While India draws the lion’s share of travellers to the south Asia subcontinent, Bangladesh is considered more of an off-the-beaten-track destination. Still, that means that if you make a visit to Bangladesh, you’ll be one of the few tourists there. And with a population that’s extraordinarily friendly, as well as a healthy dose of stellar food and gorgeous landscapes, you’ll be glad that you did.
A visit to Bangladesh usually starts in Dhaka, a bustling metropolis filled with crowds, which is both fascinating and energising. The Old Town is a heady mixture of different architectural styles and narrow streets, with pulsing Banga Bazaar at one end. Packed with stalls crowded into tiny alleyways, this is the place to get a real feel for Dhaka life, and to pick up some bargains while you're there.
Outside Dhaka, the lush tea plantations of Srimangal await. Or, if you’re feeling more daring, head into the wilds of Sundarbans National Park. It’s home to numerous rivers and waterways, the world’s biggest mangrove forest, and – most excitingly – over 440 Bengal tigers.
When you travel around Bangladesh, you’ll often travel by boat – this country has more than 700 rivers and a huge amount of territory is under water during the rainy season. Far superior to the sometimes crowded buses, boats are a much more peaceful and relaxed way to get around, with the added benefit of getting to take in some stunning scenery as you go.
Bangladesh is not a wealthy country and the tourist infrastructure is minimal, but if you’re willing to sacrifice some creature comforts, you’ll be rewarded with a powerfully exciting travel experience most people will never have.