Is Bangladesh safe to visit? (For Solo Women, Tourists)


Last Updated on 19/06/2022 by Alfred

Well, in my opinion, Bangladesh is very safe for solo women travelers. Lots of female travelers have visited Bangladesh, and more will come in the future.

Though in the online forums and communities, I saw debate around it. I saw positive points as well as negative points from both locals and international tourists. So I’m gonna put my thoughts and gonna try to explain the scenario here regarding this issue.

Some international solo female travelers’ opinions about Bangladesh, whether it’s safe or not:

After six weeks of backpacking in Bangladesh as a female solo traveler, here’s what Alex Reynolds (owner of the Lost With Purpose travel blog) has to say –

She answered the question directly – 

Is Bangladesh safe for [solo] female travelers?

In short: yes, I believe so.

Though you may have to deal with medieval ‘tudes and lecherous dudes, I don’t think you’re putting yourself at any serious risk by traveling in Bangladesh as a woman.

Because of ingrained Islamic notions about respecting women—and despite the issues that arise from them—most men will be polite. You don’t have to worry about disappearing or being raped and ravaged and left on a beach to rot, so long as you use common sense.

(It would be pretty damned difficult to get away with that given there are always people around, no matter how remote the area.).

Lost with Purpose

She also added –

Bangladesh is not a place visited by many travelers, let alone women.

A strikingly patriarchal country whose population often harbors medieval views about what women can and cannot do, it can be challenging for women both local and foreign.

I’ll be frank with ya: Bangladesh is not the best place in the world for women in general, let alone [solo] female travelers.

Does that mean you should skip it? Of course not!

lost with purpose

People also like to read: Amazing!! The Top 34 Best Travel Destinations In Bangladesh

Here’s what the owner of Coffee with a slice of life said about Bangladesh – 

Is it safe to travel as a women?

Bangladesh is not known as a touristy destination; in fact, Bangladesh is not known for anything to do with travel. It’s neighbours India (who, at one point were part of the same country) seems to get all the tourists. But why not Bangladesh? Do people think it is dangerous? Not worth travelling to? Is Bangladesh safe?

Well, I guess there was only one way I was going to find out if Bangladesh is safe. It was time for me to travel to Bangladesh.

I felt incredibly safe in Bangladesh as a female and never once intimidated or uncomfortable. I have travelled to many countries, and I’ll be honest I felt more un-safe in my home country at times than I did in Bangladesh.

Coffe with a slice of life

You guys can also check Soul Travel Blog and see her amazing trip to Bangladesh as a woman traveler and know her deep thoughts about Bangladesh. She also said it broadly in one of her articles. So that might be quite helpful for you to decide.

People also like to read: The Amazing Ultimate Cox’s Bazar Travel Guide

Here’s what a British feminist female traveler (owner of teacaketravels) said about solo travel as a woman in Bangladesh – 

Solo Female Travel In Bangladesh: I Did It!

Before I knew it, I’d gorged on the whole confectionery box and was feeling the dizzying, glorious after-effects of the sugar rush. Bangladesh has changed my life and been the most rewarding solo female travel adventure I’ve undertaken to date. I’ve proved everyone wrong about Bangladesh being impossible to visit and not worth exploring. That includes the media, my friends, and yes, even myself. I want to change your mind too and open up this rabbit hole even further so you can jump right in there with me. It’s a rough ride but the crazy adventurer in you needs to do it. The rewards are gold dust.

Tea cake travels

You will find many people keep shouting on forums that Bangladesh isn’t safe, don’t go there, they will kill you, they will kidnap you, rape you blah blah. 

Well, many of these allegations are wrong. Yeah, there are exceptions. I never deny it didn’t happen or won’t happen. But these allegations aren’t enough to determine that Bangladesh isn’t a safe country for solo woman travelers.

Lots of Bangladeshi’s are raising their voices that Bangladesh isn’t safe. Let’s know the reason behind of their this statement.

There was much rape in the last couple of years, and girls became quite helpless as they started to go out. Even the under-aged girls had been abused brutally, even married women. So there point then how a girl from outside the country can be safe here?

Here’s the psychology, at least what most people think – People here are quite good-hearted. They feel joy when they see anyone from other countries walking around the city or going somewhere on a bus. 

We feel good to see foreigners, some of our tries to talk to them. Take photos. Usually, even thugs don’t even bother foreign tourists.

But some of them are so addicted to drugs that they have lost their minds, and those are the people, a tiny number of people who try to hijack, steal tourists’ cameras, mobile, etc. 

People also read: Saint Martin – The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide

Is Bangladesh safe for white Christian American tourists?

Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, was known as Dacca until 1982. For the last 33 years, Dhaka has been the correct name for the city, and it is safe for any tourist, regardless of their religion or country of origin.

