal.
  • Chachchari – a popular vegetarian Bangladeshi dish
Hilsa Fish Curry
Hilsa Fish Curry | Photo by Acoomar under creative commons

Where to eat in Dhaka, Bangladesh?

If you want to have one of the best Bengali dishes during your visit to Dhaka, you can go to Hotel Al Razzak Restaurant at 29/1 North South Road, Below IFSC Bank, Dhaka 1100, Bangladesh. This restaurant serves authentic Bengali dishes such as Hilsa curry, chicken and mutton biryani, and more.

7 Top Tourist Attractions in Bangladesh

These are some of the top tourist attractions you should visit when you go to Bangladesh!

Sajek Valley

The Sajek Valley is one of the top tourist attractions in Bangladesh with its beautiful hills and mountain ranges. It’s 1,800ft above sea level so you have the perfect view from the valley. Also called the Queen of Hills, the overlooking view offers a picturesque vista of Bangladesh.

Sajek Valley, Bangladesh
Sajek Valley, Bangladesh | Photo by Abdul Momin under creative commons

St. Martin’s Island

This is an amazing coral island located in Bengal Bay. The beach is relaxing and will give you a whole day of a memorable vacation. It’s peaceful and away from the crowd so you can enjoy your holiday without the fuss.

St. Martin’s Island, Bangladesh
St. Martin’s Island, Bangladesh | Photo by Shadman Samee under creative commons

Ahsan Manzil

Dhaka’s Nawab officially resides in this palace. The famous building is located in Kumartol, a district near the Buriganga River. However, you need to consider the entry fees and visiting hours of Ahsan Manzil before you visit the place so that you can completely enjoy your historical trip without any inconveniences. This is one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Bangladesh.

Ahsan Manzil, Bangladesh
Ahsan Manzil, Bangladesh | Photo by Ariful Haque Bhuiyan under creative commons

Lalbagh Fort

The popular Lalbagh Fort is a 17th century structure that is situated in southwest Dhaka. It’s basically a Mughal fort complex where the history of Bangladesh can be explored. You will find beautiful gardens inside the complex as well as amazing architecture that the country is truly proud of.

Lalbagh Fort, Bangladesh
Lalbagh Fort, Bangladesh | Photo by Diego Tirira under creative commons

Sundarbans Mangrove Forest

This is the world’s biggest mangrove forest and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. It is where you will find Bengal tigers and other rare species. Sundarbans will give you the best nature trip with the amazing flora and fauna, especially the mangroves.

Sundarbans Mangrove Forest
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest | Photo by Suman85 under creative commons

Somapura Mahavihara

If you’re going to visit the Naogaon District, don’t forget to check out the Somapura Mahavihara, a popular Buddhist vihara area in Bangladesh. It was constructed for Dharama Pala with Gupta and Pala architectural styles. You will be amazed by the amazing art in front of you while discovering more from this Buddhist monastery.

Somapura Mahavihara
Somapura Mahavihara | Photo by Masum-al-hasan under creative commons

Chittagong Hill-Tracts

Aside from the tribal groups living in the area, the main attraction here is the sight of breath-taking hills. A great place for adventures such as trekking, river boating, and sightseeing. You will meet friendly tribes and at the same time witness the most enchanting Sangru River.

Chittagong Hill-Tracts
Chittagong Hill-Tracts | Photo by under creative commons

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Bangladesh

Full Day Dhaka City Tour

Enjoy a full day Dhaka City tour and explore the capital city of Bangladesh – the cultural and historical treasure of the country. Highlights of this tour include:

  • Explore the capital city of Bangladesh
  • Enjoy a 1-hour Boat Trip on Buriganga River Sadarghat
  • Visit Ahsan Manzil, Lalbag Fort, Armenian Church, Dhakeshwari Temple
  • See the Star Mosque, Baitul Mukarram Mosque, National Parliament Building
Baitul Mukarram Mosque
Baitul Mukarram Mosque | Photo by আহসান হাবীব under creative commons

Sonargaon Day Tour from Dhaka

Explore the old capital of Sonargaon and see the Sonargaon Folk Art and Crafts Museum, Panam City, and cruise the Meghna River. Book this tour!

Sonargaon Folk Art and Craft Museum
Sonargaon Folk Art and Crafts Museum | Photo by Francisco Anzola under creative commons

Basic and Useful Phrases in Bengali

YesHæ (Ha)
Thank youdhonnobad / apnake dhonnobad / tomake dhonnobad
You’re welcomeOelkam!
HelloAssalamu alaikum
What is your name?Aponar Naam Key?
My name is BlissAmar naam Bliss
Nice to meet youAponar sathe porichitoh oye valo laglo
Do you speak English?Apni ingreji bolte paren?
I don’t understandAmi bhujhte parchina.
How much is this?Ei jinishṭar dam kôto?
Turn leftBa/Bum Dikay Jaan
Turn rightDun Dikay Jaan
Go StraightSoja jaan
Good morningShubho Shokal
Good afternoonShubho Oporanno
Good eveningShubho Shondha

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