Bangladesh is one of the less touristy destinations in the World according to a survey done by the World Bank. It is a hidden gem in Asia, sharing its border with India and Myanmar. With less crowd of tourists, there are no tourism-related scams, relatively less transport cost and locals warm-heartedly welcome foreigners into their land.
I have made a list of offbeat destinations in Bangladesh besides Sundarbans, Dhaka and Cox’s Bazaar that you shouldn’t miss. These places will provide you experiences which are off the beaten tracks and are less crowded. You can easily fly to the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and travel to each of these spots either in local buses, cabs or trains.
By Nafisa of My Own Way To Travel
If you’re looking for a quiet and offbeat destination to enjoy your holiday, then Bandarban is the perfect destination for you. Bandarban district is a part of Chittagong Hill Tracts and blessed with many naturally beautiful tourist spots. Hiking and trekking are also one of the popular activities where you’ll find a list of mountain ranges and the tallest peaks of Bangladesh. If you love mountains and wish to trek in some of the remote mountain areas, then Keokradong in Bandarban is the best choice. It is also the highest peak of Bangladesh.
Some of the must-visit tourist places during your Bandarban tour are Nilgiri, Nilachal, Thanchi, Shoilo Propat, Buddha Dhatu Jadi, Rijuk Waterfall, Sangu River, and Boga Lake.
A river cruise on the Sangu is one of the top things to do in Bandarban. While cruising, you’ll see many tribals and their lifestyle on the riverside. This cruise will also take you to explore the most beautiful 300 ft long Rijuk Waterfall. You can also visit many tribal villages in Chimbuk, but it is not safe to visit extreme remote areas where tourists aren’t allowed.
Nilgiri and Nilachal are best to explore the extreme beauty of the scenery from 2000-3500 ft above sea level. Buddha Dhatu Jadi or Swarna Mandir is the largest Buddhist temple in the country and worth to visit the largest statue of Buddha. Shoilo Propat is the naturally beautiful waterfall and located close to Thanchi.
During the monsoon (June to October) is the best time to travel Bandarban. All ranges of hotels and resorts are there to stay. Direct bus service is available from Dhaka to Bandarban. Furthermore, you can also fly from Dhaka to Chittagong and then can take a car to reach the central city. You can explore all around by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
By Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the wealthy town of Panam Nagar, a locality of Sonargaon was the home of rich Hindu textile merchants. Panam Nagar was of such importance and prestige during the British colonial era that the East India Company even had its permanent offices built here.
For more than a decade, Panam Nagar has been an abandoned ghost town, a shadow of its former glory. While it’s sad to see so much splendor lying in ruin, it is this faded grandeur that makes Panam Nagar a hauntingly beautiful place.
There were a couple of reasons for Panam Nagar’s downfall, the first of which was a huge fire. It’s not clear exactly what caused the fire, but storing all those textile fabrics inside the buildings was certainly a fire hazard.
After Partition, when the Indian subcontinent was divided along religious lines, the Hindu merchants fled to India, leaving their homes in the hands of caretakers with a hope to return one day, but they never did.
About 50 of the original buildings are still standing along the main thoroughfare and are slowly being engulfed by vegetation. The architecture is a mix of European and Bengal styles. World Monument Fund declared Panam Nagar as one of the 100 ruinous historical establishments in the year of 2016.
To get to Panam Nagar from Dhaka, take the local “Meghla” bus from Gulistan Station and get off at Magrapara Crossing. From there, you can take a rickshaw the rest of the way to Panam Nagar, about 30 kilometers southeast of Dakar. There aren’t many facilities here, so bring a packed lunch of local subcontinent food or wait until you get back to Dhaka to eat. Other attractions of Sonargaon are the 15th-century Goaldi Mosque and the Folk Arts & Craft museum.
Ulpur (Zamindar Badi)
During 1850, most of the Gopalganj area was ruled by Zamindars out of which the Basu Roy Chowdhury family founded Ulpur, a village in the North of Gopalganj as the seat of their Zamindari. Zamindars were the landlords in the colonial era and a Zamindari system was in place to collect taxes from peasants. The taxes were then handed over to British authorities with the Zamindar keeping a portion for himself. The Basu Roy Chowdhury family lost their ancestral house in Ulpur during India’s partition of 1947.
Multiple styles of architecture were developed over the long history of Bangladesh under a diverse range of power domains and cultural influences. Many of the abandoned palatial houses of the Zamindars still stand firmly in Ulpur and are now occupied by the locals.
The Zamindar houses are still remarkable for their functional plans, structural system, and artistic compositions. The smaller temples and ponds in the village are in a crumbling condition, but the main Kali temple is still in use and has been recently renovated. My husband is also a descendant of the Zamindar Basu family of Ulpur and loves to look at the photos of his ancestral house & reconnect with all the others living in Kolkata.
