7 Days in Bangladesh: An Awesome 1-Week Adventure Itinerary

Bangladesh: an underrated, overly beautiful, raw country.

I’m ecstatic I got to spend a week exploring this most densely populated country in the world, tailoring a one-week itinerary that really highlights what makes Bangladesh unique. These 7 days I spent here were full of adventure, fun, and history.

You’re about to see just why the hidden gem of Bangladesh is one of the most underrated countries you could ever visit.

Related: The Ultimate Biman Airlines B737 Business Class Flight Review (by a Pilot)

The Ultimate 7-Day Bangladesh Itinerary

From tea plantations with incredibly delicious tea for $0.10 to floating watermelon markets on the largest river delta in the world, there is more than enough to do in a week visiting Bangladesh.

Day 1: Arrival in Dhaka
Day 2: Dhaka Tour by TukTuk, Overnight VIP Launch to Swarukpathi, stay at the most epic AirBnB in Bangladesh
Day 3: Explore the river delta by canoe, visit markets, and learn about Spirulina farming
Day 4: Fly to Sylhet, enjoy the world’s best $0.10 tea on a plantation for sunset
Day 5: Enjoy the best waterfalls in Bangladesh
Day 6: Fly to Cox’s Bazaar and stay on the longest beach in Bangladesh. Enjoy shipwrecks, beach, markets, sun, sand, and fun
Day 7: Explore Chittagong, the second largest city in Bangladesh, then fly home from here

This itinerary involves this transportation in Bangladesh to be booked ahead of time:

You can book your hotels in these places in this order (only 5 nights in hotels):

Night 1: Dhaka
Nights 3 & 4: Swarupkathi
Nights 5 & 6: Cox’s Bazar

Night 2 is spent on the overnight launch.

Flying into Bangladesh from abroad

We took a very convenient direct flight from Dubai to Dhaka on Emirates to get to Bangladesh.
We took a very convenient direct flight from Dubai to Dhaka on Emirates.

Bangladesh has an incredible amount of international flight options – and to multiple cities within Bangladesh too!

You can fly into Dhaka (DAC), the capital, from basically all over the world: London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Bangkok, Doha, Bahrain, Hanoi, Singapore, Delhi, Jeddah, and more.

This means you have tons of one-stop options from the US to Bangladesh and several nonstops from Europe. Pretty incredible. Get the best flight deals to Bangladesh here.

But you can also fly to Chittagong (CGP) and Sylhet (ZYL) from many cities – mostly in the UK and the Middle East. So that means you could start your trip in Dhaka and finish out of Chittagong or Sylhet for a more efficient, streamlined itinerary.

Are you wondering if Bangladeshi airlines are safe and good? Last month, I flew on Biman Bangladesh Airlines and really enjoyed the experience.

Day 1: Arrival into Bangladesh (Visa, SIM card, Formalities)

What you need to know for your first day in Bangladesh:

  1. Arrival Procedure in Dhaka
  2. How to Obtain a Visa on Arrival
  3. Finding the Best Hotels in Dhaka

How to get a Visa on Arrival in Bangladesh

Travelers from many countries have the ability to obtain a visa on arrival in Bangladesh, which is fantastic.

It’s one of the easiest and cheapest VOAs I’ve gotten, especially in comparison to the experiences I had in countries like Senegal and Bolivia. Here’s how to obtain it:

  1. Follow signs for Arrivals
  2. Look for the Visa on Arrival area, to the right of the bottom of the escalator
  3. Pay $51 or 50€ at the Sonali Bank counter for a receipt
  4. Stand in the VOA line, which is right next to the bank
  5. After obtaining a VOA, pass through immigrations
  6. Claim your baggage then head through customs

Once you arrive at Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, you will follow signs for Arrivals. This leads you down an escalator. The Visa on Arrival area is immediately to the right after going down the escalator, and there is a sign indicating so.

If you want to get your Visa in advance of arrival, I would recommend using iVisa so you can skip the long line when you get to Bangladesh.

Why you should bring cash

Once in the VOA area, the first step is to head to the Sonali Bank Limited, where you can pay $51 USD or 50 Euro per person for a 15-day visa. There was a card reader, but I believe only cash is accepted.

You can exchange cash here at the same rate as outside of immigrations, so we highly highly recommend you do so. The one ATM at the airport does not accept foreign cards.

