Bangladesh is still mostly untouched by tourism compared to other global destinations. So, if you want to visit somewhere that’s often ignored by other travelers, there’s perhaps a no better option than this fascinating South Asian country. Charged with a unique and vibrant energy, Bangladesh has plenty of attractions to keep you busy. If you love nature, you can explore the country’s lush greenery and many waterways, or see an abundance of wildlife at a national park. If you’re more interested in ancient sites and incredible architecture, you have the option of visiting a variety of ruins, shrines, and mosques. In the evenings, you can soak up the atmosphere at funky music venues. There are also plenty of artisan stores where you can buy one-off Bangladeshi souvenirs to take back home. You can only feel the vibrancy of this inspirational country by experiencing it first-hand.
Set among the beautiful countryside of Dinajpur, the 18th-century Kantanagar Temple is one of the most impressive Hindu temples in Bangladesh. The maharaja Pran Nath built this temple in 1752. It’s one of the most excellent examples of brick and terracotta style architecture that you’ll ever see. With plenty of stunning surface decorations depicting floral and figurative motifs to explore, you’re sure to spend hours in awe viewing this magnificent temple. It once boasted nine spectacular spires, but sadly they were all destroyed in an earthquake in 1897.
There’s no better way of exploring Bangladesh’s flora and fauna than visiting this incredible sprawling wildlife reserve in Srimangal. The park’s tropical semi-evergreen woods cover an area of around five miles. Various tours allow you to take exhilarating dense-forest walks, where you have the chance to see a variety of wildlife. As well as orange-bellied Himalayan squirrels, barking deer, and endangered hoolock gibbons, you have the opportunity to see 246 bird species and 20 varieties of orchids.
One of the oldest sites in Bangladesh is the vast monastery complex at Somapuri Vihara in Paharpur. These 65 feet-high red-brick stupa ruins are 1300 years old. The site covers 27 acres, where you will see 177 monastic cells lining the complex’s outer walls, a massive open courtyard, and clay tiles that depict amazing images of ancient people and creatures. All sorts of artifacts have become discovered at this site, including bronze statues and bas-reliefs of the Hindu god Ganesh.
You won’t find tea like the tea at Nilkantha Tea Cabin anywhere else in the world. Tea-maker maestro Romesh Ram Gour has created seven-colored tea that also has seven differing tastes. The inventor of these vibrant teas has become famous not only in Bangladesh but also around the world. This teahouse in Srimangal is a feast for your eyes and taste buds. You can sample the fantastic flavors of the teas or buy packets of the intensely-colored tea to take back home.
Located in the Natore district, Natore Rajbari is one of the oldest palaces in Bangladesh. This prominent royal palace dates from the early 1700s. It was once the home of the Rajshahi Raj family. Surrounded by luscious ponds and trees that are centuries old, the site is made up of seven rajbaris. Four of the palaces are still mostly intact. By visiting Natore Rajbari, you can walk in the footsteps of famous royals like queen Rani Bhabani.
Located in southern Dhaka, Sadarghat is one of the largest river ports in the world. From the front, you can see overladen barges, triple-towered ferries, and tiny canoes trying to avoid each other on the panoramic Buriganga River. If you want to experience the river close-up, you can travel on the deck of a small boat. Although the river itself isn't pristine, the chaotic bustle of Sadarghat River Front is an experience you should not miss.
If you only visit one mosque in Bangladesh, make sure it’s the famous Shait Gumbad Mosque, which dates from 1459. It is one of the largest and most magnificent traditional mosques in the country. The name of the mosque means “The Temple with 60 Domes.” However, in reality, 81 domes are adorning this famous mosque. With Turkish-style architecture and incredibly thick walls, this fortress-like place of worship is an impressive sight you will never forget.
If you’re looking for a truly authentic taste of tribal culture, you can visit the Manipuri village of Ramnagar near Srimangal. Out of all of the ethnic groups in the country, the Manipuri people are the most integrated with modern Bangladeshi society, so villages like this are very accessible to tourists. As well as seeing how the Manipuri people live, you can purchase beautiful hand-made fabrics and see how the locals weave them on handlooms.