A visit to the Zamindar badis (houses) of Ulpur can be a great offbeat day trip from Dhaka/Gopalganj. To get to Ulpur from Dhaka, you need to first reach Gopalganj via bus. Gopalganj town is located approximately 160 km away from Dhaka via Mawa Ferry Ghat. Ulpur is only 12 km away from Gopalganj and can be easily reached. Walking or hiring a rickshaw are the best options to explore all the scattered buildings in the village of Ulpur, which was once the center of the district with its colorful markets and active cultural life.
A verdant city situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, Mymensingh offers a lovely riverside setting, a smidgen of Raj-era buildings and one of the most interesting old quarters in Bangladesh. Mymensingh is one of the old districts of Bangladesh constituted by the British East India Company and has a rich culture and a lengthy history.
Often Mymensingh is referred to as the City of Old Palaces. Among the beautiful edifices built in the early days, the Shoshi Lodge, Alexander Castle, and Gouripur Lodge attract the most people. Shoshi Lodge is in the heart of the city which is also known as the Residential Palace of Maharaja Shoshi Kanta Acharya. Situated near the Brahmaputra river, it’s being used as Women Teachers’ Training College from the year 1952.
On the other hand, Alexander Castle is one of the most amazing and prominent structures in Mymensingh District. It was built by Maharaja Surya Kanta Acharya in the year of 1879 in memory of the 1st Zilla magistrate of Mymensingh – Mr. N .S Alexander at the time of the Jubilee festival.
Both the buildings had once contained innumerable works of art, artifacts, sculptures and antiques collected from all over the world and now have been declared as National Heritage Monuments.
Other interesting places in Mymensingh includes the Muktagacha Zamindar badi (house). The interesting story behind the name of the area is that when the ruler Srikrishna Acharya arrived here, a local inhabitant named Muktaram Kormokar greeted him with a large brass lamp stand known as Gachha in the local language. Having pleased by this gratitude, he renamed the area as Muktagacha stringing the local’s first name with the lamp.
If you have a bit of sweet tooth, then you should definitely make a day trip to Muktagacha to try the local sweetmeat called the Monda, a grainy sort of soft yogurt patty. When you take a bite, the individual granules of the cooked yogurt separate and melt into the mouth, filling it with their sweet goodness. It was first created by Ram Gopal Pal for Maharaja Surya Kanta Acharya in 1824. The fifth generation of Ram Gopal Pal now creates this heritage sweet in Muktagacha.
You can easily reach Mymensingh from Dhaka aboard any local bus or can hire your own car from your hotel in Dhaka. There are many train services as well from Dhaka to Mymensingh. Mymensingh also acts as an ideal starting point for off-the-beaten-track excursions further north, a rarely visited region dotted with Garo villages and enfolded in lush, green landscapes. A boat ride on the majestic Brahmaputra river will also be the highlight to your trip to Mymensingh.
By Lena of Nagoya Foodie
If you love nature and you happen to be in Bangladesh it is time to get out of Dhaka the hustling and bustling capital and get to Sylhet in the north-east of the country.
There is a lot of nature around Sylhet, but Ratargul Swamp Forest might just be the most beautiful place around. The scenery is like nothing I had seen before, the freshwater swamp is covered with winding and twisting trees and a wide variety of birds the only specks of color and the only source of sound within the otherwise still forest.
The only way to go is by a boat and not the motorized kind we are so used to, but rather powered by the strong muscles of your driver.
Other interesting places around Sylhet include the Bisnakandi village at the border to India with a beautiful river flowing through, the beautiful green-water canal Lalakhal, a stone collection area in Jaflong and the biggest tea plantations in the world just outside the city.
To get to Sylhet from Dhaka the most convenient option is to take a 45-minute flight. There are regular and relatively cheap flights every day operated by the local Bangladesh airlines. There are also buses and trains but they take between 5 and 8 hours depending on traffic and other reasons for delays. Of course, these options are more budget-friendly and give you a completely new perception of the less touristy country.
With so many offbeat travel destinations to explore, Bangladesh is one of the very few countries which are not yet fully commercialized. You will fall in love with the place and its hard-working people. When in Bangladesh, don’t forget to try their local cuisine including the seven-layered tea, palm wine, and Shidol dried-fish chutney.
If you have traveled to Bangladesh, how fascinating was your experience? Feel free to share with us in the comments. If you liked this post, share it with your friends and family. I am taking my blog to the next level with BlogChatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.
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37 thoughts on “Offbeat Travel Destinations in Bangladesh That You Are Missing Out On”
Madhu sharma September 11, 2019
Wow I haven’t read much aboutBangladesh , never knew it has so many off beat places to visit thanks for sharing this wonderful post
Anwesha Guha September 11, 2019
Thank you Madhu, I am glad you liked this post.
