Bangladesh

Capital City: Dhaka  Region: Asia
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Nearby:  India Nepal Myanmar Thailand Malaysia 
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Capital City: Dhaka
Bangladesh is in South Asia sometimes converging with Southeast Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal to the south, mostly surrounded by India and bordering Myanmar in the southeast.

Climate

Bangladesh has a sub tropical monsoon climate. There are six seasons in a year; Winter (Dec-Jan), spring (Feb-Mar), Summer (Apr-May), Monsoon (June-July), Autumn (Aug-Sep) and Late Autumn (Oct-Nov). The average temperature across the country usually ranges between 9 C - 29 C in winter months and between 21 C - 34 C during summer months. Annual rainfall varies from 160 cm to 200 cm in the west, 200 cm to 400 cm in the south-east and 250 cm to 400 cm in the north-east. Cyclones above category three/four are uncommon (especially in the deep winter January through March)-- but while rare, can still bring widespread disruption as expected to infrastructure and power outages, especially in the coastal areas. The weather pattern is akin to the Gulf Coast in the United States (Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana).

Landscape

The country is primarily a low-lying plain of about 144,000 km2, situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. It’s fertile and mostly flat farmland and, with the exception of Chittagong Hill Tracts, rarely exceeds 10 meters above sea level, making it dangerously susceptible to a rise in sea level.
 ▪  Highest point: Bijoy (1,231 meters).

Regions

Bangladesh is a very small country, broken into 6 administrative divisions:
 ▪  Dhaka Division - home to the capital city
 ▪  Chittagong Division - a picturesque hinterland of large hills forests
 ▪  Rajshahi Division - known for its silk and mangoes
 ▪  Khulna Division - a relaxing, slow paced area, home of the Sundarbans
 ▪  Sylhet Division - home to endless rolling tea estates and beautiful natural scenery
 ▪  Barisal Division - The land o River, Paddy & Green

Cities

Most of these cities are also the capital of the division of the same name:
Dhaka - The hectic capital city, an intense and thriving metropolis of some 12 million people that's growing by the day
Chittagong - a bustling commercial center and the largest international seaport in the country
Cox's Bazar - The country's premier beach resort, filled to the brim with boisterous Bangladeshi holiday makers.
Khulna - located on the Rupsha River, famous for shrimp and a starting point for journeys into the Sundarbans
Rajshahi - The silk city
Barisal - Southern city famous for Paddy growing and many rivers, best reached by a slow-paced and relaxing boat ride on the Rocket Steamer
Sylhet - the largest city in the northeast, known for the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Shahjalal, one of the holiest sites in the country
Jessore - a nondescript small town, and a likely transit point to or from Kolkata, famous for Gur, a form of cake-like molasses produced from the extract of the date tree

Other destinations

Bagerhat - an important historical center and site of several mosques including the famous Shait Gumbad Masjid
Bogra- a culturally Buddhist area.
Char Atra - a low lying island located in the Ganges.
Rangamati- To take the colorful tribal experience of Bangladesh.
Saint Martins Island - the country's only coral island with friendly locals, a laid back vibe and coconuts to spare
Sundarbans - the largest mangrove in the world, with lots of bird life and some very elusive Bengal Tigers

See

Bangladesh as a vacation land has many facets. Her tourist attractions include archaeological sites, historic mosques and monuments, resorts, beaches, picnic spots, forest and wildlife. Bangladesh offers opportunities for angling, water-skiing, river cruising, hiking, rowing, surfing, yachting and sea bathing as well as bringing one in close touch with Mother Nature. She is also rich in wildlife and game birds.
Sundarbans — UNESCO world heritage site, largest Mangrove forest of the earth
Cox's Bazar — world’s longest uninterrupted natural sandy sea beach
St. Martins Island — Bangladesh’s only coral island
Keokradong peak - The highest peak of the country
Nafa-khum Waterfall - The largest waterfall of Bangladesh also a place to enjoy rafting on local boats
Lawachara National Park- IUCN category V protected landscape, a tropical forest of Bangladesh
If you arrive at a historic monument after it has already closed for the day, it may be possible to "pay" a security guard an "after hours tour fee" to be quickly taken around a site.

Buy

The currency of Bangladesh is the Taka (Tk). As of September 2010, US$1 = Tk 71.30.
Bangladesh is one of the largest ready-made garment manufacturers in the world, exporting clothing for famous brands such as Nike, Adidas and Levis. Though these products are usually not meant for sale in the local markets, they can be found in abundance in famous shopping areas such as Banga Bazaar and Dhaka College.
In most stores, prices are not fixed. Even most stores that display 'fixed-price' label tolerate bargaining. Prices can thus be lowered quite considerably. If bargaining is not your strong point ask a local in the vicinity politely what they think you should pay. Besides there are loads of handicraft, boutique shops. There are lots of shopping malls in and around Dhaka and Chittagong. Foreigners will usually be changed a higher cost, however you will not usually be priced gouged, with what you are changed usually being only slightly more than what the locals would pay, with the difference for small items often being only a matter of a few US cents.
Aarong [40] is one of the largest and most popular handicraft and clothing outlets with stores in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Khulna. It's a great place for souvenirs or to pick up a stylish kurta or salwar kameez at fixed prices.
Women can find a cotton shalwar kameez for around Tk 400 in a market or Tk 800-1500 in a shop. Silk is more expensive.
ATMs can be found in most metropolitan areas. Dutch Bangla Bank has the largest ATM network in Bangladesh and finding one isn't hard (there is one at the airports of both Dhaka and Chittagong). These ATMs accept all Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards. Most international banks in the country such as Standard Chartered and Citibank also rely on the Dutch-Bangla Bank Nexus™ ATM network for their own clients. HSBC [41] ATMs are located at most hotels but accept only Visa debit/credit cards and HSBC GlobalAccess™ cards (no Mastercard).
Most ATM's are usually quite safe to use as most will be set inside a building with a security guard standing (or more likely sitting) guard at the door.

