An adventurous trip to Bangladesh
Enjoy a tea in a local tea stall in Bangladesh and you will certainly attract the undivided attention of the other customers. Start a conversation in English with local people and you are often quickly in the center of a group of 20 or 30 people staring at the "sensation" from the western world: a foreigner having a conversation with local people! Not that the people are so interested in what you are saying - most of them don't speak or understand English anyway. No, they are fascinated because they are not used to foreigners at all, but in the same time they love foreigners and treat them like movie stars. It is simply a big sensation in their daily life. Welcome in Bangladesh, the country with the friendliest people in the world!
Dhaka - or better Old Dhaka - is a unique place like no other mega city in the world. Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the World, and especially in Old Dhaka you can see and feel it everywhere. I've never seen so many rickshaws in my life. Standing right in the middle of a rickshaw traffic jam in rush hour where you barely can move at all is an experience you only find in Old Dhaka. The traditional market right next to Sadarghat along the riverbank of the Buriganga River is a wonderful experience especially early in the morning.
The port in Barisal is the second largest river port of Bangladesh. The best way to reach Barisal is by boat. From Dhaka there are daily launch services and of course the famous "Rocket". The Rocket leaves Dhaka at around 6:00 PM from Sadarghat and arrives on Barisal between 05:00 and 06:00 in the morning. The busy river port and the nearby fish market in the early-morning mist are an unforgettable experience. In Barisal there are several tiny island separated from the town through small rivers. It's easy to cross the river by taking one of numerous small boats offered by the traditional boatmen.
At the first glance Khulna looks like any other Bangladeshi divisional capitals. However, the big traditional market along the Rupsa River, the train station and the busy river port are wonderful areas to experience and watch the daily live. Especially photographers should take time to explore the small alleys and the activities of the market vendors, rickshaw drivers, porters and river port workers.
Kushtia is a pleasant midsize town and can be reached easily by a 3-4 hrs bus drive from Khulna. It is the railway which makes the city unique: the track of the railway leads right through the center of the city which is fairly spread out along a branch of the Padma River. The train passes a few times of the day, but the rest of the day the railway track belongs to the families and children who live in small houses and huts along the track. Although only 2 blocks away from the city center road it strongly feels like a small village with overwhelmingly friendly people. There is a small train station and from the railway track it is also possible to enter the traditional market. This area is especially interesting for street photographers.
It is the riverbank by the Padma River which makes Rajshahi an interesting travel destination. Looking across the vast flood plains it is possible to spot India where the river is called the Ganges. In the late afternoon many students, young people, families with children and street vendors arrive on the riverbank to relax and watch the sunset. There are many cricket players, but also once in a while a soccer team. Rajshahi is a university town and therefore it is not uncommon that even young female students ask for a selfie with the foreigners. Needless to say, that the people are extraordinarily friendly and it is easy to get in touch with students, artists, teachers or children.
Mymensingh is nestled along the south bank of the Old Brahmaputra River. It is the lovely riverside setting and the old quarters around the market with Raj-era buildings which makes Mymensingh a fascinating place to visit. It is easy to get lost in the small alleys of the traditional market, but there are plenty of tea stalls where you can relax and get in touch with the local people. It is a 3-4 hrs drive by bus or train from Dhaka and for the adventurous travellers Mymensingh is a perfect base to explore the Garo villages along the Indian border.