Sinjana Ghosh September 11, 2019
Brought back flashbacks from the past for me. I had visited Bangladesh as a child and I still remember how much I loved Chittagong. The architectural as well as natual sites in the post look amazing. Makes me want to visit again. Sylhet is fascinating!
Anwesha Guha September 11, 2019
Thanks. I am glad Sinjana, you liked this post.
Vartika September 11, 2019
Despite a travel enthusiast, I am surprised how I never checked any post about Bangladesh’s tourism, seems like a good vacay spot.
Anwesha Guha September 11, 2019
Yes Vartika, Bangladesh is a good vacation spot to experience off the beaten track places.
Supriti Garg September 12, 2019
Wow.. the unexplored side of Bangladesh has been beautifully captured by your words. it looks so serene and calm, contrary to what we have heard and read. It’s the first time I am reading about Bangladesh as a tourist spot. Your blog is an amazing travelogue.
Judy Morris September 12, 2019
Hey these are some great places, reading about Panam Nagar reminded me of Mandawa area of Rajasthan which has a similar story.
Roshan September 12, 2019
Thank you for this.. saving this list for later. Beautifully compiled.
Sitharaam Jayakumar September 12, 2019
I didn’t know that Bangladesh was such an interesting country. You have described various places very well. I would definitely like to visit those old fashioned zamindar houses of Ulpur.
Anwesha Guha September 13, 2019
Sitharaam, there are many old ruined Zamindar badis in Bangladesh, each having a story to tell of its own. You should definitely check them out.
Pallavi Acharya September 12, 2019
What an offbeat location. Loved the photos!
Charu September 12, 2019
The place looks lovely through the pics that you have shared.
Sonia Dogra September 12, 2019
Honestly I had no idea that Bangladesh could be a tourist spot. It never occurred to me. So thanks for this info. In fact you have even enriched me with some history there!
Anwesha Guha September 13, 2019
😀 I am so glad Sonia, you liked reading my post.
Neha Jain September 12, 2019
Thanks for sharing this post with me I feel like there is so much to visit in Bangladesh. Saving your post for my travel list.
Varsha Nitin Gode September 12, 2019
Woah I never knew about these places in Bangladesh. Saving it for future reference.
Nazish Kondkari September 14, 2019
Such a detailed and amazing review… Feels like just packing my bags and leaving now. Lol!
MeenalSonal September 15, 2019
Didn’t knew our neighbors have so many places to explore, thanks for the detailed post.
Lisa September 15, 2019
Bangladesh is so beautiful. It’s high on our bucket list so hoping to get there soon. Have saved your post for our planning. Thanks!
Disha September 15, 2019
Time for me to brush up my knowledge of the neighboring country Bangladesh. All these places look lovely hidden gems ready to be explored.
Hackytips September 18, 2019
Most of the architecture looks like Indian. Great place and stunning pictures. Thanks for sharing them.
Vashi Baloria September 26, 2019
Im so happy to come across your blog post! I have heard about places to visit ; but didn’t know as much and incidentally im planning to explore it soon, the pictures were a delight too.
Anwesha Guha September 26, 2019
Thanks Vashi. I am glad this post was helpful to you.
Gunjan Upadhyay September 27, 2019
I have never been to Bangladesh thinking there isn’t much to explore. But your post made me rethink. Thank you for sharing all such details
Anwesha Guha September 29, 2019
I am glad that my post was helpful to you, Gunjan.
Neha Jain September 30, 2019
Wow that’s awesome place to visit..loved your detailed post and pictures
Neha Gupta October 1, 2019
Looks like an awesome place. would love to visit some day. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Vanessa Shields February 8, 2020
Bangladesh looks like a wonderful place to visit and explore! I’ve been to India a few times and loved it! I can see that I’d like going on the hikes you mentioned and visiting the swamp areas very much. You have me wanting to visit now! 😁
Emma February 8, 2020
This is such an amazing and informative blog. I really hope to visit Bangladesh someday soon!
Tyra February 8, 2020
Looks amazing! and so much information!
Anwesha Guha February 8, 2020
I am glad you liked it!
Will March 10, 2020
Keep on working, great job!
Caroline March 21, 2020
All these places look lovely. Hope to be able to go soon-ish!
Maggie March 21, 2020
You’re right, I very rarely read any articles about Bangladesh, which must be a testament to its lack of a tourism industry! It sounds so interesting though, and a great place to go for an authentic experience.
Melissa March 21, 2020
I really appreciate all of the historical information that you included about these destinations! It looks like these places have preserved the past very well!
Kariss March 22, 2020
Saving this for future travel for sure!