Bangladesh is a country defined by water and while parts of it frequently fall prey to floods and tropical cyclones, its rivers (the three main ones are the Padma, the Jamuna and the Meghna and it has hundreds of smaller waterways) give it life, making it a green, fertile and very, very lush country.
A shade over 40 years old, this densely populated nation of 150 million people has had its hard times. Today, it is progressive with a promising emerging economy, a thriving women’s movement and it invests heavily in the education and health of its people.
Dhaka is the capital, a teeming city in perpetual motion. It’s one of South Asia’s mega cities, known by some as the City of Mosques and by others as the Rickshaw Capital of the World. Its old quarter is fascinating, a swirl of narrow streets and bustling bazaars, mosques and Hindu temples.
Visitors arriving on cheap flights to Bangladesh and wanting to see the highlands should venture up to the Chittagong Hill Tracts and those looking for a beach will be rewarded with the longest natural sandy sea beach in the world – Cox’s Bazar. The Sundarbans are unmissable. It’s the world’s largest mangrove forest, home to exotic flora and fauna including the Royal Bengal Tiger.
For travellers, flights to Bangladesh are often a jumping-off point for jaunts around India, Nepal, Thailand or Cambodia.
Bangladesh has a tropical climate with mild winters (October to March) and hot, humid summers (March to June). The monsoon season runs from June to October. Travellers considering taking cheap flights to Bangladesh should make sure their travel insurance covers them for extreme weather events such as floods and cyclones.
November to April is when most visitors arrive on cheap flights to Bangladesh. These are the driest and coolest months.
The low season is the Bangladeshi summer time (March to June).
Domestic Bangladesh flights are affordable, with airlines such as Biman Air linking Dhaka with Sylhet, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. Taking local buses can be an adventure but there are air-conditioned coaches that connect the most popular destinations. The trains are operated by Bangladesh Railways, and, while slow, rail travel can be a wonderful way to see the countryside.
The best way to see Bangladesh is, of course, from a river. There are lots of operators offering boat and ferry trips.
In Dhaka, rickshaws (cycle and auto) are the most popular way of getting around but make sure you fix on a price before you set off. Yellow and black taxis are readily available too.
(prices quoted are from London)