Bangladesh tourism itinerary for long and short stays in Bangladesh!
What’s it Like to Travel Bangladesh?
Can I Travel Alone in Bangladesh as a Woman?
Bangladesh Solo Travel Top Tips
Bangladesh Tourism 5 Day Itinerary
Bangladesh Tourism 1 Week (7 days) Itinerary
Bangladesh Tourism 10 Days Itinerary
Bangladesh Tourism 2 Week (14 days) Itinerary
Bangladesh Tourism 14 days + Itinerary
Deciding to visit Bangladesh was one of my best decisions.
Bangladesh tourism may not be the most advanced out there, but that’s one of the charms of Bangladesh. It’s not easy to travel, but definitely worth it.
Bangladesh tourism is still in its early stages. There are very few things that are set up for tourists. Fewer people speak English than in neighbouring India or Bhutan, making it a little more difficult to get around.
The lack of Bangladesh tourism is exactly what makes Bangladesh so charming.
Expect to see no other foreigners during your time in Bangladesh. Expect your travel not to be too easy. But also not too challenging. When you travel Bangladesh, you will be travelling like a local. There are no buses or trains for tourists (or one's tourists usually get). You’ll be getting the same transportation as the local people do.
People won’t be screaming at you in the street to come into their restaurant, buy their bus ticket, ride in their taxi. If they see you obviously looking for tickets or a taxi, they might politely ask. But when you say no they're not pushy.
The people of Bangladesh are very polite and always trying to help. They respect your ‘no thanks’ answer and walk away, but they will try to help you out too. Best of both worlds!
Despite Bangladesh being a relatively poor country, many people have smartphones, it’s easy to buy a sim card on arrival at the airport, and Uber works there too!
The people of Bangladesh LOVE taking pictures and selfies. My top tip: If somebody wishes to take a photo with you (and you don't mind spending the time), offer a group selfie - not single ones for everyone in the group. It took me 20 minutes to get a few meters down the beach...
Actually, I found travel in Bangladesh as a solo woman easier than in India. There were very few times when I felt unsafe. People are generally very respectful. If anything, they’re just very curious - and even more so when you explain to them you’re a solo woman traveller.
I met many people during my time in Bangladesh who I genuinely felt happy and comfortable to spend time with. I went for meals with groups of guys, spent whole days with another two male friends. Not one time did I feel threatened or that there were any ulterior motives. If anything, they’re just happy to chill out with a foreigner - male or female.
One thing that did strike me odd and a tad intimidating at times is just the lack of women. Everywhere you go, everywhere you travel it’s 80/90% males. Where the females are, I cannot say. But just be aware of this before you go and be prepared to be the only female on a crowded bus.
When travelling solo as a woman anywhere, you need to be smart and aware of the culture and environment you’re in. Do your research beforehand and follow these tips below, you will be fine.
Bangladesh is a relatively small country, so you can see a lot in a short time.
However, trying to travel in a short amount of time and see lots of places is probably not the best idea. It’s not always possible to get a train or bus ticket - especially to popular places during high season.
Do your research and plan accordingly to how much time you have.
- Dhaka 3 nights, Sundarbans 1 night.
- Dhaka | Sundarbans | Dhaka
Give yourself some time to settle in and get used to Bangladesh and the chaos it brings. Most foreigners stay in the Gulshan area, where ex-pats and diplomats live. Have a walk around the area and head down some backstreets, enjoy the street food and the markets.
Visit Old Dhaka. This is the main thing to do in Dhaka. The best way I can describe it is it is a general sensory overload. It is an abuse on the sights, sounds, and smells. There is so much going on and it’s very intense - but spectacular. Head to the major tourist sites such as the National Museum, Pink Palace, Lalbag Fort etc. But you can also spend hours just getting lost in all of the side alleys, grabbing a rikshaw, or heading to the river. Getting a boat over the river is a must!
From Dhaka, you can head to the famous Sundarbans. This is the biggest mangrove forest in the world, and home to the famous Bengal tiger. You can spend multiple nights here on a tour from Dhaka - but the quickest you can see it is with one night. Track the tigers, see crocodiles, and stay in a local village/on the boat.
Head back to Dhaka for a final look around anything you’ve missed and get ready to leave.
Trust me, you’ll be sad to leave so soon!
OPTION 1: Dhaka & Sundarbans
Dhaka 4 nights, Sundarbans 2 nights
Dhaka | Sundarbans | Dhaka
From Dhaka, take the infamous paddle steamer boat to Kuhlna where you can meet your guide for the Sundarbans tour. An overnight ride on this iconic boat is reason enough to visit the Sundarbans!
Spending an extra night in the Sundarbans will really add to the experience. It will be less rushed and you’ll have a better chance of catching a glimpse of the Bengal Tiger. There are various options such as staying in villages, or on your own private boat. Definitely worth the extra days!
OPTION 2: Travel across Bangladesh
- Dhaka 3 nights, Chittagong 1 night, Cox’s Bazar 2 nights
- Dhaka | Chittagong | Cox’s Bazar
You can get to Chittagong on the train from Dhaka. This takes around 5/6 hours and leaves of a morning.
Chittagong is the second-largest city in Bangladesh, as a more chilled out version of Dhaka. It’s cool to wander around. Many people go here for the Chittagong Hill Tracts (see below) but it’s a cool city to just have a wander around. You can also head to the rivers here for a boat ride.
If you’re a beach lover, 7 days will get you just enough time to see the world’s longest beach at Cox’s Bazar. There are many buses running in the morning and evening to Cox’s Bazar. It takes around 4 hours.
Get yourself settled in then head out to the shores! Most accommodation is right next to the beach so you won’t have to walk far to the nearest popular beaches; Laboni and Kolatoli Beach.
Laboni and Kolatoli Beach can be pretty crowded during peak season. Take a taxi to Inani beach about an hour away, and stop off at Himchori waterfall on the way.
Take the night bus from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka. This takes around 10-12 hours and isn’t all too bad. There are many buses running on hourly buses from around 7 pm at night that get you in for a good time in the morning.
Alternatively, catch a flight from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka which takes around 2 hours.
- Dhaka 3 nights | Chittagong 3 nights | Cox’s Bazar 3 nights
- Dhaka | Chittagong | Chittagong Hill Tracts | Cox’s Bazar
Before leaving Chittagong, you can apply for your Chittagong Hill Tract permit.
Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts hiking.
- Dhaka 4 nights, Sundarbans 2 nights, Chittagong 4 nights, Cox’s Bazar 3 nights
- Dhaka | Sundarbans | Chittagong | Chittagong Hill Tracts | Cox’s Bazar
You can also do much more time in Bangladesh, allowing you to do all of the above but at a much more chilled-out pace, and also heading to different areas of the country even less-explored. Most of the Bangladesh visas offer approx. 1-month entry.
You could spend a whole month acclimatising to the culture and really getting a feel for what Bangladesh tourism has to offer.
There’s also a lot to do in the south at Cox’s Bazar, such as visiting the island St. Martin’s which is a few hour’s boat ride away from Cox’s Bazar.
At the front of things, it may seem like there isn’t much to do in Bangladesh. Bangladesh tourism isn’t the most advanced. You may rather spend more time in other neighbouring countries.
For me, I wish I’d spend a month there instead of more time in India.
You don’t go to for the best Bangladesh tourism experience, but rather to experience local life in Bangladesh and just enjoy the country as it is.
If you like stunning monuments, museums, good infrastructure, air-conditioned buses and train tickets you can book online - Bangladesh isn’t for you.
If you like getting off the beaten track, living and experiencing life as a local, and a bit of organised chaos - head to Bangladesh.