With beautiful national parks, jungles that are home to the elusive Bengal tiger, fantastic beaches and age-old plantations, Bangladesh is as diverse and interesting as the people who call it home. If you have a good grip on common sense while traveling, you'll no doubt have a very safe experience here.
Crime has increased in the capital city, Dhaka, and some government travel advisories have listed Bangladesh as "reconsider your need to travel." Contact your travel insurance provider to be sure you're covered.
Many of the crimes committed against travelers in Bangladesh are petty; pickpocketing and bag snatching in particular.
To avoid being a target of theft, here are a few tips:
Dhaka's crime rate is listed as high, and crime increases dramatically at night. Armed robbery is the second-most common crime, and obviously much more dangerous. There have been reports of an increase in armed robbery and gangs operating throughout Dhaka, particularly in Gulshan and Banani, two of Dhaka's wealthiest areas. Passengers of rickshaws, CNGs or taxis – especially at night – are particularly vulnerable to armed robberies.
The kidnapping of businessmen and children for ransom has increased in Bangladesh, but the targets are rarely travelers. Always remain aware of your surroundings, particularly in more isolated or rural locations, where the risk increases.
If you are a victim of a crime, you should contact the local police to get an official report. However, keep in mind there have been reports of officials abusing their authority and general corruption. If you need to visit a police station, don't go alone. Carry a copy of your passport, visa and other important travel documents in case you are required to show identification at designated check posts throughout the country.
Women travelers should always dress modestly to respect local culture. If you're traveling by bus, always sit towards the front near the driver, and avoid traveling at night, particularly if you are alone.
Bangladesh isn't a popular travel destination, so visitors are often seen as something of a novelty to locals, especially children. Don't be surprised if you are stared at, followed around or photographed – it's usually harmless curiosity. If the staring becomes a bit too much for you, simply say "Amar dike takaben na", which means "please stop staring at me". Be kind, and use this phrase sparingly, because the attention is usually not meant to offend. Some people may see you as an opportunity to practise their English, and will chatter incessantly to you. Be polite and considerate of anyone interacting with you.
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