Bangladesh, however, has cultural and social norms and customs that any visiting tourist must respect. When visiting Bangladesh as a tourist, hundreds of articles, checklists, and lists of do’s and don’ts are available on the internet.

Here are a few tips:

  • Bangladesh is a Muslim-dominated country. Don’t do anything that insults the religion or the followers, e.g., don’t wear too revealing clothes, don’t consume alcohol in public, don’t indulge in a public display of affection, and so on.
  • While in public places, be cautious of your belongings. Also, be extra careful when dealing with locals. Like any other nation globally, there are thieves, con men, and pickpockets in Dhaka.

Tourists generally find the residents of Dhaka city to be friendly and welcoming. Bangladeshis are known for their hospitality, and visitors to the country can expect to receive extra-courteous treatment.

Few sporadic events should not judge the tourist image of a city. In general, Dhaka is very tourist-friendly.

Also, we, Bangladeshis, are very sensitive about the usage of Dacca instead of Dhaka. By no means is Dacca the official or correct spelling of Dhaka. Whatever people may try to write or say, no one in Bangladesh pronounces Dhaka as Dacca. That faulty spelling, which looters and plunderers established, was abolished 33 years ago.

So to come to Dhaka and tell people that XYZ has arrived in “Dacca” is not rude. Still, it is also inadvisable since the person will almost certainly be corrected immediately.

Is it safe for transgender people to travel to Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is safe for transgender people to travel here. People don’t even care whether you are gay or not. 

As every country has some norms and cultures. You should abide by it. For example, Bangladesh is a Muslim country, so don’t do kissing or anything in public. 

You’re generally safe as long as your perceived gender adheres to the binary template. The majority of your life will remain unchanged as long as you’re a foreigner.

It should be alright for business travelers who happen to be transgender. For example, when you have limited or no interaction with local people and only interact with your business connections.

A traveler interested in tourism will find it challenging. As a tourist, you’re likely to interact with many locals and come in contact with people of different mentalities. 

People also read: What Do I Need To Know About Traveling To Bangladesh?

Some local people may give you a bad experience. Of course, it will not happen with every individual you meet, but there will be a bigot or two out of the many people you see on a given day.

In a nutshell, don’t do anything that looks awkward. Just be you, travel the whole country, respect the religion, respect the people, and you are good to go. 

But people stare at foreigners a lot. They kinda like when people from other countries visit their country.

How safe is Bangladesh to Travel alone?

Going alone to a densely populated area — that is how traveling to Bangladesh alone would be. Bangladesh is quite safe for traveling alone as long as you are well aware. If you do careless things then it’s not safe for you anymore.

Let’s start with the Cons …..

When you are setting your mind to go somewhere as a first-timer, facts should be known beforehand. For example, Bangladesh is a beautiful country. But it is over-populated. A load of the population has added to its inefficiency in mitigating poverty and cursed the country with traffic and poor infrastructure.

You will find a large number of people in every square kilometer area around you in Bangladesh. If you visit Dhaka, you will see unsystematically built-up high-rises and motor vehicles that seem to bump into each other, very much like most cities in South Asia.

Of course, you will face long traffic jams, and you will see street children selling flowers and beggars knocking on your car glasses while you wait in the traffic.

Across the country, there will be heavy rain if you visit during the monsoon, and you will feel scorching heat once outside if you travel during summer. The bitchy weather may bless you additionally with allergies and cold. Don’t panic, though. We have doctors and well-equipped drug stores.

Like many other countries, Bangladesh cannot guarantee your safety during the night. But, as is said, where the population is huge and the law enforcing system is still striving to reach betterment, and the social tradition barely allows girls to stay outside after 10 pm, you should better plan your outside work sparing night hours.

And then, there, you will see long lines of Rohingya refugees on your way to Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar. But, again, the refugees come in bunches, being extremely tortured and driven out by the Myanmar Buddhists, being refugees only by our Prime Minister.

Are you ready to compromise on these?

If yes, here go the pros…

  1. The country is green and beautiful.
  2. There are many rivers.
  3. There is the Sundarban. And it has the Royal Bengal Tiger.
  4. There is the longest beach in the world — Cox’s Bazar. Despite being 66 times smaller than the United States and 65 times smaller than China, this tiny country is fortunate to have both sea and mountains to offer its visitors.
  5. Bangladesh is endowed with six different seasons, unlike many countries. And throughout the seasons, all year round, you will find yourself here indulged in color and festivity, e.g., religious festivals, Pohela Boishakh (First day of the Bengali New Year), Nabanna (harvest and new-rice celebration), Pohela Falgun (First day of Spring), Boimela (month-long book fair during February), Shohid Dibosh (21 February), Bijoy Dibosh (16 December), Shadhinota Dibosh (26 March), Valentine’s Day and whatnots!
  6. Moreover, we people are famous for unparalleled hospitality. This ensures a welcoming journey across the country.

Now, the safety issue.