You’ll receive a receipt for your payment, then stand in a separate line right next to the bank to receive the actual Visa in your passport in exchange for it.

They will ask questions like your purpose of travel, where you are staying, how long you are staying, etc.

Only once this is all done can you head to immigrations. There’s a “foreigners” line, and it’s typically very easy and quick. After this you’ll pass baggage reclaim, and then customs which is usually slow because you have to put your baggage through a scanner.

Buying a SIM card at Dhaka Airport (Cheap)

There are several SIM card providers at Dhaka Airport, but we recommend Grameenphone (GP) for the most reliable service in Bangladesh.
There are several SIM card providers at Dhaka Airport, but we recommend Grameenphone (GP) for the most reliable service in Bangladesh.

Upon exiting customs, there are several local SIM card providers and taxi stands. We were recommended Grameenphone (GP) by several locals, and it ended up working great. The Grameenphone SIM card with 30GB of data costs 750 Taka, approximately $7.

If you have T-Mobile or any other of the carriers that I recommend for traveling internationally, you have complimentary or very cheap high speed data in Bangladesh as well. T-Mobile gives you 5GB of unrestricted data, which is fantastic.

Getting to downtown Dhaka from the airport

We highly recommend booking a taxi here, even though it’s more expensive. We tried to take an Uber and failed, and the arrivals area is quite the cluster. Taxis will cost 1700 Taka ($15-20 USD) to downtown Dhaka from the airport, which can be paid by card. The great part is that they’ll guide you all the way to the taxi, so there’s no hassle.

If you’re more adventurous, you can negotiate with an unofficial taxi outside (somewhat risky) or even walk towards the highway and find a TukTuk that will take you downtown. These are much, much cheaper (about 500 Taka / $5 or less) to get downtown.

Best hotels in Dhaka

The InterContinental Dhaka may be the best hotel in Dhaka, or even all of Bangladesh. Epic location, incredible amenities, fantastic rooms, and the best service.

We found our stay at Hotel the Capital wonderful. For a very affordable rate, you get 4-star amenities, excellent service, breakfast, and a very central location for sightseeing. As we were on a budget, we found it perfectly reasonable.

Other notable hotels include:

Getting around Dhaka

We had a ton of fun riding on these rickshaws across much of Bangladesh.
We had a ton of fun riding on these rickshaws across much of Bangladesh. It’s super cheap too!

Though there are taxis, we found the best way to get around Dhaka was to hail a TukTuk. The motorized versions are known as CNGs and these are typically the quickest way around town.

You can also ride in a rickshaw for a fully man-operated, thrilling experience. This is the cheapest option, and not as slow as you’d think. It’s probably the least safe, however.

Both options are very cheap – usually 200 Taka for 20 minutes of driving in a CNG and half for the rickshaw. You can negotiate, but we didn’t feel it was necessary.

The CNGs typically do have room for your carry-on luggage. My roomy pilot carry-on suitcase fit perfectly.

Day 2: Exploring Dhaka’s famous sights before a scenic night ferry (launch)

What you’ll need to know for day 2 of exploring Bangladesh:

  1. The Top 10 Places to Visit in Dhaka
  2. How to book a ferry boat (launch) to Swarupkathi or Barisal
  3. Where the ferry terminal is and how to find your launch

There’s a wonderful loop around Dhaka you can take to best visit it’s top sights and learn about the history of Bangladesh.

It takes up most of the day, so make sure to start early – because the day will finish with an incredible ferry (launch) on the world’s largest river delta.

10 Places You Need to See in Dhaka

Visiting the Lalbagh fort should be on any Bangladesh Itinerary.
The Lalbagh Fort may just be the central attraction in Dhaka.
Visiting mosques across Dhaka was certainly one of the main highlights in Bangladesh.
Visiting mosques across Dhaka was certainly one of the main highlights in Bangladesh.

In consecutive order geographically, here are the top 10 sights you need to visit in Dhaka:

  1. Baitul Mukarram National Mosque
  2. ISKCON Swamibag Temple (Central)
  3. Ahsan Manzil Museum
  4. Tara Masjid
  5. লালবাগ কেল্লা (Lalbagh Fort)
  6. Dhakeshwari National Temple
  7. Suhrawardy Udyan
  8. The Museum of Independence
  9. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
  10. The Kawran Bazaar

Visiting these top Dhaka sights in this order creates a very efficient loop, enabling you to visit all of them in a single day and still make it to the ferry in the evening.

