So, bye-bye Bangladesh… Final thoughts? Well, there’s not an awful lot to do or see from a tourist point of view – yet. It’s plain that they’re making an effort and plans do seem to be afoot to build parts of the country up to encourage tourism. Right now they even have adverts urging you to “Visit Bangladesh – Before The Tourists Do”!
Hans travelled through Vietnam and Laos around seven years ago and reckons that Bangladesh now is roughly equivalent to those places back then. All building work and basic infrastructures which, with time, have grown into something more touristy and “easier” to visit.
The one thing you can’t fault about Bangladesh is the friendliness of the people. Rafiq and Mahmud organising things and meeting us everywhere; the spur-of-the-moment invitation to lunch from Ekramul; staff in restaurants bending over backwards to ensure we liked what we ordered; random people who spoke English helping us with rickshaw-wallahs who didn’t… the list goes on.
Lonely Planet points out that Bangladeshis are at pains to distance their Muslim state from the likes of the Taliban and Al-Queda. It’s true – more than one Bangladeshi I’ve spoken to has voiced their concern that they’re being lumped in with the fundamentalists (with the emphasis on “mentalists”). From one brief visit I can tell you that these wonderful people couldn’t be confused with the nutball terrorists for even one fraction of a second.
Right now, in my opinion, the best reason for visiting Bangladesh is the warmth of the people. There are areas we didn’t go which I’ve been told are worth a visit – the hilltracks around Chittagong and the Sunderbands being the most-mentioned. Maybe next time – though I’ll likely leave it a couple of years. I do have a lot of other countries to get through first!
First up – Bhutan…