Be on your safeguard and keep your instincts open simply as you would do as a solo traveler in any other completely unknown place. Keep in regular contact with the local embassy. Even Bangladeshi Muslims have a fear factor in foreign countries like the US; still, we travel to America, don’t we?

When you intend to travel inside the country, make copies of all your credentials, such as passports, official cards, documents, and hotel names. For guidance, you can rely on a travel agency or a tour guide.

You know, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do. Keep the knowledge of the local culture and norms, and be respectful towards the local traditions and religions even if you do not believe in them. But, on the other hand, do not do something that shows disrespect or insult to the local people.

It would be better to avoid wandering on the roads at night. It is safe for a newcomer to keep a reliable guide or have detailed information about a locale before hanging out rather than depending on Google Maps solely.

It is most safe when you are aware of the thugs and pickpockets lurking on the streets. Law enforcers and administration are sometimes vulnerable since Dhaka is an extremely crowded city. 

Transport availability is another big problem in Bangladesh. So I would suggest you better avoid the bus or train inside Dhaka, and take a cab or Uber and pay the fare watching the meters, of course. 

For intra-city movement, you can take a rickshaw, but don’t forget to have a clear idea about the fare from the local people or your guide beforehand.

To avoid being a target of theft, here are a few tips:

  1. When you open your wallet in markets, don’t flash your money around.
  2. Hide valuable things from others to notice them.
  3. Avoid carrying large cameras around when walking the streets of Bangladesh; instead, choose a smaller, mirrorless camera that will be less noticeable.
  4. Hold your bags in front of you instead of putting them on the ground in a restaurant or street stall.
  5. When riding local transport, keep your bags and belongings with you at all times to avoid falling asleep on short-distance crowded buses.
  6. Criminals often work in groups on motorcycles or three-wheelers (CNGs), so keep your bag away from the roadside when walking near the roads.

“But a harsh reality is if a Bangladeshi female traveler travels alone, she might be in danger and can be harassed by many people along the way of her journey.” Unfortunately, that’s how Bangladesh is. But I can say female solo travelers from outside the country won’t be harassed even 20% of the females here while traveling. 

But if you become alert and well-planned, that won’t be a problem for you to tackle.

There are some important things you should know about traveling to Bangladesh:

  1. Bangladesh is a very welcoming place. At the same time, not a much friendly place for tourists, no matter your skin or country. Native people also fall victim to fraud. So it’s better if you have a good local guide who knows the place and prices of tickets, bus/local transportation.
  2. Try to wear local dresses and cover yourself as much as possible. I know it’s hot here, and you have the right to wear whatever you want but to avoid stalking and uncomfortable stares. It’s not like everyone here is a pervert or such, but they don’t get to see white people every day. So they stare at them regardless of gender and more if it’s a woman. Don’t take it otherwise.
  3. If you are in Dhaka only, use ride-sharing apps with a motorcycle facility to avoid the horrific traffic jam. As you are alone, it shouldn’t be a big problem. You can use Uber Moto, Pathao for this purpose. Try to avoid peak hours for moving. Make sure you have enough time to move; traffic wastes a lot of time in Dhaka.
  4. Be careful about foods. People love oily and spicy food here. So if you don’t want such food, be choosy. There are several good restaurants in Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi, excluding the five-star hotels. But for special local foods like Biriyani and Kebabs (Old Dhaka). Keep in mind that it’s a very crowded place with narrow roads.
  5. If you want to travel the hilly regions of Bandarban, Rangamati, Khagrachari, you need local authority permission. It’s for the safety of foreigners. You may be arrested if you cannot show any papers there.
  6. If you are traveling in April-October, you better keep an umbrella or raincoat with you. Also, be aware of thunder. Otherwise, it’s pretty hot here. From personal experience, the humidity is more painful than the temperature for the last couple of years. So be prepared for that as well.
  7. While selecting local guides, be sure they are good and authentic. There are frauds everywhere, and the actual ones also try to charge too much if they sense you know nothing about the place. So be careful about that.
  8. I regret to say it, but the fact is rape has increased surprisingly for the last few years. Try not to go out alone after 10 pm. Hijacking is also common in narrow allies, even on highways at night. So be careful while moving. Call 999 for law enforcement help anytime. Collect the number of the tourist police of the place where you are going. They are very helpful.
  9. Don’t go with people if anyone says there are good landmarks over there; that might be a trap. Do your roadmap and go with your map, not the shortcuts that the random clumsy-looking stranger tells you.

So, my advice would be unless you travel and see yourself, it’s quite hard to say Bangladesh is safe for solo female travel or not. It’s safe in many other female travelers’ opinions. Be respectful of the people, respect the norms and cultures. Try to abide by the rules and be aware all the time, no matter what country you are in.

For now, this is all I can recall. So, again, welcome to Bangladesh, and I hope you will have an excellent time in Bangladesh.

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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