Pro Tip: for an epic view on the Kawran Bazaar, head to The Rainy Roof Restaurant for lunch!

If you have more time (perhaps arriving early on day one), you should definitely also check out:

  • The Liberation War Museum
  • Bangladesh Air Force Museum
  • The National Parliament

How to book a cabin on the night launch (ferry/cruise boat) from Dhaka to Barisal or Swarupkathi

Launches (ferries) are naturally the most popular way of traveling across Bangladesh. After all, it is the world’s largest river delta, with inlets and outlets enabling access almost anywhere in the country.

As such, spots on these ferries tend to fill up early, and it’s advisable to book ahead.

The best way to book a ferry ahead of time is through your hotel or by finding a local tour guide. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to book from abroad, and booking once you arrive might be too late.

Almost all of the launches/ferries are night ferries and depart around 530-6PM daily. They feature cabins with beds, bathrooms, restaurants/snack bars, and more.

If you need contact details of a good tour guide, we recommend Ontu (WhatsApp: +880 1784-399339).

How to successfully ride a ferry/launch in Bangladesh

View from Farahan 10, the night launch from Dhaka to Swarupkathi.
Riding an overnight launch in Bangladesh is one of the most scenic, true, and local experiences you can have here,

Because we managed to book this incredible AirBnB in Swarupkathi, we decided to take the direct night ferry to Swarupkathi instead of to the larger city of Barisal. That ferry was called Farahan 10.

It’s a bit complicated to get on the ferry, which is why I’m mentioning it now.

Our ferry left from the Sadarghat Launch Terminal. Note that ‘ghat’ means “stairs or a passage leading down to a river“, and there are many ‘ghat’s in Dhaka.

We rode in a CNG from The Capital Hotel to Sadarghat, which took 45 minutes in traffic and set us back 600 Taka ($6).

Once we arrived at the ferry terminal, we paid 10 Taka per person for entry at the entrance. You’ll go down a ramp, and this is where it gets confusing.

There are something like 50 ferry/launch boats here, making it difficult to find which one is yours. Luckily, there are plenty of English-speaking people to help you, assuming you know the name of your ferry boat/launch.

Once you’re onboard the launch, you’ll find employees that will lead you to your cabin. If you didn’t book a cabin, there are two levels you can sleep on – assuming you brought your own carpet/sleeping pad. If not, it’s gonna be a long night on the floor!

Make sure to let the workers know where you’re getting off so they come and wake you up about 20 minutes before arrival. Keep in mind the boat stops many times before you get there.

What our VIP Cabin Launch Experience was like in Bangladesh

Every launch to Barisal offers VIP cabins. These have excellent amenities – a private bathroom with shower, a working desk, security, and room service.

On my trip, I especially enjoyed the extra privacy, quiet, and serenity the VIP cabin offers. The bed is comfortable, the shower (though cool) has excellent pressure, and having your own bathroom is such an improvement in quality of life.

VIP Cabins on launches are typically much more expensive than normal cabins or no cabin (just floor room). Ours was 4000 Taka, about $40USD, for the VIP cabin. Worth it? 100% – if just for the ability to sleep a nearly full night.

For dinner, our server brought us a table for the room. We had delicious fish with vegetables and rice. The ride was peaceful, smooth, and the dull engine sound lulled us right to sleep. No waves on the river delta, and the piloting is even smoother than mine!

We arrived right at sunrise, for an absolutely epic view on our home for the following day.

Day 3: Exploring off the beaten path in Bangladesh

Sure, you can say that being a tourist in Bangladesh already is being off the beaten path.

But what if I told you that you could be even more off the beaten path from that off-the-beaten path?

Welcome to Swarupkathi. Here’s what you’ll need to know for day 3 of this epic Bangaldeshi itinerary:

  1. How to book the most epic accommodation in all of Bangladesh
  2. The awesome, authentic local tours you’ll want to do in Swarupkathi
  3. How to visit the Sundarbans: home of the Bengal Tiger

The Most Epic AirBnB in Bangladesh – surprisingly off the beaten path

A sunrise over Swarupkathi, Bangladesh, during our one week itinerary exploring the country.
The view from our AirBnB in Swarukpathi was beyond belief. This was the true Bangladeshi experience.

