The first of three in our series of articles dealt with countries that are visa free for entry to Bangladeshi citizens. In this article we are going to be looking at nations which grant Bangladeshi citizens visa on arrival.
Visa-on-arrival means that a visa is granted to Bangladeshi passport holders when they arrive at an international airport or land border of a certain country. There are quite a few such countries, but again the similar problem with difficulty in reaching the certain place remains.
Technically, a visa on arrival means that certain points need to be met prior to the visa being granted at the land border. These vary differently from country to country. For some countries it is a full visa application process at the border with photos, itinerary, flight bookings and all required. For other nations, it is almost like the visa free procedure. Some nations will charge a fee at the border too. One of the themes that is quite interesting is that a lot of the visa-on-arrival countries have majestic beaches and wonderful islands- a wonderful coincidence indeed!
1. Nepal - Needs no introduction, Bangladeshis travel to Nepal in the thousands each year. Multiple airlines including Bangladeshi ones travel there.
2. Sri Lanka - Price of travel keeps people away from Sri Lanka somewhat, but the island nation is begging to be explored. Beautiful coastline, fantastic forests and lovely people mean that Sri Lanka is the perfect quick getaway from Dhaka. Sri Lankan airlines flies from Dhaka.
3. Maldives - A contender for being among the top ten most beautiful countries on earth, the Maldives is accessible for Bangladeshis with a visa on arrival. Nearly 300,000 Bangladeshis work in the Maldives too, meaning that one will also find a lot of familiar faces and incredibly friendly people.
4. Timor Leste - A tiny and very less visited nation on the East end of Indonesia. Direct flights from Bali mean that one can combine a holiday in Bali and an exploratory tour of another beautiful beach destination. Indonesia as mentioned in a previous article is visa-free access for Bangladeshi
5. Kenya/Rwanda/Uganda - I have grouped them together as they are often visited on one trip by travellers. All three countries boast incredible safaris that make one feel as if the National Geographic channel and the Planet Earth documentaries have just come to life. Incredibly friendly people and three of the safest countries in the African country (at the time of writing) also have a combined East Africa Tourist Visa (best attained on arrival at Uganda) that allows visa free travel between the three countries as much as one wants over 90 days. Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines all fly to East Africa.
6. Benin/Togo - Benin and Togo are two small countries in the West of Africa sandwiched between Nigeria and Ghana. The capitals of the two countries are only four hours from one another making them an easy combination. The two countries both have a history of Voodoo culture. Turkish Airlines flies but the prices can be quite prohibitive.
7. Seychelles - A country that can rival the Maldives in beauty, the Seychelles is an island nation in the Indian Ocean that combines both Indian and African cultures. While the country is expensive, it is one of the few countries in the world that does not ask for visas for ANYONE from the world. A tourist entry pass is available on arrival. Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways all fly to Mahe, the biggest island.
8. Madagascar - That huge bit sticking outside Africa on the world map? Yes that bit is Madagascar, made famous by the animated film series of the same name. It is a country of wonder that has some of the most unique plants and animals in the world. It is almost like a separate continent in and of itself due to its enormous size and unique features. Tourism is still fresh, and any wanderer will find some amazing people with wonderful scenery. Turkish Airlines flies to Antananarivo (pronounce that!) multiple times a week (price is sadly prohibitive).
9. Mauritania - In the Sahara and on the Atlantic coast lies this enigma of a country. The furthest Arabic-speaking country from Bangladesh, Mauritania is still an off the beaten path destination. Therefore it holds incredible mystery and any traveller would be well rewarded to make the journey. Turkish Airlines flies to Nouakchott, the capital.
10. Cape Verde - Ten islands in the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa comprise and form the Cape Verde islands. Each island is unique and has a different vibe to the other. Most have wonderful beaches, while some have some excellent tropical forests. Travel is difficult to Cape Verde unless one travels from Europe. It is popular among Europeans for beach holidays and thus a lot of flights go from Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France and the UK.
11. Comoros - The Comoros really are not from a comic book! The former French colony lies in the Indian Ocean and is a wonderful oceanic paradise. Sadly, due to political upheaval since independence, it has not developed similar to its neighbours Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania or Kenya. However, the Comoros has some of the best beaches in the world, and often times one will find oneself to be the only tourist in the area!
12. Guinea-Bissau - There are three countries in Africa called Guinea. One was colonised by the Spanish, one by the Portuguese and one by the French. Guinea-Bissau is the Portuguese-speaking country in West Africa. Boasting some interesting forests and some nice islands, it is a very off-the-beaten-path destination. Travel is quite difficult and is best done alongside the Gambia and Senegal. (The Gambia is visa free for Bangladesh, while Senegal has a strict visa policy making it an odd combination).
13. Mozambique - The country that nearly destroyed Johnny English’s career allows Bangladeshis to get a visa on arrival. Mozambique is famous due to its history and it is often said to be the place where European explorers were directed towards India. Mozambique is a long country, and has some interesting scenery and again, drop dead gorgeous islands! Mozambique is also near Lesotho (visa free), Zambia (evisa) and Zimbabwe (evisa) - countries which are all majestic but also with easy access for Bangladeshis. It can form part of a longer trip exploring Southern Africa. Turkish Airlines flies to Johannesburg from where a South African airline flight will take one to multiple cities in Mozambique.
14. Somalia - A country only for the super adventurous. Somalia has recently only had its first semblance of peace after decades of war. However, the situation remains volatile. If one takes a brave trip into the country, one will encounter some of the friendliest people ever. Somalis are known for their incredible hospitality and their food is great. And beyond the desolation of war, there are excellent beaches in the country. Turkish Airlines and Emirates fly to Mogadishu. Independent travel is discouraged. Untamed Borders is a travel agency that does an expensive but interesting short trip of Somalia with armed security.
15. Samoa - Samoa is a country in the far east of the world. Dependent on its bigger neighbour Australia, Samoa is an island nation that is not yet as visited. Travel is difficult, and will need a change of flight in Australia or New Zealand.
16. Tuvalu - Another Pacific Ocean Island that is beautiful and yet nearly impossible to reach without a stop or two in Australia. It is one of the most isolated nations on earth, but hey if you make it there, they will grant you a visa on arrival!
(The series will continue with another article on countries which grant e-visas to Bangladeshi citizens, thereby making it easy to connect.)
* Raiiq Ridwan, a physician by profession, lives and works in the UK. A travel enthusiast who wants to travel to a 100 countries on the Bangladeshi passport, the author blogs about his travels on raiiqridwan.com