Quick facts

  • Full name: People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • Capital: Dhaka
  • Largest city: Dhaka
  • Official language: Bengali
  • Area: 147,570 km2
  • Population: 162,951,560 (2016)
  • Currency: Taka (BDT) 1 (BDT) = 100 poisha
  • Foreign tourists: 120 thousand (2014)
  • Travel risks and hazards: Dangerous animals, natural hazards, political unrest, terrorism risk.

Bangladesh is a relatively unpopular tourist destination being one of the least visited places in Asia. This, in turn, makes for some unusual local behavior towards particularly western tourists however there is nothing to fear. Locals may become overwhelming at first as western tourists always gather lots of attention, especially if you’re a white woman, you might unintentionally stop an entire street of people just to look at you or talk to you. Bangladesh is the second largest supplier of clothes in the world. You may find some of the most famous brands being dirt cheap.

Monument in Bangladesh with thick forest surrounding it

Traveling info

All tourists traveling to Bangladesh must have a valid passport which is valid for at least a period of 6 months beyond arrival. Citizens of certain countries enjoy the privilege of obtaining a visa upon arrival which allows a 30-day stay whilst citizens of other countries must apply for a visa prior to entering the country. Visa on arrival may be extended in the Department of Immigration and Authority. Those who wish to drive a private or rental vehicle in Bangladesh must obtain an international driving permit. Such permit may only be issued in the drivers country of origin and is only a translation of the original document. It does not substitute for the original driving permit.

Skyline of Dhaka

Traveling hazards

Road safety in Bangladesh is extremely poor. Dhaka is one of the most traffic congested places in the world. The entire country is the 10th most human congested place in the world making even small villages on a casual day look like a festival. Roads are generally in very poor conditions and often happen to be blockaded by the locals for various reasons ranging from protests to attempts of robbery and opposing the government policies. Driving in Bangladesh is pretty much lawless as the larger your vehicle is the more right to drive you to have, or at least the locals believe this. Truck drivers particularly disregard the local traffic rules and are mostly driven by young and inexperienced individuals. Driving a private or rental car in Bangladesh is generally discouraged. It is much safer to hire a professional driver.

Farmers working in a field of tea plants

Environmental hazards

Bangladesh supports a large variety of animals which are dangerous for humans and are easily capable of killing them. Elephants are present in Bangladesh and there are about 300 wild specimens. These animals generally do not attack people, but when maddened or approached to close they might attack with fatal effects. Among the large cats, Bengal tigers and Indian leopard inhabit parts of Bangladesh. Due to the rapid spread of urban areas and the need for agricultural land people just like in India much more often come into contact with these animals and often fall their victims and vice versa. Bangladesh is home to two species of crocodiles. The smaller yet still large reptile namely the mugger crocodile can reach lengths of up to 5 meters and inhabits freshwater marshes, rivers, and lakes. Although the mugger crocodile is capable of killing humans, it mainly focuses on livestock, smaller specimens usually attack small animals. The larger species, the saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile on earth and an apex predator. This infamous beast may be found all along the coast of Bangladesh and further inland in saltwater marshes and brackish waters. It may also swim further up rivers or even far out into the sea. Saltwater crocodiles do not shy away from any prey being the apex predators they even attack sharks. Bangladesh has quite a variety of venomous snakes which collectively make 25 lethally venomous snakes of which almost ⅓ is sea snakes including sea kraits and coral snakes. There are several species of kraits, pit vipers and cobras. Due to high population density snake bites are common. These snakes are found throughout all of Bangladesh and may very well be spotted in close proximity of urban areas. Swimming off the coast of Bangladesh is generally safe, as long as swimmers stick to guarded beaches. Wild beaches are dangerous due to lack of lifeguards or even worse, are crocodile hunting grounds. Beachgoers should stick to designated beaches for their safety. There has been only a single shark attack recorded in Bangladesh however such attacks cannot be ruled out. The coastal morphology of Bangladesh influences the impact of natural hazards on the area. Bangladesh suffers from floods, cyclones, storm surge, river bank erosion, earthquake, drought, salinity intrusion, fire, and tsunami. Cyclones and floods particularly caused massive damages.

Person swimming on a kayak in foggy weather with trees in the distance

Health hazards

There is no risk of yellow fever in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. There are several other vaccinations which are not required but recommended to ensure safe travel. These are the routine vaccines also known as the MMR vaccines, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis, cholera and rabies vaccine. Unfortunately, there are no vaccinations against malaria however there are numerous ways to protect against contracting the disease. Malaria is contracted by mosquito bites and to protect against their, mosquito repellant use is strongly recommended, mosquito nets may be bought and installed in the windows of your accommodation. There is medicine on prescription against malaria. There has been a great lot of effort put into the public healthcare system in Bangladesh. Despite the fact that Bangladesh has managed to cut maternal mortality, access to quality maternal health care is still patchy for much of the population. Most quality facilities are centered around large cities, this accounts for both private and public hospitals and clinics. Rural areas receive few or no services at all.
In case of an emergency dial 999.

Two women in traditional clothing standing in a field of rapeseed


Financial scams, vehicle thefts, and petty drug crimes comprise the majority of criminal activity in Dhaka and other major cities in Bangladesh. There is no indication that tourists have been or are being targeted because of their nationality. Homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, and residential break-ins occur with regular frequency however these are only a bit higher than some European rates. Beware that theft especially pickpocketing and bag snatching is a daily occurrence particularly in the extremely crowded cities of Bangladesh. Streets of Dhaka are so crowded you would barely notice who ripped the bag out of your hand. Tourists should be very cautious with their personal belongings and are advised to stay low key. Bangladesh is designated as a high threat location for terrorist activity by several travel advisors including the US travel advisor. All narcotics substances are illegal in Bangladesh. The harshest punishment for drug possession is the death penalty.

Colorful boats pulled onto the beach


Bangladesh is certainly not a place for inexperienced travelers and if so then it is best to travel with an organized group. Despite many dangers, there is a multitude of incredible sights, incredible buildings such as Wats and much more ready to be explored. Remember that planning your trip with will give you the quickest information about nearest emergency services and will also help you purchase indispensable travel insurance for the trip of your lifetime. Please feel free to comment and share the experiences of your travels with