Getting To & Through Bangladesh
It can be argued, getting about Bangladesh is the definition of 'nightmare'. For one that has only travelled Dhaka, Chattogram and the route between, do not take my word for any ease or simplicity of travel outside two of the world's biggest traffic jams. Firstly you need a visa, and secondly you need to get there!
BANGLADESH TOURIST VISA
Australian passport holders require a tourist visa to enter Bangladesh. This can now be obtained on arrival for the cash equivalent of US$40, which is darn sight better than the A$150 if you apply in Canberra. As soon as you come down the stairs into the immigration hall, the Immigration Police is on your right!
- Bangladesh High Commission - Canberra
- Bangladesh High Commission - London (for Visa On Arrival information)
FLYING TO BANGLADESH
With no direct flights from Australia, the most convenient way of reaching Bangladesh is via the SE Asian hubs of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. The cheapest is often the long way through Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha. If flying from the UK or Europe, all Middle East, Turkish, Indian, and Pakistan airlines have at least one daily flight into Dhaka, whilst some of have up to 4. Research on Skyscanner below.
You cannot fly direct into Chattogram from any Asian port, all flights are via Dhaka. From a cost perspective, it may be better buying a return flight from Australia to Dhaka, and then a separate Dhaka - Chattogram - Dhaka.
FLYING THROUGH BANGLADESH
For the convenience of getting swiftly between Dhaka and Chattogram for the cricket, four airlines operate 30 services daily between the two cities. Economy fares start from approx Aud$50 each way and include 20kg baggage, a meal, refunds, and online booking. No mess, no fuss! The way flying should be!
In order of quality and reputation and advised on Flight Expert:
With the uncertainty of rail travel (or my patience) after the 1st Test I am flying from Chattogram to Dhaka on:
- Wednesday June 17
- US-Bangla Airlines Flight BS104
- Dep: 1120am / Arr: 1210pm
- BDT2500 (Aud$43)
You are welcome to book any flight you prefer but do consider this or a similar flight time to ease our transfers to and from each airport. All airlines have easily navigable mobile apps however even using a browser the payment page may be 'dodgy'. I ultimately booked US-Bangla because it was the first airline to take my money*; my payment failed using the Biman app and browser.
*When you click to the US-Bangla payment page, don't use the very clear and obvious card detail fields that grace the page, this is for a Bangladesh payment wallet requiring you to sign up for. At the bottom of the page, click the barely visible bouncing arrow which opens a full list of card payment options including Visa and Mastercard.
If you are keen on Cox's Bazar, US-Bangla Airlines offer very affordable domestic travel packages. Included are return flights from Dhaka, hotel, transfers, all taxes, and a multitude of others.
Bangladesh railways are fraught with delays and incident and though it will always be a 'romantic' way to travel the frustration of Bangladesh Railways should outweigh the negligible cost of flying anywhere in Bangladesh for that matter. A lot of track is single line so any slight delay can manifest into the very long delay as the delayed service gives priority to the on-time service using the line at the time.
- Bangladesh Train Schedules: Dhaka - Chattogram - Dhaka Services are at the top of pages 1, 3, and 4
I've never taken a long distance ferry in Bangladesh and honestly I've never been overly keen too either, but we all have our phobias. For the absolutely best impartial advice on how to get about Bangladesh on the water visit the following links. Being poled 'gondola-like' on a small fishing boat across the rivers in Dhaka & Chattogram, amongst the tankers & ferries, is however a very worthy time-filler.