I wanted the adventure, I wanted the experience, and I wanted to get to know a country not many people know. I thought that it can’t be that bad and that it’s going to be a fantastic time.
Reality hit pretty fast, precisely after two days. I traveled 10 months before and never got a culture shock – Bangladesh gave it finally to me. I feel sorry for the lovely people in this country, but I think the truth has to be told even if it’s not positive. The country is simply not ready for tourists, especially not for solo backpackers on a budget. Here are the reasons I think it’s not yet time to visit Bangladesh.
It is not that cheap as you would think
To the person who wrote in his blog that he could find accommodations for 5 USD – do you know secret websites I don’t know?
The most expensive things in Bangladesh are the accommodations; there are only a few hotels compared to other major tourist spots, which lead to the fact that prices are incredibly high for low quality. I searched on every major website and tried different ways to find cheap accommodation, and in Dhaka, the best I could find was an Airbnb flat for 30 USD a night. The good hotels might be cheap in comparison to Europe or any western country, but that doesn’t matter for a Backpacker on a budget. The thing that matters is the fact that there are no Hostels and so the only option is a Hotel or Airbnb. As the quality is not that great at all, you are required to take one of the better places, and that will cost you around 30 USD in Dhaka instead of 9 USD in Bangkok or Bali for example. In other areas like Cox’s Bazar, I couldn’t find anything under 40 USD. That’s not Backpacker budget-friendly.
In terms of food, you really need to know the right places to find cheap and clean food. However, walking through the streets and just find some cheap street food or good restaurants is not possible and also google doesn’t always help because the information is minimal. So, I often ended up in a more expensive restaurant where the food was good but cost me 12 dollars – again, not a budget-friendly thing. In the end, I send around double the amount in Dhaka then I would spend in Bangkok.
There is simply no tourist infrastructure
There are very few tour companies that lead to the fact that it wasn’t possible to do a tour of the Sundarban forest as no company replied to me. Other then that there are only a few reliable bus companies and getting train tickets is an adventure in itself. Online purchase isn’t possible as they don’t accept my passport number and so you have to spend one afternoon getting to the train station struggling to get a ticket and getting back. It’s just not easy to get around, neither in Dhaka nor somewhere out of Dhaka.
The lack of tourists make you feel lonely
No Hostel to meet people and in general, no tourists at all that can be tough as a solo traveler. Even though I like solo travels more than everything else, it’s more fun to visit things with other people. It’s nice to be alone sometimes, but if you’ll be alone for days, even weeks, it’s not much fun anymore.
There are some other reasons like dirt everywhere and the chaos which are very exhausting. All of that together lead to the fact that I’m not convinced of Bangladesh as a travel destination at the moment. People are friendly and welcoming, that’s true, but even some locals asked me what I would do here, after visiting places like Bali and Thailand or China. In my opinion, it’s super hard to travel in Bangladesh, especially as a solo traveler, and you might end up having a bad time. There are some reasons why there are no tourists in Bangladesh, and I learned that the hard way.
However, I don’t lose hope in the country. I think it’s too early and in a few years, the country might be ready for tourists and solo travelers. I’ll give it another try once it’s easier accessible.
- Total countries I visited until now: 40
- Planes: 23
- Busses: 48
- Trains: 19
- Boats: 24
- Km driving: 8000
- Km running: 3060