Getting a Bang for Your Buck in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh is a developing country in South Asia. It’s situated between India and Myanmar. While manufacturing jobs are responsible for most of the country’s GDP, tourism plays a large role as well. This is an affordable place to visit for Westerners (save for the plane ticket) and you’ll get to appreciate many of the natural wonders and local cuisine of this country.

Lakkatura Tea Garden

Lakkatura is located in the northeastern part of Bangladesh; it’s actually a giant tea farm, covering 3,200 acres. This area produces over 550 tons of tea per year and it’s a popular tourist and wedding destination. If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, you can also wander around the tea garden alone. And just to illustrate how important tea is to Bangladesh’s economy, this tea garden is overseen by the Bangladesh Tea Board and the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute. 

Lala Khal

While you’re visiting the Lakkatura Tea Garden, you might as well head over to Lala Khal to check out the Shari-Goyain River. In the summertime, the water is a clear, blue color while during the monsoon season, it rises and runs brown. This river is right at the border, so you’ll see signs warning about swimming all the way to India. On the other side, the Indian Border Guards make sure that no one illegally or accidentally crosses over. To make sure you stay on the Bangladesh side, you can take a $10 boat tour and learn about the people and the area.

Drink Palm Wine

The wine that we buy today in our local wine store takes months, if not years, to make. Palm wine, a popular local drink in Bangladesh, takes about two hours. Workers tap the palm tree for its sap, let it sit and within a couple of hours, you’re left with a 4% alcohol beverage. If you forget about your palm sap and leave it for the day, it turns into vinegar. It’s not only humans that drink palm wine! Chimpanzees and bats also enjoy this boozy beverage.

Chittagong Ship-Breaking Yard

Where do giant cargo ships go after they’re no longer usable? One of the places is Chittagong Ship-Breaking Yard. Workers break down the still-valuable parts of the ship by hand and sell the raw materials. This isn’t a magical place, and loose environmental laws and worker protection laws mean that the job is dangerous. The hope is that public pressure will put more stringent regulations in place to protect both the environment and the workers.

Try Seven-Color Tea

What happens when you take different teas and milk and layer them? Seven-color tea! You can try this beverage while you’re visiting the tea garden in northeast Bangladesh, but make sure you bring enough money. One glass can cost over $80! If you look, you may find some roadside versions that cost a lot less, so do your research before you drink.

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