Bangladesh, which means the land of the Bengals, is one of the most populated countries in the world with an estimated 170 million people.
In the past, Buddhists ruled for centuries, but by the 10th century, Bengal was primarily Hindu. In 1576, Bengal became part of the Mogul Empire, and the majority of East Bengalis converted to Islam. Bengal was ruled by British India from 1757 until Britain withdrew in 1947. At this time, the province of Bengal was partitioned into East Bengal and West Bengal. In 1971, Bangladesh fought Pakistan for independence and became the independent country Bangladesh that it is today.
The country is home to the world’s largest river delta, and the longest natural uninterrupted sea beach in Asia, which is 120 km long.
The villages appear to be buried in groves of mango, jackfruit, bamboo, betel nut, coconut, and date palm. However, only a small portion of the country’s land surface is covered with forests.
The most significant feature of the Bangladesh landscape is provided by the rivers. None of the major rivers of Bangladesh originates within the country’s territory. Thus, Bangladesh lacks full control over the flow of any of the streams that irrigate it.
In addition, there are many severe storms during the rainy season.
Each year between June and October, the rivers overflow their banks and inundate the countryside. The inundations are both a blessing and a disaster. Without them, the fertile silt deposits would not be replenished, but severe floods regularly damage crops and sometimes take a heavy toll on human and animal populations.
The typical household in Bangladesh, particularly in the villages, includes several generations of extended family. Most marriages are arranged by parents or other relatives, but increasing numbers of educated men and women choose their own partners.
The best time to discover Bangladesh is from October to March. The easiest and cheapest way to get around is by rickshaw. The rickshaws in Bangladesh are unique and colorful.
Bangladesh is covered by more than 700 rivers, producing a deliciously lush landscape with more shades of green than you ever imagined. Traveling by boat is a way of life here, and provides a fabulous opportunity to see the country from a more unusual angle.
As an un-touristed destination, Bangladesh also lacks much infrastructure, and traveling around can be hard work. So don’t try to pack too much into your itinerary. It’s a place to relax, meet people and discover new ideas and ways of life.
English is not widely spoken, which can make independent travel difficult in more rural areas.
Younger people (eg students) are more likely to speak English than the older generation. You can ask them for help.