Karnaphuli River Boat Ride
The Karnaphuli River is the largest in Chittagong and spans 270km into the south eastern part of Bangladesh. Whilst in Chittagong, you can take a scenic boat ride passing underneath Shah Amanat Bridge, as well as various rural communities along the riverbank. You can also take a boat ride at night to see the city in a different perspective. Just a heads up, there's plenty of mosquitos!
Salt Production Workers One thing you'll notice when in Chittagong is the amount of salt production happening every hour of every day from December to mid-May. Along the riverfront, you'll see many local workers heading back and forth to the storage buildings. Due to an increased population, the demand for salt is rising every year, and this industry provides many jobs within the community. This is a great opportunity for an insight into a booming sector where you're able to photograph without issues.
Garment Factory Spread across Bangladesh are many garment factories producing clothing for a range of high-end brands globally. These factories are an integral part of providing employment to locals across the country. If pre-arranged, you can tour one the factories to see the machinists at work. I saw plenty of global brands including H&M, Mango, D&G, and Hollister. From speaking to some of the workers, they work long hours, but the pay is relatively good compared to other sectors. I was surprised how organised the whole process was with different departments for off cuts, zips & buttons, hems, and faults.
Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard
The highlight of my time in Bangladesh was definitely a visit to the Ship Breaking Yard in Chittagong. In summary, this is the global location of where ships go to die. Any ship of any size that's reaching the end of its life, ends up here. The local workers then dismantle the ships piece by piece and recycle as much of the metal material as possible. This is fascinating to see, but worth noting that you will need to apply in advance for permission to enter the premises and to use a camera. You can read more in-depth here.
Dhaka City TourLalbagh Fort
The capital city of Dhaka has a few interesting attractions, so definitely worth spending a day here to participate in a city tour. One thing I found is that the city isn't very walkable between attractions, so best to rent a tuk tuk and pay a small fee for the driver to show you the top sights. Top points of interest were Bangladesh National Parliament, Central Shaheed Minar, Tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Fort, and Dhakeshwari Mandir.
National Martyrs' Memorial
The National Martyrs' Monument is an important historical landmark as it commemorates all of those who died in the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Surprisingly, it's not located in the centre of the city, which means you'll have to travel 35km south-west to Savar district. The architecture of the monument is seven pairs of triangular-shaped walls made of solid concrete, which towers 46 meters high. The area is a complex, which includes 10 mass graves and seems a very popular spot for families to escape the city for fresh air.
Visit a Local Market
During my time in Bangladesh, I went to visit markets in both Dhaka and Chittagong. The place where locals roam as they go about their daily business, making trades with vendors, and purchasing essential items for the week ahead. Even late at night, the hustle & bustle of the city thrives as you weave within the stalls that also double up as street food hubs. For me, a great spot to photograph the daily grind.
I chose to stay at The InterContinental Dhaka hotel as I thought the price of under $100 USD a night was too good to turn down for a 5 star hotel directly in the centre of the city. Majority of the tourist attractions were within close proximity too, which was a huge bonus. The rooms were spacious and the facilities were good, but the restaurant was on the expensive side. Best price I found was direct with IHG.
To be honest, I really struggled finding a decent restaurant in Dhaka. My goal is always to source local cuisine, but I was failing miserably with no recommendations within this bracket. I ended up eating at Bistro-E, which is coffee shop during the day and a restaurant in the evening. This place is located in Bay's Edgewater North Avenue Gulshan, so it's central to reach. The menu is predominantly western, but there are a few local options too. The burgers hit the spot for me, but if you want a sneak peek at the menu, click here.