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Country Guides for Asia


Bangladesh Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. About a third of this extremely poor country floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, hampering economic development.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.

Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of the Indian Subcontinent, should take an antimalarial drug. NOTE: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in the Indian Subcontinent and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.

Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

If you visit the Himalayan Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least 15 SPF, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.

There is no risk for yellow fever in the Indian Subcontinent. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Japanese encephalitis, only if you plan to visit rural areas for 4 weeks or more, except under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • typhoid vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region. There have been recent reports of typhoid drug resistance in India and Nepal.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you are going to visit areas where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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SAFETY AND SECURITY: There may be an increasing threat to U.S. interests from extremists in Bangladesh. In response to this potential threat, the U.S. Embassy in early 2004 took a number of measures to ensure the security of its staff.

In general, demonstrations occur on Friday afternoons but may take place at any time and any place. However, most demonstrations occur in downtown Dhaka, some five miles south of the U.S. Embassy. Some of these demonstrations have been violent and, in some instances, property belonging to U.S.-affiliated businesses has been damaged or destroyed. During this period of heightened tension in the Middle East, Americans are urged to avoid, if possible, travel to the downtown Dhaka area, especially on Fridays.

In Bangladesh, attending large gatherings or public events, as well as demonstrations, may pose a very real safety risk for Americans. In December 2002, bombs exploded at four packed movie theaters in the town of Mymensingh, located approximately 70 mi/112 km north of Dhaka, killing or injuring many people. A similar coordinated attack occurred in September 2002, when bombs exploded in a movie theater and at a circus in the town of Satkira, located approximately 112 mi/180 km southwest of Dhaka. There have been no American citizens among the victims of these bombings. The Mymensingh bombings reinforce continued Embassy warnings about the possibility of violence in public places where large crowds gather. While the coordinated nature of these bombings raises further security concerns in Bangladesh, the State Department has no information to indicate that these bombings are related to terrorist attacks against Americans elsewhere in the world.

Domestic, politically inspired violence has not abated since the 2001 election campaign. This type of violence is a particular problem on university campuses. While Americans in Bangladesh have not been the targets of this violence, they should factor it in when planning their movements. Public demonstrations, marches and labor strikes are widely used as a means of political expression in Bangladesh. A number of general strikes, or "hartals," have been called by the political opposition over the past several years, resulting in the virtual shutdown of transportation and commerce, and sometimes attacks on individuals who do not observe the hartals. Clashes between rival political groups during hartals have resulted in deaths and injuries. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid all political protests, demonstrations, and marches. During hartals, American citizens should exercise caution in all areas and remain inside their hotels, residences, schools, or workplaces whenever possible.

Due to several kidnappings, including those of foreign nationals, U.S. citizens are advised against travelling to the Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) unless the travel is absolutely essential. Individuals who choose to visit these districts are urged to exercise extreme caution. Visitors to Bangladesh should check with the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka for updated information on planned political activities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

CRIME: Crime is a growing problem, particularly in the major cities of Dhaka and Chittagong. Weapons are increasingly used in criminal incidents. Pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, and other forms of street crime occur often, especially in areas frequented by foreigners. Visitors should avoid walking alone after dark, carrying large sums of money, or wearing expensive jewelry. Valuables should be stored in hotel safety deposit boxes and should not be left unattended in hotel rooms.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at

Source: U.S. Department of State

tropical; mild winter (October to March); hot, humid summer (March to June); humid, warm rainy monsoon (June to October)

Source: CIA World Factbook

Bangladesh's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport, visa and onward/return ticket are required. All travelers to Bangladesh, including American citizens, must have a valid visa in their passport prior to arrival. Note that airport visas (landing permits) are no longer available upon arrival by air. Some Americans seeking visas from the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. or from Bangladesh Embassies or Consulates in other countries have reported that they are erroneously advised to enter Bangladesh on a landing permit. There are two recent exit requirements. As of March 13, 2003, the government of Bangladesh has levied a departure tax on foreign national adults and children age two and older. The amount of the departure tax varies for travel to different regions. There is no tax for transit passengers traveling through Bangladesh without a visa and in country for 72 hours or less. These requirements may be subject to change, and travelers are advised to check with the Embassy of Bangladesh before traveling. Also, as of April 15, 2002, departing foreign nationals are required to comply with the income tax ordinance of 1984 and submit an income tax clearance certificate/income tax exemption certificate to local airline offices upon departure from Bangladesh. For further information on entry requirements and possible exceptions to the exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone 202-244-0183, fax 202-244-5366, website, or the Bangladesh Consulates in New York, 211 E. 43rd Street, Suite 502, New York, NY 10017, telephone 212-599-6767, or Los Angeles, 10850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250, Los Angeles, CA 90024, telephone 310-441-9399.

Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Bangladesh is 6 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Bangladesh would be 11:00 pm

The unit of currency in Bangladesh is the taka (BDT).

Look up the current exchange rate using's Universal Currency Converter

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