While Bangladesh has many enjoyable aspects, there are also some less welcome features. The following list is based on our recommendations.
Try to avoid the following:
• Uncooked vegetables and salads when dining in local restaurants and hotels.
• Drinking tap water, including for brushing teeth. Bottled water is available in all hotels, restaurants and local stores. Make sure the seal on the cap is unbroken or is broken in front of you.
• Wearing revealing western clothes in markets and crowded areas, especially women and in the old part of the city. The more inconspicuous and conservative clothing, the less attention will be drawn.
• Being taken out for a ride by the shopkeepers! You may need to bargain a lot before purchasing an item.
• Public physical contact or displays of intimacy between men and women, between traveling companions of the opposite sex (even married ones) or with Bangladeshis. It is viewed as culturally insensitive.
• The “thumb’s up” signal. In Bangladesh, it’s considered obscene.
• Aggressively shaking hands with women. Although many Bangladeshi women do not mind shaking hands, some conservative women are uncomfortable with this practice. Let the woman offer her hand first.
• Sitting with a foot pointing toward another person. It’s discourteous.
• Sunburn. In Bangladesh, you can get sunburn surprisingly quickly, even on cloudy days. Use a sunscreen and take extra care to cover areas that don’t normally see sun, e.g., your feet. A hat provides added protection. If you overindulge, Calamine lotion (available locally) is good for mild sunburn.