48 Hours In Bangladesh With Kids!

BangladeshOver the summer of 2019, the Michael W Travels family went on a four week trip around South Asia. During this time, we visited five countries.

While doing research for the trip, I decided that this would be the perfect time for a quick visit to Bangladesh, a country none of us had ever visited before.

Here is what we did while spending 48 Hours in Bangladesh.

While writing this post, I realized that I didn’t account for the day we arrived in Bangladesh. The truth is that our first day wasn’t very productive!

We arrived in Dhaka at around 1:00pm and it then took over an hour to get out of the airport. By the time we got to our hotel, we were hungry. After quickly settling in, off we went to find something to eat.

There were some malls close-by (not exactly what we’d consider a proper mall in the US), so we stopped in for some pizza. It was a chain from the region which I don’t believe was actually from Bangladesh. The meal was forgettable but it got the job done.After lunch we wandered around the overly congested and traffic-heavy streets. The air quality was pretty awful but we loved seeing the bicycle rickshaws whizzing by.

The following day we hired a car and driver from the hotel and spent a good amount of time checking out sites around Dhaka.Our first stop was Ahsan Manzil or the Pink Palace.

It was very hot and humid out and it turned out that the Michael W Travels family was the star attraction. We didn’t get very far before being stopped for photo-ops. The prime targets were Theo (a little less than 3 years old at the time) and Kim.After some time, we made it inside the building which is now a dusty museum. Before heading off, Lucas and I got a quick photo in the front of the Pink Palace.Next up was an interesting stop at the Armenian Church located on Armenia Street!

We were surprised to read that there used to be an Armenian community in the city. We were shown around and given a short tour by the caretaker’s son. (A local family takes care of the church.) From what I recall, prominent Armenian families donate money to keep the church in good shape.A short distance away is the Star Mosque. Kim and the kids stayed in the car while I went to check it out.

The mosque gets its name from its star-covered domes. I couldn’t get a decent photo since it was being repaired. I enjoyed checking out the mosaics inside and out. While there, a few of the men chatted and welcomed me which was nice.

After lunch we went to our last destination which was the highlight or the day.The line to get into Lalbagh Fort was huge. It appeared that this was the place to go for families and couples looking to relax.

Luckily, the wait wasn’t long. A couple of the local folks told us to go up and pay. I am not sure if this was due to being with young children or being foreigners…We loved walking around the huge grounds. it really was a nice place. Like at the Pink Palace, we got stopped a bunch of times for photo-ops. We went along with it due to everyone’s genuine friendliness. We’ve experienced this in other countries we’ve visited, and usually find it annoying  and  sometimes  even  rude.We didn’t spend a ton of time here (probably around an hour). Regardless, the fort is a must-visit if you come to Dhaka.

Our second full day was used primarily to visit a few sites about a little over an hour away.We spent a good amount of time exploring the abandoned city of Panam Nagar.

The area was pretty busy with local visitors. I think the day we visited was a holiday so there were lots of families and groups of young couples here taking photos and hanging out.Once again, we were the main attraction. We were stared at and stopped for photos but again everyone was really friendly so we kind of went along with it. We really enjoyed checking out Panam Nagar and could picture it being a thriving area many years ago. The buildings were in varying conditions but you could still see how impressive some of them must have been.

We then drove a short way to the Sonargaon Museum but it was closed. Kim and I were interested in learning more about the area but it wasn’t meant to be.Since we were close by, we decided to stop by for a visit to the Bangladesh Taj Mahal.

Kim and I aren’t really into these kind of sites but we figured why not! The story about why it was built was pretty interesting.

This smaller scale version of the real Taj Mahal took 5 years to build at a cost of around US $56 million. A wealthy Bangladeshi man decided to build a copycat of the famed building so the poor people in the country could get the opportunity to see the Taj.

We didn’t spend much time here and kind of just laughed. Our driver asked us if we wanted to stop to see the Pyramids but we declined…The last stop of our day was back in Dhaka at the Bangladesh National Museum.

No photos were allowed which makes visiting a bit less fun, if you ask me. The museum showed its age but it was informative and interesting for the kids.

One of the best exhibits was a huge map of the country on the floor. There were lights on it which lit up to see different areas of the country.After a long day we were hungry so we stopped by a famous restaurant I had read about.

Star Hotel & Kabab was very busy and the prices were pretty cheap. The food was good but we weren’t sure it was worth the drive in Dhaka’s crazy traffic to go there.

Final Thoughts:

Before arriving in Bangladesh we were a little bit worried about our visit due to a dengue fever outbreak. We heard about it around a week or two before we arrived.

Happily, we had no issues (we were careful and used  bug spray but we hardly saw any mosquitos) and were glad to get to check out Bangladesh since we were in the region.

We really liked how friendly the people were, that’s probably what stood out most. Otherwise, we had a good time checking out various sites although nothing we saw blew us away.

If we had more time, I would’ve liked to have visited the Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard.

Have you visited Bangladesh? If so, what did you think of the country?

3 thoughts on “48 Hours In Bangladesh With Kids!

  1. I spent three days in Dhaka a few years ago and my experience was fairly similar to yours, except fewer crowds – I was the only tourist at Panam Nagar, for instance. The people I did meet were incredibly friendly, as well.

  2. Michael W,

    Thanks for the review of Bangladesh. My family and I (Americans) lived in Bangladesh for 14 years, 1989-2003. It is home at so many levels. Thank you for taking the time to visit and review. For the curious travel, here are some insights – though dated, I think they are worth considering.

    First you hit the nail on the head, Bangladeshi people are the friendliest ever, and little foreign kids are always main attractions.

    For the adventurous – anything with a river is amazing. If you are a foreigner and look like a foreigner (anything but ‘Bengali Brown’) anywhere but the river life kind of stops, people stare and you are the attraction. On the river, you just blend and life goes on, it is wonderful.

    For the super adventurous – my best travel experience ever was a several day trip with my oldest son who had turned 18. We rented two motor bikes and traveled from the Cox Bazaar area along the Burmese border and just did life with people – from helping farmers by giving them rides with their crops on our bikes to tea stalls, etc. Anything ‘villagy’ is always amazing.

    Thanks again.

    Bob (aka BengaliBob)

    1. Hi Bob,

      Funny and interesting to see your name in the reply section. Remember our first trip together by “boat” to Gopalganj village in December (maybe in 1991)? I wonder where Michael stayed?

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