Bangladesh Travel Information

Photo Bangladesh is a land of miracles and heroic accomplishments. Using traditional methods, farmers manage to produce enough food to maintain one of the densest concentrations of rural people in the world. The Bangladeshi people have liberated themselves twice, from the British and from the Pakistanis. Perhaps the greatest deeds are cultural. The Bangla language has a distinguished history in literature and remains one of the most dynamic forces in South Asian arts and humanities. In Bangladesh, local language and artistic forms are combined with the Islamic religion. United by strong village traditions, the struggle for existence, the legacy of the freedom movement, the Bangla language, and Islam, most Bangladeshis retain considerable optimism and pride in their nation.
The economic and political situation in Bangladesh has its roots in the complex relationship between its unusual geography and its history during the last 200 years. Most of the country is a low-lying delta where four major river systems come together. The land is subject to heavy annual monsoon flooding followed by a long dry season. The extreme conditions support a fertile environment for agriculture but often demand a high cost from cultivators, who are confronted with the conflicting demands of irrigation systems and flood prevention measures. For these reasons, the area that is Bangladesh remained a frontier until the last few centuries, and the wild characteristics of the frontier still dominate society on newly formed islands that continually emerge along the courses of salty rivers and along the coast.
The vast majority of Bangladesh's inhabitants are Bengalis, who are largely descended from Indo-Aryans who began to migrate into the country from the west thousands of years ago and who mixed within Bengal with indigenous groups of various racial stocks. Ethnic minorities include the Chakma and Mogh, Mongoloid peoples who live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts District; the Santal, mainly descended from migrants from present-day India; and the Biharis, non-Bengali Muslims who migrated from India after the partition.
Islam, the state religion, is the faith of 88 percent of the population, almost all of whom adhere to the Sunni branch. Hindus make up most of the remainder, and the country has small communities of Buddhists, Christians, and animists. First as part of British India and then of Pakistan, the area now constituting Bangladesh suffered from chronic economic neglect. The region produced large quantities of agricultural goods, including most of the world's jute, but received little investment in such basic items as transportation facilities and industrial plants. Bangladesh's gross domestic product was estimated at $46 billion in 1999. In 1992 Bangladesh's budget was estimated to include $2.8 billion in revenues and $4.1 billion in expenditures.
The per-capita volume of Bangladeshi internal and foreign trade is low. Domestic trade is conducted largely through thousands of periodic markets called hats. Since independence in 1971 the value of Bangladesh's annual imports has usually been at least twice that of exports; in 1999 imports cost $7.7 billion, and exports earned $3.9 billion. The principal exports are jute products and raw jute; clothing, seafood, tea, and hides and leather goods are the other important exports. Imports include foodstuffs, basic manufactures, mineral fuels, machinery, and transportation equipment. Exports go mainly to European countries (especially Germany and Italy), the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan; imports come chiefly from India, European countries, China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the United States. Only a small number of tourists visit Bangladesh each year.

Important: Travel to Bangladesh may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Bangladesh visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: People's Republic of Bangladesh
Capital city: Dhaka
Area: 143,998 sq km
Population: 161,083,804
Ethnic groups: Bengali 98%, other 2%
Languages: Bangla
Religions: Muslim 89.5%, Hindu 9.6%, other 0.9%
Government: parliamentary democracy
Chief of State: President Zillur RAHMAN
Head of Government: Prime Minister Sheikh HASINA Wajed
GDP: 283.5 billion
GDP per captia: 1,900
Annual growth rate: 6.5%
Inflation: 10.7%
Agriculture: rice, jute, tea, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, tobacco, pulses, oilseeds, spices, fruit
Major industries: jute, cotton, garments, paper, leather, fertilizer, iron and steel, cement, petroleum products, tobacco, drugs and pharmaceuticals, ceramic, tea, salt, sugar, edible oil, soap and detergent, fabricated metal products, electricity and natural gas
Natural resources: natural gas, arable land, timber, coal
Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India
Trade Partners - exports: US 19.4%, Germany 16.5%, UK 10%, France 7.3%, Italy 4.4%, Spain 4.2%, Netherlands 4.2%
Trade Partners - imports: China 18.2%, India 13.5%, Malaysia 4.9%