Eat

Bangladesh is a fish lover's paradise. Traditionally most of the country lives off of the once-bountiful fresh-water river fish, especially the officially designated "national fish" hilsa. The hilsa is a flavourful but very boney (with many fine bones) fish; if you can master eating this fish, consider yourself on par with the locals in fish-eating and deboning expertise. Various recipes exist for cooking hilsa, suitable for all seasons and all regions of the country. Mutton is also popular, as in most Muslim countries, as is decidedly lean or hard chicken. Rice is almost always the staple side dish.
Mixed vegetable curries are plentiful - potato, eggplant, squash and tomatoes are the staple ingredients. Gourds, tubers and certain root vegetables are common. In the major cities (Dhaka, Chittagong, etc.), you will find a larger variety of vegetables than in rural areas.
The idea of salad varies from the international standard. In Bangladesh, salad has not been extensively developed, and "kacha" (raw) vegetables are generally not deemed very appetizing or palatable (with the exception of cucumbers), especially in more rural or suburban areas and in less Westernized households. Traditionally, most salad vegetables (carrots, celery, lettuce, paprika, etc.) were not even grown in most agrarian households, so the use of these vegetables was extremely rare. Hence, borrowing from the Mughal traditions, a few round slices of onions and cucumbers, spiced with salt, chilies, etc., is often treated as a full plate of salad.
Dal is usually a given side dish or meal course for all households, even the poorest or most rural (who often cannot afford any other daily meal courses). Most Bangladeshi dal varies from its West Bengali counterpart, and even more so from its other Indian counterparts, primarily because it is more watery and less concentrated or spiced. An easy analogy would be that whereas most Indian dal is more like thick stew, most Bangladeshi dal is more like light soup or broth. The Hindus of Bangladesh have greater varieties of Dal recipes, just as they have greater varieties of vegetarian dishes. The Muslims have thicker and more spiced varieties of dal. Dal recipes vary regionally in Bangladesh, so be careful not to over-generalize after a brief experience.
Boiled eggs (dhim) are a popular snack (Tk 3-5), and fresh fruit is abundant, such as bananas (Tk 2/ea), apples (chinese, Tk 80-100/kg), oranges, grapes, pomegranates and papayas. Delicious and diverse, mangos (Tk 50-150/kg) are a very popular fruit throughout Bangladesh.
Fast food restaurants and bakeries serving burgers, kababs, spring rolls, vegetable patties and just about anything else you can throw in a deep fryer are dotted around most cities. Most items will run around Tk 10/each.Bangladesh also has international fast food chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, A&W, Nando's.
To enjoy the tastes of Dhaka one needs to go to old Dhaka. The Haji biriyani, Nanna biriyani are a must. Also Al Razzak restaurant is famous for its Shahi food. In order to savour local food one must go to Korai Gost at Dhanmondi Satmosjid road, Kasturi restaurant at Gulshan & Purana Paltan area. No one should leave Bangladesh without tasting the Phuchka and Chatpati available in the streets of Dhaka,Chittagong. Also there are loads of Chinese and Thai restaurants in Bangladesh which serve localized chinese and thai dishes.Bailey road in Dhaka is the unofficial food street of the nation followed by Satmoshjid Road.Dhaka also has Japanese, Korean and Indian restaurants located mostly in Gulshan area. For world class Ice creams do visit Moven pick, Club gelato in Gulshan. To taste Kebab, Babecue tonight in Dhanmondi is the best followed by Koyla in Gulshan.
Most Bangladeshis eat with their right hand as in neighboring countries. Never use your left hand to bring food to your mouth, though it's ok to use it for bringing a glass to your mouth or to serve food from a common dish with a spoon. Every restaurant will have a handwashing station (sometimes just a pitcher of water and a bowl if they don't have running water), and you should use this before and after the meal. In order to eat with your hand, rake in a little portion of the rice and a bit of the curry to an open space on your plate (usually create a bit of space on the side of the plate closest to you, sufficiently inward from the rim but NOT in the center of the plate), and mix the rice and curry with your fingers. Then, create a little ball or mound (it should be compact and modestly sized, but does not need to be perfectly shaped or anything--function over form!) of the mixture and pick it up with all your fingers, and scoop in into your mouth. Your fingers should not enter your mouth in the process, and your upper fingers and palms should not get dirty either. Only toddlers and foreigners/tourists are exempted from these rules. It doesn't matter a whole lot if you don't get it all exactly right, but know that the entire restaurant is watching and waiting to see if you do. Attempting to eat with your hands and failing miserably will raise many a smile. The use of cutlery (except serving spoons for common dishes) is lacking in rural areas and poorer households, and basic cutlery (i.e.: spoons, sometimes a fork) is sometimes available in urban restaurants and more Westernized, urban households. However, the use of hands is a more humble and culturally respectful gesture, especially from a tourist.
Table-sharing is acceptable and even expected in most establishments, with the exception of nicer urban restaurants. Many places have separate curtained-off booths for women and families, a nice reprieve from prying eyes.

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