SUMMARY:Almost every aspect of Bangladesh embodies bustle and buzz. The weather is tempestuous, with its frequent storms and floods, while the people are packed and plenty. The country has more cycle rickshaws than any other, as well as more head on collisions than customary. Bus drivers have no problem with driving on the edge, so take caution before you set foot on what may be a roller coaster ride. Recently part of Pakistan, Bangladesh is also home to several different climates and some of the biggest tea plantations in the world. While 25, 000 workers are out in the tea fields, just as many are stirring about the big cities. Like India, Bangladesh always seems crowded. Thankfully with so many people however, easy ministry opportunities arise, although the country is primarily Islamic.
PROFILE: Full Country Name: The People's Republic of Bangladesh Area: 143,998 sq km (56,160 sq mi) Population: 125 million Capital city: Dhaka (pop: 6 million) People:: 98% Bengali, 1% Bihari, 1% tribal Language:Bangla (Bengali) Religion:87% Islam, 12% Hindu, 0.5% Buddhist & 0.3% Christian Government: Constitutional Republic
MONEY & COSTS: Currency: Taka Relative cost: Budget meal: US$0.50-$2 Budget room: US$1-3
Bangladesh is extremely affordable if you plan to travel on a budget. Yet, the quality of cheaper food, accommodation, and travel is quite low. It is possible to average US$4 a day if choosing 2nd class on trains, traveling on local buses, staying in cheap hotels, and eating at inexpensive restaurants is your route. However, if you wish to avoid nerve-racking buses and stomach bugs, spending a little more cash may be wise. US$10-15 a day will get you a decent hotel room with a bathroom, a few customary meals a day, and first-class train travel.
TRANSPORTATION: Similar to India, traveling in Bangladesh is very affordable. Within the cities, rickshaws are available and outside the cities, trains and public buses are offered. Transportation is not the most comfortable according to western standards, but still can be durable. Beware, most vendors will attempt to squeeze the most amount of money out of foreigners, especially westerners, if they are gullible enough to pay the transport fare. But remember, prices for transportation are always negotiable.
RELIGION: The Muslims and Hindus of Bangladesh live in relative harmony. Muslim religious leaders, pirs, have a status that straddles between bishops and sages. Although Hinduism in Bangladesh lacks the showiness and display of the Indian version, Hindu ceremonies are rarely conducted in restricted temples. Instead, Hindus welcome onlookers to watch and even participate in their ceremonies. The Buddhists of Bangladesh only form a tiny minority of the population. Although Hindu and Buddhist achievements preceded the Islamic, the Muslim "intellectuals" ironically tend to deny their importance.
CALL TO MISSIONARIES: With poverty, ignorance of truth, and religion that darkens the mind and spirit, Bangladesh is a country deeply in need of prayer. The hope is for missionaries to come and minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. This of course takes commitment to the Lord's work, vision for the people of Bangladesh, and prayer to release the enemy's control over numerous minds and hearts.