Traditional geometric painted boat, Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Traditional geometric painted boat, Dhaka, Bangladesh

© Creative Commons / Wonderlane's

Bangladesh Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

143,998 sq km (55,598 sq miles).

Population

163.7 million (2013).

Population density

1136 per sq km.

Capital

Dhaka.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Head of state

President Abdul Hamid since 2013.

Head of government

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2009.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Sockets accept a mixture of British-style three-prong plugs, standard European rounded two-pin plugs, rounded three-pin plugs and American-style two-pin plugs.

Little explored, Bangladesh offers visitors a wealth of opportunity to discover temples, wildlife, infinite beaches, forests and tea plantations.

Bangladesh’s river journeys make for an excellent way to see the sights, as do voyages along the sprawling stretches of beach, which overlook the Bay of Bengal. With almost no mountains, the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet are popular with trekkers and explorers, whilst the capital city, Dhaka, allows for visits to museums and countless dining options.

Shoppers need not be disappointed; Bangladeshi handicrafts on offer range from brass work and pottery, to pink pearls and finely woven cotton muslin – all long treasured since Roman times. The newspaper headlines may have dismissed Bangladesh as a land beset with problems, but it is a remarkably optimistic country with great diversity, both within it’s population and it’s landscape. As one of the world’s youngest nations Bangladesh has a survivor spirit, a curious and highly hospitable people and genuine potential for adventure.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 30 January 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This does not include the city of Chittagong or other parts of Chittagong Division. If you propose to visit the Chittagong Hill Tracts you must give the Bangladeshi authorities ten days’ notice of your travel plans.

Political tensions between the Awami League-led Government and opposition parties led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are a regular feature in Bangladesh.

Tensions increased in January 2015 on the first anniversary of the 5 January 2014 parliamentary election, which the BNP boycotted. Political differences are unresolved and the potential exists for the security situation to deteriorate again. In particular protests and demonstrations can quickly turn violent and lead to clashes with the law enforcement agencies.

If you’re currently in Bangladesh or intend to travel to Bangladesh, even if you’re a regular visitor with family or business links, you should monitor news media and regularly consult this travel advice.

The police have banned all protests and rallies in Dhaka from 4 January until further notice. There is a strong and visible security presence on the streets of Dhaka.

The BNP has called for a nationwide blockade of road, rail and river transport for an undefined period of time. Previous blockades have resulted in the obstruction of roads, railways and waterways throughout the country including the capital.

The current blockade has been marked by violence and sporadic clashes between the police and protestors. There are reports of clashes between rival groups, arson and vandalism across the country. In Dhaka, there have been reports of petrol bombs and small crude hand made bombs (known locally as cocktails) going off in some parts of the city including the diplomatic enclave of Gulshan, Baridhara and Banani.

A number of incidents have been reported, particularly at night, around the Gulshan 2 intersection. British High Commission staff have been advised to avoid the area around Road 86 Gulshan 2, where the BNP has its Gulshan office, until further notice.

The BNP led 20 Party Alliance has called a dawn to dusk enforced general strike (hartal) on Thursday 29 January in Dhaka (excluding Dhaka City, Gazipur, Narayangang, Tangail, Mymenshing, Narshingdi, Munshigonj, Kishoregonj and Manikgonj districts.

If you’re travelling during a blockade or hartal you should avoid demonstrations and protests as they may quickly turn violent and lead to attacks on property and public transport including burning buses, which has resulted in the death and serious injuries.

You should limit your movements around central Dhaka, particularly around political offices, government ministries and Dhaka University campus. Remain vigilant across the country, taking care where there are large gatherings, political offices and rallies.

There is a general threat from terrorism. 

Tropical cyclones and flooding can affect parts of the country. You should monitor the progress of approaching weather systems on the website of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Up to 75,000 British nationals visit Bangladesh every year. Most visits are trouble free.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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