When my partner announced to me that she discovered an incredible AirBnB deep in the Bangladeshi jungle, I was a bit surprised. Hear me out – it’s tough enough finding hotels in medium-sized cities in Bangladesh, let alone an AirBnB. So naturally, I had reservations (pun intended).

As soon as we booked it, we were in direct, constant communication with our lovely host, Ish. Ish is originally from Swarupkathi but now lives in Britain. As such, he has the best local knowledge and perfect English. And when I say he helped us arrange everything, I mean it.

From booking the night ferry for us to setting up transportation to and from the AirBnB, Ish made our stay in Swarupkathi flawless from beginning to end. We even got to go on a canoe ride, visit a Spirulina farm, and meet local woodcrafters. It was the most authentic Bangladeshi experience we had the whole trip.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to check in immediately and take a nap if you need after the launch!

Incredible local tours from Swarupkathi

One of our favorite experiences in Bangladesh was riding in an old canoe through the endless canals of Swarupkathi.
One of our favorite experiences in Bangladesh was riding in an old canoe through the endless canals of Swarupkathi.

Ish can arrange several awesome local tours that will have you mesmerized by the Bangladeshi country side. These awesome tours include:

  • A canoe/motorboat tour through the endless canals of Swarupkathi, including a visit to a local park and market
  • An in-depth tour of a spirulina farm: learn how it’s grown and processed super carefully, and how this business has truly emerged in the last few years
  • Local mosque visits, where you can learn more about the local culture and traditions
  • Visit to a woodcrafts shop, where you can see how incredible furniture is made from beginning to end – and buy some for a bargain compared to what you would pay at home

If you’re here during watermelon season (summer), you may get lucky and see a floating watermelon market. These are one of the coolest things in Bangladesh! (Both the market and the watermelons 😉 )

Bonus: stay an extra day or two and explore the Sundarbans (Bengal Tigers live here!)

A Bengal Tiger is seen in the Sundarbans. Photo CC-BY-SA4.0: Soumyajit Nandy

It is also possible to visit the Sundarbans, possibly the highlight of National Parks in Bangladesh. Here is the place to see the elusive Bengal Tiger – if you’re lucky! They are terribly hard to spot.

That being said, there are so many amazing experiences you can have here, whether it’s exploring by little canoe boat or going for a hike in the jungle.

Ish can help arrange transport to the town of Mongla or Khulna, about 3.5 hours away. Most hotels are located in Khulna and you can find tours departing from there as well.

From Khulna, you can rejoin the original itinerary by flying from Jashore airport or taking another overnight launch back to Dhaka then a morning train, bus, or flight to Sylhet.

Alternately, it is possible to make it to the Sundarbans by bus or launch directly from Dhaka, or by flight from Dhaka to Jashore then a bus or private transfer. In this case, you could visit the Sundarbans instead of Swarupkathi – but then you’ll miss out on the awesome local experience there!

Day 4: Spilling the tea about Sylhet

After freshly prepared breakfast in Swarupkathi, it’s time to make your way to Barisal Airport for a new adventure.

On the way, make sure to visit the fabulous Baitul Aman Jame Masjid, an incredibly decorated mosque alongside wonderful lush gardens and a small lake.

Further down the road is the Durga Sargar, a protected wildlife area with a beautiful lake. You can walk, kayak, and explore. I recommend at least an hour here.

Flight Options to Sylhet

We loved our experience flying on Biman Bangladesh Airlines across the country, You can read more about it here.

Though you could take another overnight ferry to Dhaka, a bus, a train, or a combination, flying is definitely most convenient for this journey.

Flight costs in Bangladesh vary from $25 to as much $60 each leg, like my business class flight I booked on Biman Airines.

To get to Sylhet, you’ll need to take a connecting flight via Dhaka. Though I do recommend Biman Airlines, US-Bangla is a good alternative. If you’re savvy and don’t have any checked in luggage, you could craft a custom itinerary using a mix of both, as well as NovoAir (which offers even cheaper flights in Bangladesh).

The Best Hotel in Sylhet

The rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Noorjahan Grand makes for amazing pictures!
The rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Noorjahan Grand makes for amazing pictures!

Once in Sylhet, you can easily find a CNG or taxi to take you to the hotel. Sylhet actually offers a decent selection of hotels, but we particularly enjoyed the Hotel Noorjahan Grand, Sylhet.

