5 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Bangladesh

Jul 22, 2021

Although it covers only 5 percent of the land area of the country, Bangladesh (officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, as it is the only Muslim nation in South Asia) is the third-largest country in the world in terms of population.

It is the second-most-populous Muslim-majority country in the world, after Indonesia.

Bangladesh's population is also the fastest-growing in the world, in large part because of an increasingly mobile and youthful population: nearly half of the country's children are under five, the life expectancy is around 62 years, and even Bangladesh's older and less accessible beaches, islets, and islands are in demand.

Bangladesh is one of the world's most flood-prone countries. Its rapid growth has also made it vulnerable to a range of natural disasters, from earthquakes to cyclones, that have disrupted and devastated the country in the past century.

For now, Bangladesh's greatest tourist attraction is likely to be the Unesco-listed archaeological ruins of the capital, Dhaka.

It's also a great base from which to explore the countless beaches and islands of this extraordinary place, where the waves of the Bay of Bengal roll for miles.

To get the best out of this diverse country, we've put together an overview of the best things to see and do in Bangladesh, including our list of the top attractions in Bangladesh.

Chittagong Hill Tracts

Photo of Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts: en.wikipedia.org

The Chittagong Hill Tracts region is bounded on the east by the Indian Ocean and on the south and west by the Bay of Bengal, with the Jaflong River separating the Hill Tracts region from the Sylhet region. Given its geographical isolation, the region has had a rich cultural history that includes major periods of both Indian and Chinese control. Highlights of a visit include a walking tour of the villages of Bhangura and Motijheel, where some 100,000 people live in makeshift homes among trees and thatch and bamboo houses, and a visit to the Royal Regalia Museum in Bandarban. Given its border region location, Chittagong Hill Tracts has seen a number of foreign invasions over the centuries. The first was in the 14th century by Sultan Fakhruddin of the Gajapati Dynasty, who established a local rule in the area that continued until 1769. The most significant invasions occurred during the 18th century and were a result of the various local Awam League and Chittagong Hill Tracts Jukti Feri Republic (CHTJFR) rebels who tried to gain independence from British and Indian rule. These invasions saw a number of battles, including the siege of Singair, from where the Awam League leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, escaped and founded a national rule in the area in 1975.

Sylhet

Photo of Sylhet Division
Sylhet Division: en.wikipedia.org

Sylhet is often called "the Venice of the East" due to its position on the Bay of Bengal. It offers a wonderful tourist experience, with its narrow alleyways and waterways, labyrinthine canals, and huge multicolored wooden boats that have been used for many years to ferry locals and tourists from one side of the river to the other. Sylhet's canals are famous for being a sanctuary for hundreds of tiny wildlife species. The region is well worth a visit because it shows us a harmonious existence between man and nature. Several places for tourist activities in Sylhet include the fish market and Marina beach on the outskirts of the city, where you can eat all kinds of delicious seafood, sunbathe and swim.

Dhaka

The capital of Bangladesh is a bustling, chaotic city full of teeming markets, religious festivals, and busy streets. But even if the locals look like villagers, the sights of Dhaka can offer some jaw-dropping entertainment. At the top of the list is the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, which is in an elegant, neo-Mughal structure, and overlooks the expansive Maidan, a large public space with a war memorial and plenty of trees. Highlights inside the conference centre include murals created by renown modern Bangladeshi artist Jamilur Reza depicting an epic poem about the history of Bangladesh. The most popular tour in the city is to the Victoria Memorial. Originally built as a cricket pavilion in 1902, the grand structure now offers an interesting peek into the elegant lifestyle of Dhaka's once-elite citizens. It can also be visited for a musical performance or even a wedding. Another more surreal spot in Dhaka is the Kalidas Samanway, an elaborate work of art inside the capital's main Hindu temple. It depicts the life of an 18th-century poet named Kalidasa.

National Museum, Dhaka

Photo of Bangladesh National Museum
Bangladesh National Museum: en.wikipedia.org

Built in the 19th century, the National Museum, the oldest and largest museum in Bangladesh, is located in the Dhaka Cantonment, along the northern shore of a tidal island of reclaimed land. The grounds were originally the location of a Japanese outpost during World War II. The structure itself consists of three stories. The ground level contains administrative offices, a shopping arcade, a garden, a performance hall, and an entrance hall. The second and third levels are dedicated to art, artifacts, and exhibits. The building is an important symbol of Dhaka city, as it was here that the city's people learned about Bangladesh's pre-Islamic and Islamic history and culture. The museum's one of the few historical building that is still standing in Dhaka. When entering the museum, visitors will be greeted by a grand portal built of wood and stone. A traditional Dhaka street lamp also flickers brightly overhead.

Bagerhat

Photo of Bagerhat District
Bagerhat District: en.wikipedia.org

Bagerhat lies on the coast of Bangladesh about two hours drive north of Dhaka. The area is known for its saris and silk but there are also many pearls found in the area. Many Bagerhat residents are influenced by the ideas of Islam and the country's leadership. What to see and do in Bagerhat? There are many things to do such as taking a taxi or motorbike out in the countryside, visiting the Bagerhat Murshid School, and visiting the Khandoba Temple. There are also many beaches on the area that are popular for local tourists.