This is a collaborative post.
Bangladesh is a beautiful South Asian country with a rich culture, delicious cuisine, and stunning natural scenery. As an American visiting Bangladesh, there are some important things to keep in mind to make your trip go smoothly. Here are five tips for traveling around Bangladesh:
1. Dress Appropriately
Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s important to dress conservatively, especially if you’re visiting religious sites. For women, cover your legs and shoulders. Men should avoid shorts. Both genders should steer clear of tight or revealing clothing. When visiting villages and rural areas, even more modest attire is appropriate. Respect local customs and you’ll find Bangladeshis to be very welcoming.
2. Be Prepared for Spicy Food
Bangladeshi cuisine consists of flavorful curries, dals, and vegetable dishes, often cooked with liberal amounts of chili peppers and spices. If you’re not accustomed to very spicy food, don’t be shy about asking for your dishes to be made “not spicy.” Locals will understand and try to accommodate your palate. That said, be adventurous and try to sample classic Bangladeshi dishes like vindaloo, jhalmuri, and biryani. Just have plenty of yogurt or milk on hand to cool your mouth if things get too hot!
3. Obtain Proper Vaccinations
To stay healthy on your trip, make sure to get vaccinated properly. Recommended immunizations for Bangladesh include Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Tetanus. Malaria preventative medication may be prudent as well. Consult your doctor and visit a travel clinic several weeks prior to departure to allow time for any necessary shots or medications. Having the proper vaccinations and health precautions in place means you can focus on enjoying your trip without worrying about illnesses.
4. Check Your US Passport
Before travel is a good time to check your US passport expiration date. For entry into Bangladesh, your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival. Otherwise, you may be denied entry. Take action well in advance of your trip, since US passport renewals can take 4-6 weeks for routine service. If you need US passport renewal in Bangladesh, perhaps because it has been lost or stolen, you will need to do this at a US embassy. You cannot renew your passport online.
5. Respect Local Customs
Bangladesh has relatively conservative social norms by Western standards. Dressing conservatively is one way to show respect. Additionally, public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. Be discreet. Mosques and religious sites will require modest dress and head coverings. Before entering homes, especially in rural areas, remove your shoes unless your host indicates otherwise. Learning a few Bengali phrases and greetings will go a long way as well! The locals will appreciate your efforts.
Bangladesh is an amazing country full of warm, hospitable people. Keep these tips in mind, and you’re sure to have a wonderful time. Your considerate behavior will be noticed and appreciated by the Bangladeshis you meet along your journey. Be open-minded, savor the delicious food, and immerse yourself in the lush scenery and cultural richness the country has to offer. Have a safe and memorable trip!