As the hotel in Sylhet with not just the largest rooftop pool – an infinity one at that – and an incredible rooftop restaurant, the Noorjahan Grand was an easy choice for a hotel.

Rooms were very affordable (under $50/night), service was generally excellent, and the breakfast buffet was stupendous.

How to visit the best tea plantation in Sylhet

If you open up Google Maps, you’ll immediately notice a seemingly infinite number of tea plantations in the area. If you’re a tea lover, this is heaven.

I can’t really say if there is a ‘best’ Tea plantation here. We accidentally went to মালনীছড়া চা বাগান (look up Tourist Tea Stall) instead of the Lakkatura Tea Plantation, as we couldn’t communicate with our TukTuk driver. Quite hilarious.

Entrance was something like 150 Taka per person including a guide to explain things, and as you can see, it was perfect for sunset. The Tourist tea stall ended up offering some of the best tea I’ve ever had, and for only 10 Taka ($0.10!!!)

We enjoyed this experience far better than we would have at a more tourist-laden tea garden.

Day 5: How to visit the best waterfalls in Bangladesh in one day

Jaflong, Bangladesh, is a magical land filled with lush, green forests and beautiful tea plantations like this one pictured. Credit: Abdul Momin, CC BY-SA4.0, Wikipedia Commons.

You won’t believe your eyes when you see this waterfall in Bangladesh.

As you begin your drive towards the north, you’ll pass endless tea plantations, see the hazy skies start to give way to clear blue, and the hilly lands become green. It’s a wonderful feeling.

When you arrive, you’ll be flabbergasted by the beauty that exists right on the border with India. Some of the most epic sights and waterfalls in Bangladesh include:

  • Bisanakandi
  • Panthumai Waterfall
  • Mayabi Waterfall
  • Lala Khal

To visit either Mayabi or Panthumai waterfalls, you can start by hiring a driver or finding a microbus to Gowainghat. Both waterfalls are close to each other, but the routes from here split in different ways.

Note that summertime/monsoon season is by far the best time to visit these waterfalls.

Everything you need to know about visiting the Mayabi Waterfall

The Mayabi, or locally known as the Songrampunji Waterfall, is an incredible local attraction only 20 minutes from Jaflong. It’s more of a cascade than a waterfall, but giant boulders and multiple streams and natural baths make it the perfect place to visit during the rainy season.

It is possible to take a local micro-bus to Gowainghat/Halderpar, a CNG or boat to Jaflong, and then hire a dinghy from there to Mayabi waterfall.

But to make it possible to visit multiple of the best waterfalls and attractions of the north of Bangladesh in one day with ample time, we recommend hiring a driver from Sylhet and leaving very early. You may also be able to rent a car yourself.

If you do choose to use public transportation, these are the approximate costs from Sylhet to the Mayabi / Songrampunji Waterfall:

  • Bus from Sylhet to Gowainghat: 80-100 Taka
  • CNG from Gowainghat to Jaflong: 1500-2000 Taka
  • Dinghy from Jaflong to Mayabi Waterfall: 100-200 Taka (or there’s a ferry for 20 Taka)

In any case, you’ll still need to take a dinghy/boat from Jaflong to see and swim in the Mayabi waterfall.

Everything you need to know about visiting the Panthumai Waterfall

The Panthumai waterfall is one of the most beautiful you can see from Bangladesh.
The Panthumai waterfall as seen from a local canoe. Photo: Costi (CC BY0-SA2.0)

Known locally as Fatachhari Jharna, the Panthumai waterfall thunders in a gorgeous, green, serene corner of this amazing country. Though the waterfall technically is in India, it’s best viewed from the Bangladeshi side.

The village itself, pronounced ‘Pangthumai’, is one of the most beautiful villages in all of Bangladesh. Even without the waterfall, it would be worth visiting – but the waterfall is icing on the cake.

From Jaflong to Panthumai takes about an hour by CNG, and only about 30 minutes from Gowainghat, so it is possible to see both Panthumai and Mayabi waterfalls in one day.

Once in the village of Pangthumai, you can hire a dinghy for about a hundred taka and get up close and personal with this multi-hundred foot beast, or just enjoy it from the river banks. Or for an even more unique experience, keep reading.

