Getting there & away
Buses from Dhaka to Barisal depart Dhaka from the Gabtali bus station. Day coaches depart each way, mostly in the morning from around 6.30am, while night buses depart mostly between 6pm and 9pm. Buses for Dhaka (Tk 250, five to seven hours) depart from the northern entrance to Barisal, 4km from the town centre.
The Rocket from Barisal to Dhaka (1st/2nd/deck class Tk 480/300/80, departs 6pm daily except Saturday) is supposed to arrive in Dhaka at 6am the following morning, but during the high-water season (monsoonal, July and August) it can take up to 16 hours.
On Tuesday there is a Rocket to Chittagong (1st/2nd/deck class Tk 850/560/120, departs 8.30pm). Don’t risk taking this boat during the monsoon as it often crosses very rough open-ocean.
This same boat also stops off at both Hatiya Island (1st/2nd/deck class Tk 375/255/60) and the even more off-the beaten-track Sandwip Island (fares about 50% more). Memorable adventure is included in the price.
For information and reservations for the Rocket, visit the BIWTC (Bangladesh Inland Waterway Transport Corporation; Barisal harbour) or the reservations office (BIWTC Ghat Rd).
Numerous other vessels of all shapes and sizes drift slowly upriver to Dhaka at around 6pm nightly. Prices vary but a double cabin on a standard boat should cost around Tk 700, while deck class is an uncomfortable Tk 120 to Tk 150. A ‘super luxurious’ cabin will be more like Tk 1600 to Tk 1700. The journey takes around 10 hours. The departure point in Barisal is just south of the BIWTC terminal.
Recommended operators are Suravi (01711 332084), Parabat (01711 346080) and Kirtonkhola (01711 171605)
United Airways (893 2338) is about to launch twice weekly flights from Barisal to Dhaka (Tk 2595, 30 minutes). A baby taxi (auto-rickshaw) to the airport will cost around Tk 90.