Bangladesh 2020 - Experience Information
It will be a pleasure to experience the cricket with you again and even for the first time. I understand you are fully versed in the art of travel with your own habits, whims, and quirks so I am not going to speech to you as once I did with the tour information of yesteryear.
Much of it you may already know, don't need to know, or don't care to know, but nonetheless let me provide you with some essentials including where and when to collect your match tickets, where and when we are dining, and importantly where you are living in Bewdiful Bangers!
Bangladesh Mobile: TBC
Leave my number with family and or friends as a back-up means to reach you!
I can't imagine any of us will need to communicate beyond a morning grumble and 'influenced' wave goodnight, but we live in an age where mobile telephony is easier and more affordable sometimes than saying goodnight! As such, I will get a local number and should you connect locally, let me know your number so I can contact you if need be. Otherwise Whatsapp me on the above UK number.
Save the number of the Australia High Commission - Dhaka
You will receive 3 awesome Bent Banani shirts per test, with no doubt a few extras thrown in for measure. Otherwise absorb these packing reminders:
- Passport and Travel Documents
- Printed Flight Itineraries
- You May Be Asked For This On Arrival But You Will Need This To Enter An Airport
- Hat For Awesome Sunny Days At The Cricket, Though We Are Sheltered!
- Australian Flag - I May Have Extras To Bring If You Don't
- Swimsuit & Sunscreen (Expensive in Bangers!)
- Insect Repellent
- Phone Chargers & Cables
- Fleece or Jumper For Any Cool Bangladeshi Night (Below 30c)
- Wet Ones / Baby Wipes – Brilliant For A Soothing Cleanse At The Cricket
- A Travel Plug - UK 3 Square Pins (Plug G) Are Used In Bangladesh
- Personal Medications - Your preferred headache pills and prescribed medicines may not be available in Bangladesh, and some medications may be illegal for import. Check travel advisories or the Bangladesh High Commission to make sure your medications are acceptable for import
If you are staying in our hotel in Chattogram and/or Dhaka, the hotel will meet and greet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel, no matter what time you arrive. This is included by the hotel. If you stay one night in Dhaka before travelling to Chattogram then you need to make your own way to/from your hotel.
I will need your confirmed flight numbers and arrival time so the hotel can prepare a gallant welcome.
If you have booked your own hotels then ask your hotel to meet you, which is, honestly, the easiest. You can otherwise make your way to the pre-paid taxi counters, sign-posted at both airports.
Or, walk 5mins to the highway in Dhaka and take an auto-rickshaw (heading to your right), or walk 10mins in Chattogram and take the public bus (45mins) for a massive BDT10 (Aud$0.20c).
Chattogram: Radisson Blu
Bangladesh currency is the TAKA or a Tick-Tock as I call it.
These are minted in TK1 TK2 TK5 TK10 coins (some notes) and TK20 TK50 TK100 TK500 TK1000 notes
Aud$ = BDT Mid-Market Rates Can Be Found On XE.com
When arriving at Dhaka airport, there are no fewer than 7 money changers, all offering the same-ish rates, directly opposite immigration. The first will give you the worst rate because that's where most/many people stop first, whereas the last will pick up the dregs and offer you more.
You get better rates when swapping AUD$50 or $100 notes. If you want to hold off, you get better rates at the local markets but unless you're changing $000's then ultimately the difference is pennies. Mind you, pennies go far in Bangers!
To answer one query, you do not need any US$ currency. AUD$ are easily swapped at all money-changers, which are the only place you can swap money in Bangladesh. Banks do not swap foreign currency!
Personally, I prefer robbing ATM's which are as common as cycle-rickshaws.
YOU NEED YOUR RECEIPT TO PROVE WHERE YOU GOT YOUR MONEY WHEN TAKAS CHANGING BACK!
Of course, no one ever has change (especially rickshaw wallahs) so shed the TK1000 or TK500 notes when you can. If you spend half your time in Gloria Jeans as I do, with one coffee being TK300+ you won't have any issues offloading large notes but this said, they accept credit cards.
Using your credit card is the norm at restaurants, cafes, and branded stores, whereas rickshaw drivers and market sellers on the street will take cash only.
And for an early Bangladeshi laugh:
Bangladesh Bank has withdrawn the new 50-taka (US$0.60) note after a spelling mistake of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin was identified on the back of the note. The note had just been introduced earlier in the day on 7 March, 2012, so it’s likely that very few made it into circulation, even though 22.5 million notes were printed. Director-General of Bangladesh Bank said, “These notes will not be circulated in the market before rectifying,” giving the impression that the bank may overprint the error notes with corrected text rather than destroy them.
The things you learn when researching!!
Aside negligible when it comes to buying water or snacks / food from the markets or cricket, or at my preferred 'greasy spoon', most restaurants & cafes outside our hotels are relatively very cheap. The more powerful the airconditioning however, the more taka the price.
Importantly, the local beer is Hunters (Fosters can with H instead of F). This can of misery will set you back TK350+ in a discreet location. In our hotels, double the price for a wider choice or flavour!
All fixed prices come with the ambiguous +++, meaning plus federal tax, local tax, service charge, tourist levy, public holiday fee, and Allah knows what else. Roughly, add 25% to the 'price' to know the real price.
If you love, or don't yet know you love, Korean or Japanese food, there are seemingly 47,000 Korean and Japanese restaurants in Dhaka. Keep in mind, the fish does not come from the cleanest of Bangladeshi waters!