A unique, amazing, and authentic river experience: riding a dinghy along the river Piyain down to Bisanakandi

It's a truly authentic and spectacular experience riding on a local canoe boat from Jaflong or Panthumai down the Piyain river. Photo: Hussain.sun, CC BY-SA4.0
It’s a truly authentic and spectacular experience riding on a local canoe boat from Jaflong or Panthumai down the Piyain river. Photo: Hussain.sun, CC BY-SA4.0

For the ultimate fun experience from here, hire a boat/dinghy near Panthumai waterfall (maybe the same one you took here!) and ride along the branch of the Piyain river towards Bisankandi. The boat ride floats along this magnificent river downstream of the majestic and huge waterfall.

Bisanakandi is a serene, peaceful town on the border with India. It’s a gorgeous land of mountains, gardens, and tea. It’s recommended to visit Bisanakandi in the summer when the fields are flooded to see it in its true beauty.

One thing to note is there isn’t much food here, so pack correspondingly (or eat lunch while in Pangthumai). Have your driver meet you there to continue the rest of the voyage, or hire a CNG and head back to Gowainghat.

Lala Khal: a hidden gem in Bangladesh

The turquoise, aquamarine water of Lala Khal makes it a splendid place to visit on a Bangladesh itinerary.
The turquoise, aquamarine water of Lala Khal makes it a splendid place to visit on a Bangladesh itinerary. Photo: Nabil, CC BY-SA4.0, Wikipedia Commons

Visiting both the Panthumai and Mayabi waterfalls will consume most of your day, but if you have extra time and energy, it’s worth heading to Lala Khal for the true Bangladeshi experience. There are wonderful hotels and homestays in the area that local tourists love to frequent here.

Surrounded by hills, tea gardens, natural forests, and rivers, Lala Khal is truly a hidden gem. This channel itself magically consists of aquamarine water, and the nearby Lalakhal Tea Garden is actually the oldest and one of the most beautiful tea gardens in Bangladesh.

As opposed to the Panthyumai and Mayabi waterfalls that are best seen in the summer, Lala Khal is actually best to visit in the winter. So if you’re here outside of monsoon season, you could consider skipping those and heading straight to Lala Khal.

It is possible to spend the night in Lala Khal to continue this off-the-beaten path, incredible Bangladeshi experience. There are awesome homestays all around.

Day 6: Witnessing the diversity of natural beauty in Bangladesh by visiting insanely beautiful beaches

Perhaps (and for good reason) the most touristic place in Bangladesh, Cox’s Bazar offers ridiculously long, beautiful beaches, a fascinating historical monastery, waterfalls, sea turtles, rainforests, and so much more.

This is a fantastic way to see just how much diversity Bangladesh has to offer.

Flying from Sylhet to Cox’s Bazar

Biman Bangladesh Airlines offers direct flights from Sylhet to Cox’s Bazar 3 times a week – usually Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. On other days, you can easily find connecting flights.

If you decided to stay the night near Lala Khal, it’s still possible to leave very early today, hire a driver, and make it in time for the direct fly from Sylhet to Cox’s Bazar. The flight leaves at 950AM, and security/checkin hardly takes long at Osmani International Airport.

What to see in Cox’s Bazar

The most awesome part about Cox's Bazar: the world's longest unbroken natural sea beach!
The most awesome part about Cox’s Bazar: the world’s longest unbroken natural sea beach! Photo: Silver Blue, Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA2.0

First and foremost, the main attraction in Cox’s Bazar is often termed the “longest natural unbroken sea beach” in the world – with a length of 155 km (96 mi).

That’s a pretty cool way to start.

After that, there’s the 100 Feet Lying Statue of Gautama Buddha. Pretty cool for instagram.

Then there are two islands: Sonadia and St Martin, both places you can frequent green sea turtles (and 4 other species!) nesting, hatching, and swimming during different parts of the year. You can find tours here.

At St Martin Island, the green sea turtles are usually spotted during winter. Whereas at Sonadia Island, you can usually spot them during September-October. 

Lastly, the Himchari National Park offers “55 species of mammals, 13 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles, 117 species of plants, and 286 species of different kinds of birds”, and a waterfall (according to the Bangladeshi government).

Optional Extra 2-3 Day Ultimate Deep Bangladesh Exploration Trip: Rainforest & Huge Waterfall + Tribal Experience

The Amiakhum Waterfall experience is such an incredible deep-jungle experience in Bangladesh.
The Amiakhum Waterfall experience is such an incredible deep-jungle experience. Photo: IqbalHossain CC BY-SA4.0, Wikipedia Commons.

