It is hard to call Bangladesh a tourist mecca as there are no prestigious resorts with beaches, luxury hotels, and entertainment centers. This country attracts travelers interested in the authentic culture of local people, unique temples, and natural attractions, the likes of which do not exist anywhere else in the world. If you have always dreamt about an exotic vacation, strolling in beautiful national parks, and shopping in loud oriental bazaars, then Bangladesh is the right destination for you.
First proofs of human activity in the territory of modern Bangladesh date back to the 20th – 19th centuries BC. In the 7th century BC, the Gangaridai Kingdom emerged in this region. Later, different Buddhist empires established their reign over the region. Islam appeared in this territory only in the 12th century together with Arab merchants. In the early Middle Ages, European merchants became more frequent guests in the country. In the 15th century, British explorers tried to take control of the small country of Bengal.
In 1757, after a chain of continuous battles, the British Empire managed to establish its reign over the country. The next important event in the history of Bangladesh took place in 1947 – the country’s territory was divided into two parts on the basis of the dominating religion. The western part of the country became a territory of India and the eastern – of Pakistan. Modern Bangladesh is one of the youngest cities in the world. This is the eastern part of the former country of Bengal that managed to become independent from Pakistan in 1971.
Somapura Mahavihara in Paharpur is an old Buddhist monastery that is widely acclaimed as one of the most notable landmarks in the country. This spectacular monastery was founded yet in the 8th century. When Islam became a dominating religion in the country, the monastery slowly became abandoned. Despite its old age, the monastery has survived in great condition until modern times and now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The total area of the historic complex is approximately 85 hectares. Visitors can see how Buddhist monks lived centuries ago and admire skillfully made terracotta panels with religious motifs.
Bangladesh is home to the biggest mangrove forest in the world. It is located in Sundarbans. Almost all territory of this area is a protected zone. Ancient mangrove forests are precious not only because of rare flora but also because they are home to many rare animal species including the Bengal tiger. Tourists can visit a part of the protected area – there are many interesting hiking trails here.
Do you like exploring interesting old cities and their historic landmarks? In this case, don’t forget to visit the city of Bagerhat. Many tourists know this city under a different informal name – “the City of Mosques”. Khan Jahan Ali, a renowned military person and a Muslim Sufi Saint, is considered the founder of this city. Nowadays, there are approximately 2,000 mosques in this old city, and the age of the majority of them is more than a thousand years. The territory of the city is like one big historic landmark so no wonder why this area is protected by UNESCO.
Do you want to see a truly glorious and unique architectural landmark? Then don’t forget to visit the city of Dhaka that is home to the Star Mosque (Tara Masjid). Built at the end of the 18th century, the mosque got its name because of the unusual design. The star theme is clearly visible in the outer and inner décor of the building. The design of the Star Mosque features beautiful Chinese ceramics, rare types of marble, and other precious materials. There are thousands of small stars on the cupolas and façade of the mosque. This is definitely one of the most unusual mosques in the world.
In the capital, tourists may also find it interesting to visit Ahsan Manzil. The building of this fabulous pink palace ended in 1969. The palace is built in line with traditions of the past. Nowadays, the exhibition of the National Museum is located in the gorgeous palace of Ahsan Manzil. Visitors can see collections of unique artworks, historic artifacts, and archaeological findings unearthed in the territory of Bangladesh. The adjacent territory is also worth visiting because there is an amazing garden with palm trees and other exotic plants.
Bangladesh has well-established connection with the Persian Gulf countries. There are also regular flights from Calcutta, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. Flights by Bangladesh Biman connect the country with Katmandu. This is one of the cheapest ways to reach the country. India is the only country that has not only air but also bus connection with Bangladesh. Regular buses transfer people between these countries frequently. Finally, there is a train that connects Calcutta and Dhaka. The transit time is from 8 to 12 hours.
Read further: Cities and sights of Bangladesh