Bangladesh

I'd hoped we'd be able to go to Tibet after Nepal, but turns out you need about 1000 visas, and you can only go on approved tourist tours. So what the hey, let's go to Bangladesh, the most densely populated country in the world.

The LP was it's usual self, highlighting the dangers;

  • Bangladesh's ridiculously high road toll, 12,000 people killed a year
  • Bengal tigers that have a taste for human flesh, 1 person killed every 3 days
  • Killer bees in mangrove forests of Sunderbans

So we flew to Dhaka, and had organised to stay with a Couchsurfer there. This was the best decision we made on the entire trip. Joyanta could speak very good English (a rare skill here), was a camera-man that had travelled the country extensively with work and was able to help us plan out what to see and do.

Dhaka city put simply is crazy. The thing that sets it apart though is it's crippling traffic. 1 hour to cover 5 km is the norm. Our trips to the Indian embassy would be two hours each way.

"Well if it's that slow, why not walk?". We tried this, but having to navigate the hawkers, rickshaws and tuk tuks that frequent the sidewalk (of sorts) meant this was a slower process and slightly more dangerous.

We took a boat tour, which took us into the slums, textile factories and ship yards. Bangladesh has a interesting ship building process. They take all the decommissioned ships from around the world, break them down and build new ships. On one hand it's great to see someone re-use materials that would otherwise be dumped, but on the other it's very labour intensive and workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals and conditions.

Admittedly it was a relieve to leave the city after 5 days (due to visa issues), destination Kushtia.