Bangladesh: Off the tourist trails, and off the beaten track

Our two week holiday in Bangladesh began with a flight from Guangzhou, China to Dhaka. I was pretty excited about returning to Bangladesh, after 46 years and had organized a tour guide through a company called Nijhoom Tours, which I found on TripAdvisor. I asked them what they could provide and together we made a two weeks package.

You see I’ve already lived in Dhaka; in the 70’s. I was a volunteer smallpox vaccinator for WHO, and lived with my family who were working on a New Zealand aid program teaching pilots how to fly. I am one of the last people to see smallpox on the planet.

Passengers on a Bangladeshi train

© Passengers on a Bangladeshi train. Photo Credit: Hilary Heath-Caldwell

I already knew that Dhaka was a chaotic place and to buy tickets for transport would be hours – valuable time, that I did not want to waste on my holiday. So all of the purchasing was done ahead of time by Hassan at Nijhoom Tours.

We traveled at the end of the monsoon. I like this time because the air is really clean, and the rivers are full and the paddy fields still hold lots of water. It is very picturesque. Actually Bangladesh is photo heaven.

Our lodging on an Eco-resort at Srimangal

© Our lodging on an Eco-resort at Srimangal. Photo Credit: Hilary Heath-Caldwell

On arrival we went and had lunch in Old Dhaka and then went on the little wooden boats on the river for a small paddle before boarding our 1929 paddle steamer to go on an overnight journey to Bagerhat.

We traveled First Class, Bangladesh style. We are both physically fit and used to camping. Bangladesh is a developing nation so nothing is what you expect, the beds are hard, things can look grubby and run down, and people stare at you. If you are a 5 Star tourist, this is not the place for you.

On the other hand if you love color, other cultures, and have some travel endurance, then this might be your next destination.

Bangladeshi ladies in colorful saries.

© Bangladeshi ladies in colorful saries. Photo Credit: Hilary Heath-Caldwell

We traveled on little boats, big boats, trains, tri–shaws, hiking, cycling, and a jeep from one side of the country to the other. We ate everything, and everywhere and never got sick. We used signs and laughs and smiles to communicate with the local people, and we got plenty back.

Bangladeshis made us feel like we were visiting royalty. They were so pleased that we had come to their country to visit them. And of course by being there we were helping the local little communities by spreading our dollars.

We were in a country with 160 million Muslims. That’s quite a few and I have to say I felt safe the entire time. Bangladeshis are people going about their lives eking out a living, and feeling very optimistic about their future.

BTrekking inside Rajkandi Reserve Forest at Srimangal in Bangladesh

© Trekking inside Rajkandi Reserve Forest at Srimangal. Photo Credit: Hilary Heath-Caldwell

Now remember I’d lived there in the 1970’s and things had changed. This is a quick-list of the changes..

Women are loving wearing brightly colored saris.
There is not a strong prevalence of skin disease among the children.
There were few beggars.
The pie dogs look healthy.
People are optimistic.
People work hard.
There is plenty of healthy food and everyone appeared well fed.
Our tour leader Arafat was conscious of litter in the National Parks and collected it up.
It was OK for cross dressers to collect funds on one section of the train route.

The traffic in Dhaka is worse, so get out into the country.
Book a tour leader AND GO EXPLORE.

Boat ride on green-water canal Lalakhal in Sylhet, the north-eastern part of Bangladesh

© Boat ride on green-water canal Lalakhal in Sylhet. Photo Credit: Arafat Rasul

Have you ever visited Bangladesh? How fascinating have you found the country? Share your experience with the fellow travelers in comments, so that they can have a real insight about the country, and more people get encouraged to visit the least traveled destination in the world.

Check out our 01-07 days tours and excursions in Bangladesh and 08-23 days holiday packages in Bangladesh to travel Bangladesh with comfort.

Share with friends

Let the world know about this amazing article you've found!

Bangladesh Brochure
Bangladesh Brochure 2018-2019

Bangladesh Brochure 2018-2019

Free download our Bangladesh brochure for 2018-2019, and discover a hidden gem in Asia. You are guaranteed to be surprised! Download now!

Popular Holiday Packages in Bangladesh:

08 Days Tour in Bangladesh to Sundarbans with Rocket Steamer

Sundarbans Excursion with Rocket

08 DAYS   $760 USD*


22-29 Sep, 02-09 Oct, 2017


01-08 Dec, 2017


15-22 Jan, 03-10 Feb, 2018


19-26 Mar, 23-30 Apr, 2018


04-11 May, 10-17 Sep, 2018


11 Days Highlights of Bangladesh Tour

Highlights of Bangladesh

11 DAYS   $1,025 USD*


08-18 Sep, 16-26 Oct, 2017


01-11 Jan, 09-19 Apr, 2018


17-27 Sep, 2018


21-31 Jan, 08-18 Apr, 2019


16-26 Sep, 2019


14 Days Glory of Bangladesh Tour

Glory of Bangladesh

14 DAYS   $1,420 USD*


06-19 Oct, 15-28 Dec, 2017


05-18 Mar, 16-29 Oct, 2018


18-31 Dec, 2018


18-31 Mar, 15-28 Oct, 2019


17-30 Dec, 2019


18 Days Best of Bangladesh Tour

Best of Bangladesh

18 DAYS   $1,970 USD*


10-27 Nov, 2017


06-23 Feb, 06-23 Nov, 2018


05-22 Feb, 05-22 Nov, 2019


23 Days Exploring of Bangladesh Tour

Exploring Bangladesh

23 DAYS   $2,500 USD*


08-30 Dec, 2017


02-24 Mar, 04-26 Dec, 2018


04-26 Mar, 03-25 Dec, 2019


27 Days Discover Bangladesh Tour

Discover Bangladesh

27 DAYS   $2,985 USD*


03-29 Jan, 03-29 Oct, 2018


02-28 Jan, 02-28 Oct, 2019


The following two tabs change content below.
Hilary Heath-Caldwell

Hilary Heath-Caldwell

I'm a 58 little bit overweight tourist from New Zealand who likes to travel to exotic places. I currently work on a New Zealand program aimed at people from the Pacific. I love trying the local cuisine and smiling. I used to live in Bangladesh with my parents in the 70's, and returned to visit it after 40 years with my husband on September, 2015.
Hilary Heath-Caldwell

Latest posts by Hilary Heath-Caldwell (see all)

Leave a Reply

Awards

Connect with us

Flickr Photos

Content Protection

DMCA.com Protection Status

Content of this website is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. of USA. Any content (text, photo, video, graphics) theft from this website and hosted somewhere else will be taken down by their ISP under the DMCA law, no matter which country the site is hosted in.

Online Payment