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It was all the more full of surprises because of the lack of information available online about travel in Bangladesh – many Bangladesh travel blogs were written several years ago, pre 2015 when already low international tourist numbers decreased.And of course, Bangladesh is a country which (sadly) not many foreign travellers make it to…Yet.
In addition to the twice weekly Maitree Express, there’s also a train that runs from Kolkata to Khulna, which can be useful for heading straight to the south west of Bangladesh from India. In 1947 when India gained independence from British colonial rule, the sub-continent was also partitioned into India and Pakistan, leading to the largest migration crisis in history.Expect to get lots of (usually friendly) attention, enquiries as to your family (ladies – if travelling with a man or solo – it’s best to say you are married) and offers of tea, dinner, lunch. The currency in Bangladesh is the Bangladeshi Taka.Culturally, it’s important to Bangladeshis to be welcoming to guests so do not feel under pressure to accept dinner invitations unless they are repeated several times, although equally if you can spare a few minutes to have a cha (tea) with a new friend, it may make for one of your favourite memories. Officially it’s not available outside of Bangladesh, however there are exchange shops in the Sudder Street area of Kolkata that will be able to give you Taka in exchange for your Rupees.On the other hand, Bangladesh also lacks much of the infrastructure of neighbouring India, and travelling around can be hard work.
Roads can be unpaved, traffic is dire in some places (mostly Dhaka) – for more see the transport section – and transport conditions are basic at best.In many parts of the country there is religious harmony between Muslims and Hindus, although in other places there remain tensions. A friendly hello It can be difficult to distinguish who is what religion to the un-trained eye – not all Muslim women cover their hair, some Hindu women do cover their hair… The main greeting in Bangladesh is the Muslim “Asalaam Aleikum” however Hindus use the Bengali “Nomoshkar”.