I’ve only know one woman to travel alone through India, and every time she mentioned it, a hush would fall over the group she was speaking to, one that was full of half-questions but more just syllables of “whaa?”, “whoa!”, and “why?” that complemented their raised eyebrows and drinks frozen halfway to their mouths. I mean, that girl was brave. Getting stared at is one thing, but it’s a whole different beast in India. It especially sucks, to put it mildly, when certain men feel that staring is natural foreplay to reaching out and grabbing a hold of whatever body part is closest.
Bangladesh is even more intense than India, and I don’t know any woman who’s gone there alone. I don’t know many women who’ve gone there at all, actually, because there’s also not that much to do.
So, should you travel solo to Bangladesh?
Dhaka, the capital, is not easy to get around, with few tourist options and atrocious pollution. You’ll definitely get stared at, and there’s a high probability of getting harassed or followed. To look slightly less out of place, cover up in loose clothing. Dhaka is a love it or hate it place – it depends on how you feel about euphemistic adjectives such as raw, gritty, real, and uncompromising. There are a few tourist sites, mostly of the religious and historical variety, and you’ll need to figure out transportation through your hotel ahead of time. Alcohol is hard to come by; you can spend your money instead on bronze, fabric and dissembled ship parts.
In Dhaka, there are some very high-quality hotels (which you should splash out for), but outside of the city, lower your expectations, and then lower them some more. Zero expectations are at least rewarded with less than cheap prices. In fact, one of the main pros is that the country as a whole is also very cheap.
Outside Dhaka, there are a few more sights worth seeing, including national parks, palaces, lakes and more mosques. Buses are the most common form of transport, but try to avoid night buses. Pickpocketing, as always, is something you need to be careful of, and more violent crime, including assault and rape, has been reported. As for packing, I’d recommend stocking up on Claritin, nasal spray, Tiger Balm and any and all feminine products.
It’s probably obvious my answer to this post’s question is “no”, but as I said, traveling in Bangladesh leaves little room for a gray area. It isn’t my cup of tea, but I’d like to hear from ladies who loved it!
Have you traveled or would you travel solo in Bangladesh?