Ten years ago it would have been inconceivable to anyone, let alone women, to travel to Bangladesh alone. However, with increased digitalization and greater development of infrastructure coupled with more transport options, a solo trip to Bangladesh is nothing less than a reality.
Farhat Zannat, a traveller, whose wanderlust has taken her to various places says, “Traveling alone or in a group in Bangladesh is a common occurrence nowadays. And a major chunk of travellers is girls, who want to visit new places. Solo trips tend to open up new avenues for you and you get to experience an amazing sense of freedom.”
To start with, Bangladesh’s favourite vacation spot is Cox’s Bazaar. The longest beach in the world, it has budget hotels to luxurious resorts. The white stretch of sand hugging the Bay of Bengal is a sight for sore eyes. If you are up for strolling on the beach and enjoying the sea-side Bar-B-Que, Cox’s Bazaar is the place to be. Or if you are up for some action, and ready to take on a new challenge, you can take surf lessons for as little as BDT 400!
Want to take home a piece of Cox’s Bazaar with you? The local Hotel Motel Zone has souvenirs from T-shirts to keychains. Some Burmese beauty products are also available in the nearby Burmese Market, along with homeware such as handwoven bedsheets and towels.
Cox’s Bazaar is accessible in multiple ways. A domestic plane from Dhaka, with fares as low as BDT 3500, or a bus ride along the scenic highways of Bangladesh are both viable options. One can also get a private car ride.
In some points in our lives, we want to take some time out for a quiet introspection in a safe haven, away from everything else. Nilachol in Bandarban is an earthly manifestation of such a haven, being surrounded by hills. The dusk, when the sun disappears behind the hills, is a vision to behold. A six-hour bus journey from Dhaka to Nilachol, that too costing only Tk 550, can spare a lot of time for self-reflection. However, if you cannot wait to see the lush greenery of Bandarban, cheap flights from Dhaka are also available.
The shopping opportunities in Bandarban include Farukpara, where your haggling skills will be put to test for handwoven baskets and flutes created by the Bawm community. If you are up for some delicious local delicacy, such as Nappi, look no further than Marmabazar, which also prides itself on selling fresh hill produce.
Bangladesh has a rich history and some remnants of the glorious past still remain. For a short trip to Bangladesh that leaves you with little time to explore, Sonargaon is an ideal spot. Only 9.1km from Dhaka, the former administrative centre is now a Folk-Arts and Crafts Museum. A day in the City of Gold would include a boat ride, which also opens up the opportunity to fish in the museum’s lake. Panam Nagar, a hauntingly beautiful archaeological site is only ten minutes away. Just take a bus from Gulistan in Dhaka and you have the chance to be transported back into the past in Sonargaon and neighbouring Panam Nagar.
For a history buff, Mohasthan Gor in Bogra is a veritable paradise. Dated back to the 3rd century, it is the extensive ruins of the former capital of Pundranagar. With exhaustive study coupled with restoration, some information about Mohasthan Gor has been unearthed, but the archaeological site still holds many secrets. Seven miles away from the main city of Bogra, the site has a river running alongside it and offers a panoramic view for the perfect Instagram shot.
Muhammad Ali Park and Museum
A relic of more recent history is the Muhammad Ali Park and Museum in the city of Bogra, which boasts one of the well-furnished “Rajbaris” of the country. Once your appetite for history has been fulfilled, you can try and satiate your hunger with some of Bogra’s famous “Mishti Doi” at local sweetshops. Bogra is easily accessible through flights, bus rides and private cars.
Other historical places would include Ahsan Manzil, previously the official residence of Nawabs. For the architecture enthusiast, it is the perfect place to be. And once you have covered every inch of the sprawling building, you can take a boat ride on the waters of Buriganga.
With transport services such as Uber taking Dhaka by storm traveling has never been easier. A trip to any part of the city is on the tip of your fingertips.
With supermarkets in every corner of the major cities, buying practicalities in moments of emergency is never an issue. The best part is, along with locally manufactured products, Bangladeshi shops even have exported goods. So, don’t worry if you suddenly run out of tampons in the middle of the trip.
Zanant advises, “Try to pack for your location. Carry only the necessary items in your bag and traveling will be easier than ever.”
One of the highlights of traveling to Bangladesh is the affordability. And online access to booking hotels, trips and guides is easier than ever. Need a fully informed and qualified guide to help you navigate the labyrinthine streets of old Dhaka? Or have an urge for a quiet get-away to Nilachol, only to be accompanied by your solitude? Take a look at Jovago’s website. There is usually an offer available, and if you are lucky, you could even get a discount as high as 42%!
Whether you are a millennial with a tight budget, skipping that semester of college or a newly retired schoolteacher, Bangladesh has something for everyone. As seasoned traveller Farhat Zannat states, “Solo trips are the best ones I have ever taken in my life. There is no greater feeling than to be able to take care of oneself, and do everything your own way.”