I first came to Bangladesh 22 years ago, lived in Dhaka for 3 years …and yes it’s pretty much the same way things are all round, but with more modern high rised buildings and highways built but OMG the traffic! ; especially in Dhaka it has gotten very congested; even the locals complain about it.
Today, Dhaka’s population alone is at a staggering 14,251,000 million (Chittagong, 4,816,000 people) …yes you can see why it’s that bad…. Between rickshaws, talagari, buses, lorries, cars, Tom-toms , cows, sheep, goats, dogs and people, people and more people …
On average we calculated on peak hours, which seem nowadays every time, it takes 2 hours each way for a trip from just it’s outskirts. (Eg from Uttara, which is near the airport to areas like, Motijeel the heart of Dhaka City – Distance: Uttara to Motijeel is 17kms. Dhaka Airport to Motijeel 14.9kms).
Communicating wise etc generally you are able to communicate in English but if you’re talking with locals like the Rickshaw drivers or Market sellers etc, we have found it’s easier to have on your phone, screenshots of simple Bengali phrases n words or have pictures* ready to show so the locals who don’t converse well and can’t really grasp what you are after or trying to say.. it definitely saves the nerves and the time, yours and theirs.
✈️📍When you fly in depending on the propose of visit, I’m assuming most visitors to Bangladesh are “Tourists” just like us, so yeah a Visa on Arrival can be easily obtained at the Airport. (Do check though for eligibility of country you’re from).
📇 Once your plane lands, come down through, at the Passport Clearance area, find the counter with the sign “Visa on Arrival”. The police guy at the desk will just ask you some question like purpose of visit and length of stay (easier to just say holiday or Tourist) and he fills out a receipt type paper and points you to the cashiers counter where you pay USD 50 for it , with 30 days stay. 💵
*scroll down for visa extension info*
Back track a bit to pre-travel ; on what we packed and brought along as in supplies for the simple things we are used to :
3-in-1 Coffee Packets
Small packets of Sugar
(We can’t live without Caffeine) ☕️☕️
It’s not that you can’t get them here, it’s just handy to have when you arrive for the first few days as you try to get your bearings of the place. Different if you are in a 4 or 5 star hotel where, you know, ..posh, of course, you have your coffee/tea provided in your room & mini bar etc (oh my ..haha *clink🍸 * ) .. can… but We travel cheap and wing it as we go.
That said I also did pack :
•(2 sets) Metal Spoon/fork/teaspoon
Medication – 💊
•calamine lotion, 🆒
•✔️cream for bites, burns, sting (Japanese brand – Mopiko- works wonders!) 💫👍
•medicated plasters for backaches 💪
•Brufen – for fever & pain 🙇
•Anti diarrhea medication (never had to use it so far, touch wood) 🚽
••Mosquito/Insect Repellant (A Must have!) 🐜🐝🐞💥
•Tea tree Oil ( or you can bring Lavender Oil, helps with wiping down beds for bugs etc in dodgy places) 💦😂
💦Water Purification Tablets – we have been drinking the tap water here , just pop these tablets in, and use it for our kettle for our tea & coffee. ✔️✔️
We bought an electric kettle in Dhaka for 1500tk and we bring it with us everywhere we go.
Other things that are handy to have :
A dozen copies of Passport sized photograph
Hand held fan🔆
🔋🔌Power Bank charger for phone, iPad, laptop coz the powercuts happen very often, like daily. (Too important also for on-the-go )
We brought along too:
Clothes pegs for our laundry
Anti bacterial Wipes
And any other prescription medication or what you normally have to take for maintainace & upkeep 🙂 .. for me it is my muscle relaxant for my neck… an old injury from a car accident… Sigh….
🔆Wherever you go, it’s a good idea to bring a bottle of mineral water to drink coz it can get pretty hot and you don’t want to be stuck in the hot Tom-tom on those long trips or walks under the hot Sun and dying of dehydration. (Drama I know and of course you can buy from shops, but better to have it in your bag) 💦👒☔️☀️⛅️
Yeah because you move around so much, trips and side trips etc, better come prepared some what with a bit of supplies.
We have had one encounter with quite an appalling hotel, where there was Paan (beetle leaf /nut) red spit marks on walls n floor, insects of few kinds, food under the mattress from God knows when, awful no flush squat type toilets. That said not all hotels are like that … 3 Star onwards are decent. 5 star hotels like the Sheraton, Raddisson, and the likes, you won’t even know you’re in Bangladesh.🎩👑
🔉📱Phone and Internet : most hotels would have wifi and/or you can buy a local SIM card at Airport arrival (Robi service provider at 500tk registration) it has 3G so you’ll be alright for Internet connections where there is no wifi service in hotel or outside. 316TK for 1GB usage. If you need credit top ups just walk into any shops, they can top up for you. (just give your local mobile number). You’ll receive a text from the service provider for the new credit top up.
🚩Anyway… If for any reason … after all that sightseeing and stay and adventure you decide you want to extend your stay, you can…. for a total of up to 90 days from your first date of arrival.
What we found hardest is different people + info on certain websites is not very accurate hence different versions n explanations given which can be very frustrating. (Hence this Blog post)
Anyway if you want to extend, here’s what you need:
1. Your Passport 🎫
2. Money, 💰and lots of it. (See attached pic for visa fees according to country) Ours came to 8000tk for 2, plus 10000tk they had asked us to pay to expedite the process time which was total bullocks; it’s actually bribe money for “not much help given”.
3. A 45mm x 35mm passport photo (Bring 2 just in case).
4. A filled out Machine Readable Visa Application Form (MRV Form). 📇Download one:
5. The immigration office opens between 10:00 am (maybe 9) and 13:00pm. 🏢
The address, for the Immigration Department in Dhaka , is:
In Chittagong :
For other info on getting around etc, I don’t want to be giving point to point cause it sounds so serious 👯 and some may find it easier, some may find it harder. Either way , please do read our previous blog entries as we described our experiences with all these during our stay so far in Bangladesh.
Hope all this helps!
Words & Phrases
Visa extension fees
Map Dhaka Airport to Motijeel