Cycling in Bangladesh: Adventure Tourism in Bangladesh
Primarily flat, Bangladesh offers great experience in cycling tourism. Bangladesh has a beautiful countryside divided by rivers and rice fields, and towns are close enough to each other to provide an experience for all levels of cyclists. The bicycle and bicycle rickshaws are ubiquitous throughout the country making cycle repair extremely easy even in fairly remote locations. Moving at the pace of a cycle will also allow the traveler to experience the rhythms of life that can not be seen from a bus or rented car.
The quality of roads varies throughout the country. Paved thoroughfares often have the occasional speeding bus, while more remote paths may be made of laid brick or compacted mud. While traveling through village areas, it may be necessary to carry a bicycle across narrow bamboo bridges as well.
Cycle the Countryside in Bangladesh
The key to cycling in Bangladesh is to first escape Dhaka and the central, industrial region. Cycling the southwest region, notably the Barisal and Khulna divisions along the delta of the Padma (Ganges) River is easiest given their flat terrain. A bus to Barisal will take half a day and another option of getting there is by overnight boat. From here it is possible to buy a bicycle, either a sturdy import without gear shifts from China costing less than $100 or more expensive mountain bikes.
From Barisal, it is possible to rent a boat and indicate a destination through a map allowing one to explore both the meandering rivers and faraway places to cycle around. Else it is possible to take either of the two roads leading south out of Barisal. A few hours through the first route can take you through the towns of Pirojpor and Bagerhat along the way to Khulna. The second route can lead to the district towns of Putuakhali and Barguna while ending at the beach in Kuakata.
Two keys to cycling in Bangladesh are to have enough water and have enough small pocket money. Water can easily be purchased at tea stalls though many may be closed during the hottest part of the day. Small change is necessary for ferry fees, which are usually 2 takas to cross with a bicycle. Small change is also necessary if it’s close to dark and riding the bus or renting a small riverboat is necessary to arrive at the planned destination.
Cycling in Sylhet
Cycling through the tea gardens in Sylhet is also a popular getaway from Dhaka. Cycles can be rented through many of the tea garden estates. Filled with forest and rolling hills covered with tea, the cool climate of Sylhet is an enjoyable cycling experience. Riding through Bangladesh is enjoyable not just for the natural experience, but is a great way to meet local people and explore local communities. Sylhet is a larger town, but more rural communities can be accessed through bus or a short bike ride away.