There is one large Duty Free shop before immigration at Dhaka from where you can top up your favourite tipple from as low as US$13 for a bottle of 'Scotch'. All global spirit brands are available ranging from the $13 for some bottles that look like they've already been sampled, to top shelf $120+. You cannot buy alcohol at any restaurant that isn't in a big hotel or embassy so grab your import limit on arrival and BYO. The restaurant will decant this into a tea-pot for you to discreetly consume.
The pre-test dinner will be in:
Chattogram at Radisson Blu Hotel
Dhaka at the Australia High Commission
Meet at our Hotel bar at 6pm (I'll be there from just after breakfast!)
The post-test dinner will be detailed during the match.
MATCH TICKETS & SHIRTS:
Your match tickets and shirts will be given at the hotel before we have or leave for dinner. If you are enjoying our Match Ticket & Dinner Experience and not living convenient to our hotel in Dhaka and would like me to bring these to the High Commission, please let me know.
GETTING TO / FROM THE CRICKET - By AUTO RICKSHAW (CNG)
The hardest thing about getting to the cricket in Bangladesh is getting an auto-rickshaw. Surprisingly, they are not everywhere and during peak times you swear they have not yet made it to the country.
Chattogram: 9km including getting lost & stopping for gas should take 20mins and set you back TK180 / A$3-4
Dhaka: 6km including getting lost & stopping for gas should take 15mins and set you back TK150 / A$2-3
Three can fit into a CNG if you are really frugal.... and slim!
BIG TIP: Befriend an auto-rickshaw driver the day before and book him to take you to the cricket. Get his phone number (they all have mobiles) and get the hotel to call him and confirm. Offer him a match ticket (for 5-days) for which I will have and he will be there to drive you home too!
GETTING ABOUT BANGLADESH
The humble rickshaw comes in three sizes,
1 - The Auto or CNG (compressed natural gas)
2 - The Hybrid Cycle - has a kinetic energy recovery system, exactly like a Formula One car, only different
3 - The Cycle Rickshaw - the bane of Bangladeshi potential. These three wheel bastards are why Bangladesh will never reach the 21st Century.
For me, if you know where you want to go just hop in or on your rickshaw and direct the driver and worry about payment once you are there, when you have the power or persuasion. All CNG's have meters, which are generally always used so no need to haggle. The cycle rickshaw costs TK10 / km.
Buses: Do not even bother unless you have lost a bet
Trains: Only useful from Dhaka to another city, if you have time
- Refresh yourself with Getting To & Through Bangladesh
- Lonely Planet's full lowdown of Getting About Bangladesh
To help your rickshaw-wallah with navigation remember these three basic words:
- BARMAY = Left
- DARNAY = Right
- SHOWJAR = Straight
A few other very useful words / expressions (all spelled phonetically):
- TOEMARNUMBKEY (TOE-MAR-NUMB-KEY) = What Is Your Name
- BONDOO = Friend / Mate
- CAYMANARCHO (CAY-MAN-AR-CHO) = G'day
- CAYMANARCHO BONDOO = G'day Mate
CAYMANARCHO (Name) = G'day (Name)
- DONDOBAD = Thank You
- DONDOBAD BONDOO = Thank You Mate
DONDOBAD (Name) = Thank You (Name)
- ARBADECKERHOBBY (ARBA-DECKER-HOBBY) = See You Later
- ARBADECKERHOBBY BONDOO = See You Later Mate
- ARBADECKERHOBBY (Name) = See You Later (Name)
You can pick up a SIM card at the airport on arrival or visit one of the plethora of phone shops in Dhaka or Chittagong. You will need your passport, passport photo (not at the airport) and address in Bangladesh to purchase a SIM card, that will set you back a massive A$1-ish.
It costs AUD 2c (give or take) per text and per minute so if you're still an analogue communicator, you are better off grabbing a local SIM to contact me in Bangers and those at home, than roaming on your home network.
Seriously, local data is just theft (by us) using Airtel
7GB for 10days is a staggering Aud$3.50
30GB for 30days is a financially crippling Aud$18
1GB + 100mins + 100 texts for 30 days is a piffling Aud$2.50
Combine this with WiFi in the hotels and you won't have time to sleep if you want to use it all.
As I do when I rock in to Bangers, instead of waiting for your bag (can take 1 hour!), just give the kid your phone and $18, and tell him to give it back (10mins) when it is all fired up and ready to go. Job Done!
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Bangladesh is unreservedly safe and secure. That said, no one can control the nutjobs that decide to randomly violate us in the name of religion that which caused the 2015 tour cancellation. Personally, I never think of it, but let me digress before I scare you.
The biggest risk is falling down a hole in the road so please ensure you have adequate travel insurance to cover this mishap.
When riding a cycle rickshaw, be sure to keep hold of your bag as it is not uncommon for a passing motorbike to snatch your bag and disappear into the traffic. If you use a CNG you are locked in a cage so there is no risk.
USE YOUR ROOM SAFE to lock up your valuables. In smaller hotels I've been relieved of a few notes. Not enough to worry about but enough to notice!
All this said, I cannot protect you, only guide and advise you based on what I know and have experienced. So, before leaving home, independent travel advice regarding health, safety, and security in Bangladesh should be obtained through Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website Smartraveller.
That is all, Be Safe!! :)
If you require further information or clarification on any of the above, please ask.