There’s an epic, truly off-the-beaten-path experience you can do from either Cox’s Bazar. It involves trekking, boating across rough waters, staying in a tribal home, and a deep-jungle massive waterfall. Basically, it goes:

  1. Take a bus from Cox’s Bazar to Bandarban
  2. Ride a jeep (public or private) from Bandarban to Thanchi Upazilla
  3. Hire a tour guide (mandatory – national park) and take a 4 hour rough boat ride to Remakri
  4. Stay in a tribal house at Remakri
  5. Wake up at 5AM for a 2.5 hour hike to Nafakhum
  6. Enjoy the absolutely magnificent Amiakhum Waterfall
  7. Head all the way back in one day.

You can find all the pertinent information here.

If you complete this expedition, do it after visiting Cox’s Bazar so you can head directly to Chattogram to finish the trip.

Best Hotels in Cox’s Bazar

Taking the top spot for best hotel in Cox’s Bazar is by far the Sayeman Beach Resort.

This 4-star hotel has an incredible location on the longest natural beach in the world, awesome service and amenities, and a great restaurant.

If you’re looking for a comparable but more affordable hotel in Cox’s Bazar, check out the Long Beach Hotel.

Day 7: Chattogram, Textiles, Shipwrecks, and Flying Home

Chattogram (also known as Chittagong) is a wonderful place to end an amazing adventure exploring the true hidden gem of Bangladesh. Just like in Dhaka, there’s a ton of history and heritage dating back to the Mughal era.

If your flight leaves early on Day 7, I’d consider making your way to Chattogram by private transfer from Cox’s Bazar either late the previous night or early in the morning. Cox’s Bazar offers much more to see for tourists than Chattogram/Chittagong.

Alternately, if your flight home leaves from Dhaka, you can elect to take a direct flight back to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar. These are plentiful. There are also buses, but these take about 12 hours.

Getting from Cox’s Bazar to Chattogram/Chittagong

There are tons of buses available from Cox’s Bazar to Chittagong, most of which take about 5 hours. Prices vary from 300 to 2200 Taka depending on quality of the bus and seats, air conditioning, and class.

You can also arrange private transfer, but this will likely cost upwards of 10000 Taka.

What to see in Chittagong

The city of Chittagong offers many incredible historic Bangladeshi sites to visit, like the Chattogram Court Building.
The city of Chittagong offers many incredible historic Bangladeshi sites to visit, like the Chattogram Court Building. Photo: Adam Jones, CC BY-SA2.0, Wikipedia Commons.

Nestled along the beautiful Karnaphuli river, Chittagong is a massive historical shipping port dating back even to the Greek era. There’s a ton of history and nature to visit here before catching your flight, if you have time. These include:

  • The Chittagong War Cemetery
  • An Ethnological Museum, the only in Bangladesh
  • The Zia Memorial Museum, highlighting the history of assassinated President Ziaur Rahman
  • An incredibly beautiful, colorful mosque – Chandanpura Masjid
  • Andarkilla Shahi Jame Masjid, a Mughal-era mosque with a library
  • Foy’s Lake, which is gorgeous
  • A massive shipwreck beach outside the city

If you plan to stay in Chittagong a couple days, you could also visit:

  • The beautiful Khoiyachara Waterfall
  • Chimbuk Hill and its incredible hiking paths
  • The town of Rangamati, nestled on Lake Kaptai, a swimmable, massive, gorgeous lake with tons of attractions
  • Shuvolong Waterfalls, only a boat ride away from Rangmati
  • The Sangu River, where you can have an amazing time rafting

Conclusion: Bangladesh is the ultimate surprise of a hidden gem

Bangladesh proved to be such an epic destination to visit for a week, and proof that off-the-beaten path countries are often hugely underrated.
Bangladesh proved to be such an epic destination to visit for a week, and proof that off-the-beaten path countries are often hugely underrated.

It’s a true pity that Bangladesh is one of the least-visited countries for tourists in the world. It deserves far more.

You can get around the country quite easily and efficiently.

There are so many wonders and beautiful sights. Waterfalls, rivers, mosques, jungles, tea plantations, markets, beaches, friendly locals. It checks all the boxes.

And last but not least, it’s an inexpensive place to visit, which means you can have an epic vacation without breaking the bank.

Bangladesh truly is an extraordinary place to spend at least one week exploring.

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