The people of Bangladesh use the taka as their official currency. It is a decimal currency and is split into 100 subunits called poisha. The Bangladeshi language uses the word taka to refer to money of any kind, so it is rather an appropriate word to use for their national currency.
There are eight coins that are legal tender in Bangladesh but only three of those are in regular use. These are worth 1, 2 and 5 taka. The ones that are rarely seen now are all valued as poisha. They are worth 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 poisha.
There are also lots of banknotes but again several of them are rarely used nowadays. The ones you are less likely to see are the 1, 25, 40 and 60 taka notes. The ones you probably will see are the 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 taka notes.
In the past Bangladesh used the Pakistani rupee because it was closely associated with that country. Finally Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971 and it was at this point that it adopted its own currency – the taka. This was official in March 1972 and it has been in use ever since.
It isn’t particularly difficult to get hold of the taka when you are in Bangladesh. The banking industry is well developed so you will find plenty of cash machines dotted around various parts of the country. If you are going to a popular tourist area it should be even easier to get the cash you need. As such it is probably easier to wait until you get to Bangladesh to get hold of your holiday money. Just remember that if you use your card in one of these machines you may want to alert your bank that you are going away before you do so. In fact this applies to all card transactions as many card providers would assume your card may have been stolen and used fraudulently if it suddenly pings to alert them to a transaction in Bangladesh.
You should also find it relatively easy to pay by credit card when you buy any goods or services. Just be sure the card always remains in sight, just as you would do at home. All the major cards are accepted in most outlets across the country, but do check before assuming you can pay in a certain way. It saves embarrassment just in case.
Finally if you want to take some traveller’s cheques with you it is possible to do so as many outlets will happily change them into taka for you.
This can be done by accessing a currency converter. There are apps offering this service as well as a myriad of websites online that offer an up to date exchange rate whenever you look it up. Enter your currency first and then find the taka. This is easier to find if you look it up by its currency code – BDT. It will usually locate it far more quickly.
Quite often people will like to find out more about a country before they visit it. You can go to the High Commission for Bangladesh online by visiting http://www.bhclondon.org.uk/.
Bangladesh is a large country and most of it is quite safe to visit. However there is an extended area in the south eastern corner of the country that is generally inadvisable to go to unless absolutely necessary. Check the latest updates and information given by the UK government before travelling to Bangladesh (and indeed any country) in order to make sure you don’t run into any problems.
Don’t let this warning put you off visiting the country though. Thousands of people from the UK visit here each year and for the most part they don’t encounter any problems. It does however pay dividends to be prepared and to know what to expect when you go to Bangladesh. Politics can be uneasy and can change quickly in the country, so bear this in mind and stay alert when you are there, just in case things should change.
When it comes to keeping your valuables safe, this country is no more dangerous than many others around the world. If you take basic precautions and exercise some common sense you should be fine. Criminals tend to like easy targets – those seen with lots of money or jewellery for example. Make sure you keep your cash divided up so you never carry too much in any pocket or purse. This means that if a pickpocket should dip into your pocket or bag you won’t lose everything. Keep your credit and debit cards in a money belt as this offers more protection than a standard bag or pocket.
Don’t let anyone carry your bags, even at the airport, and make sure you avoid going out at night if you possibly can. This especially applies if you are travelling alone or thinking of going out alone. It is best simply not to do it at all.
When you fly into Bangladesh you will be flying into Southern Asia. It shares much of its border from the west right round to the east with India, which wraps around it as you’ll see on a map. To the east it also shares a small section of its eastern border with Myanmar. Its southern border, erratic though it is in shape, looks out onto the Bay of Bengal.
So where should you go if you decide this is the country for you to visit? Well, the capital is Dhaka and it lies in a fairly central position in the country. It is thought there are somewhere in the region of 15 million people living in this city alone, and you might think you’ll bump into most of them when you start exploring. It is quite a city, and one filled not just with people but with the famous rickshaws as well. It is generally advised not to try the cycle rickshaws but some tourists do.
If you feel overwhelmed by the generally busy feeling of the city, make sure you check out the many parks that exist within its realms. Ramna Park is a particularly nice example, offering you a lake to wander around and relax by, and plenty of shaded areas under the trees. Elsewhere in the city you can visit some of the modern buildings that have risen up in its confines. While many people live on a meagre income here, there is no doubt that a lot of money has gone into building such structures.
If you want to go a little further afield you’ll find Lalbagh Fort not too far away to the south west. This is a fort that dates from the 17th century, and although it was never fully completed it is still well worth a look.
Alternatively why not visit Ahsan Manzil, a stunning palace that was built in the mid to late 1800s? It looks almost pink from the outside and receives several million visitors each year. One of the best parts about the building is the fact that its history as a palace is now told through some of the exhibits in the museum you can now find inside it.
Finally why not take a look at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka? This tells the story of the Liberation War the country once went through, and reveals much about the history of Bangladesh itself and how it has developed and changed. The museum has been open for several years now and boasts many thousands of exhibits. It is well worth allocating an entire day to see everything properly, and even then you may miss certain things. The museum certainly gives you a greater understanding of the country and it is a fascinating place to visit.
Bangladesh may not leap to the front of your mind when you are considering where to go for a holiday. However it has much to share with you. There is a lot of history here, part of which we have touched upon already in this article. There is plenty more as well of course, and many buildings and other structures that date back to some point in Bangladesh’s past.
If you want to visit a different country, somewhere completely unlike anywhere you have been before, perhaps Bangladesh will prove to be an eye opening and thoroughly enjoyable experience. While people are warned away from the far eastern part of the country, the remainder is safe to visit and to enjoy. When you realise some of the many secrets Bangladesh has to share, you will definitely want to find them for yourself.