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Practical information Bangladesh

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Bangladesh : Travel Information before you go!

Area

144000.0

Flights

13 hrs 30 mins London-Dhaka.

Population

138000000

Airports

The airport of Dhaka is 10.5 miles from the city centre. You are advised to take a taxi (about 200 takas) and avoid public transport.

Security

The political situation is unstable. Strikes and demonstrations are frequent. You are advised to keep away from any gathering or crowd movement. Insecurity is increasing in this country where more than 60 million inhabitants live below the poverty threshold. Armed robbery and attacks, even in broad daylight, are common.

Languages

Bengali is the official language. English is spoken fluently.

Required travel documents for

You need to carry a passport that is valid during the whole length of your stay and a visa is required, with a maximum validity of three months (25 pounds sterling in cash), obtainable at the embassy. Usually, allow three days for delivery.

Religion

The country is 86% Muslim. 12% is Hindu.

Currency

The currency is the Taka (BDT), but it is best to bring cash or travellers cheques in US dollars. Credit cards (Visa, American Express, Diner's, etc.) are accepted in the few large hotels and restaurants in Dacca and Chittagong, the main city, but you won't find any ATM machines here. Banks open from Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00pm and on Thursdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm. They are officially closed on Fridays.

Local transportation

You will get behind the steering-wheel of a car at your own risk and peril. As in many other countries in Asia, traffic is completely anarchical and the road network hazardous. The Highway Code is inexistent. If you have to drive, you need to have an international driving licence. Vehicle hiring agencies systematically offer you a car with a driver (insurance is not required as you are not the driver). In Dhaka, there are several hire companies.
The bus network serves the whole country. We recommend that you take the network of modern coaches and book, rather than ordinary lines, which are very cheap, but uncomfortable and unsafe. From nightfall, do not take the bus over long distances.
Taking the train can take twice as long as going by road, notably to connect the towns of the west. Accidents are frequent, as the trains, which are always crammed, provide no guarantee of safety. During the dry season, you can get around on a "ferry-boat" over the 4,960 miles of navigable routes, the river navigation system having been developed (it is slower than the bus, but recommended for interior travel). Regular lines exist, notably "the Rockets", boats with wheels, connecting Dhaka to Khulna four times a week. The national airline, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and the private company GMG, do not fulfil all the technical security conditions. Incidents, delays or flight cancellations are frequent.

Health

Vaccination against cholera is required. Vaccines against hepatitises A and B are recommended, as well as for typhoid and rabies. Check that your DT Polio vaccine is up to date.
An antimalarial treatment is necessary: the country is listed in zone 3.
Dengue fever is present in Dacca. Its vector is a mosquito that comes in four varieties and lays eggs at a temperature of 23C or above and in stagnant water. There are three degrees of dengue fever, going from the most minor to the most deadly. There are no vaccines, nor therapeutic antivirals. Also it is recommended to wear long clothes, use mosquito nets, protect the skin and clothes with mosquito repellent cream and eliminate sources of stagnant water in the immediate environment. The mosquito carrying the virus is particularly active during the "winter" season, between October and January.
Basic hygiene rules must be followed: boil water for at least 15 minutes; only ever drink bottled drinks; only use filtered or treated water; wash (with treated water) and peel raw fruit; make sure to cook the food well.
There is no reliable and well-equipped health unity. It is thus essential to subscribe to a good health repatriation insurance.

Electricity

220 V and 240 V, 50 hertz. Adaptor not needed. Taking any sort of electrical appliance into the country now has to be declared. It will be subjected to a tax, which is from 50 to 75% of the item's value.

Telephone

To call Bangladesh from London, dial 00 + 880 (country code) + town codes (Dhaka: 2; Chittagong: 31; Rangpur: 521; Bagerhat: 401) + the number.
To call London from Bangladesh, dial 00 + 44 + 20 + number of other party.

Bangladesh : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

high Commission for the People's Republic of Bangladesh
28 Queens Gate, London SW7 5JA, UK.
Tel: (020) 7584 0081-4.

At the destination

British High Commission
United Nations Road, Baridhara, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh.
Tel: (880) (2) 882 27 05.

Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (National tourist office) 223 Airport Road Tejgaong, in Dhaka-1215.
Tel: (880) (2) 811 78 55.